There is always an air of anticipation as we approach the entrance to the Addo Elephant National Park that gives rise to gentle rivalry as to which will be the first animal to be spotted. “Warthog” is not an unreasonable assumption as they are ubiquitous; “Kudu” is quite possible for they too can appear around almost any corner sometimes – on other occasions one would be fortunate to see one! “Zebra” is another favourite choice for they are easy to spot and are generally widespread, whichever entrance one opts for. On this visit we were all wrong, for the first animal to appear next to the road was a … Bushbuck ewe!
Looking back at my various lists of sightings, I can confirm that Bushbuck (Tragelaphus sylvaticus) have not appeared on any of them, so this sighting was a particularly welcoming one. This is probably because these are not herd animals and, as their name implies, prefer being in the bush rather than out in the open. While Bushbuck are browsers, they also eat herbs, twigs and flowers of a large number of plant types. A short drive further on we were privileged to see a pair of Bushbuck rams enjoying the feast of flowers.
Notice its sharp horns and the distinctive pattern of white spots on the flanks and the white markings on its legs. Their bushy tails are white below. The markings are more clearly seen in the image below:
The ewes are smaller and lighter in colour, with more pronounced white spots and stripes. The difference between the male and female are clear in this picture, taken at Royal Natal National Park some time ago: