Notes from the field – Aardvark Vs Nkosi

Guide Report from the Okonjima Nature Reserve, September  2013.

nkosi - leopard at Okonjimaaardvark_okonjima

“The afternoon started out as normal  with high hopes of finding a leopard. I drove to a high point to start tracking and luckily I immediately had a signal.

I followed the signal to our favourite birding ‘Dam’ (natural water-hole), where I found NKOSI drinking water and then nibbling on some Gemsbok dung? This is something we see quite frequently, perhaps a craving or dietary supplement?  He then rolled around in the dung and walked over to the dam wall under the trees to sleep or wait for an unsuspecting victim to come strolling by.

We sat watching NKOSI for about 10 minutes when my colleague, Martin arrived – telling me that he had seen an aardvark (commonly known as antbear who actually prefers termites) heading towards us at the dam.

We decided to wait patiently in the hopes of seeing the aardvark as they are not often seen in daylight (except occasionally in the winter time) and some possible interaction with NKOSI.

Great sightings often demand patience and waiting at waterholes for ages and then some luck thrown into the moment as well! Seldom is anything as instant in the bush as many of our guests experience wildlife on TV in their lounge, forgetting that it most probably took 1 to 5 yrs of filming to get those great moments.

But our luck was in  . . . finally the aardvark arrived at the dam and had a drink of water!  This was the first time I had seen this.  NKOSI sat up immediately, tail twitching and eyes locked on the aardvark! What was he going to do?? At times like this the guests are always divided as to what they want to see happen – most want a happy ending for both – but in nature ‘what is a happy ending’?

After a few minutes he decided the aardvark was not worth the effort and lay down with his hind legs up in the air for 2 or 3 seconds and then with his back to us drifted off into dreamland!

The aardvark seemed to be contemplating the danger under the trees, finished drinking and then disappeared into the bush, thankfully safe and sound!

Today – this was a happy ending for those that do not like seeing a kill. Besides NKOSI did not look as if he needed another meal any time soon!


By OKONJIMA Guide –  Pieter van der Berg

Whilst visiting Okonjima take the opportunity to go leopard or cheetah tracking  and you never know what other wildlife you may see in the Okonjima Nature Reserve.



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