CATTLE HORNS

As the Urban Herd has become entrenched in our community, one can other love them or loathe them. Far better than the latter is to observe them closely so that you can recognise and even admire individual beasts in terms of their size, colouring, relationships to each other – and their horns.

Symmetry in motion:

Short, yet powerful:

Sweeping horns:

Black-tipped horns:

A BULL ON MY DOORSTEP

We soon got used to goats and cattle sharing the beach with us during our brief sojourn along the Wild Coast.

One afternoon, however, I heard a soft banging against the wooden deck attached to our rondavel. Bang, bang, bang. Who could it be? I looked out:

Before long this bull moved to the bottom of the wooden steps and really looked as though he would like to mount them!

“Good Afternoon, Bull,” I said, “Are you hoping for a cup of tea?” He blinked his moist eyes at me, shook his head, and went to munch on some grass instead.

SWELL ECO LODGE

The Swell Eco Lodge is tucked into such a quiet area along the Transkei Wild Coast that if it hadn’t been for intrepid members of my family I wouldn’t have heard of it – and what a tranquilly beautiful place it is!

This self-catering accommodation is situated within a peaceful rural Xhosa village in the area of Mngcibe, with spectacular views of the rolling hills, the sea and the nearby Mdumbi River – which is great to swim in.

This corner of paradise is definitely off the beaten track, so just getting there is an adventure of its own as one has to follow a series of ever-deteriorating roads to reach it. As we left the last of the towns and the tar behind, the dust became thicker and the roads more populated with livestock.

These included cattle, goats, pigs and even geese.

Once there, we were able to enjoy the pristine beaches mostly on our own, sharing it with goats and cattle – which didn’t bother us at all.

I highly recommend this as a place for complete peace and a recharge of the soul.

CHASING THOSE URBAN COWS

The Urban Herd (one of them) was at it again: invading a suburb and chomping anything green they could find. We came across this woman chasing a herd of about forty of them away from her home, using a floor mop!

The cows didn’t seem too perturbed. Most ambled down the street, while a smaller group broke off to munch at decorative shrubs planted outside the gates of a home. The woman persevered.

Hoping to avoid them altogether, we turned down a side road – only to meet the herd at the next corner.

This one decided to turn the tables on us and refused to budge, so we had to turn tail and drive the other way!

NOTE: Click on a photograph if you wish to see a larger view.

AND STILL THEY COME

The Urban Herd continues to expand – there seems to be no intention by the municipality to curb their intrusion into the urban area. Here a small group is peacefully chewing the cud in open land on the outskirts of the suburb I live in. While they look relaxed and comfortable in the late afternoon light, they would have wandered through the town and up the hill before settling on this temporary resting place.

These cattle have been around for so long that we have seen some calves being born and witnessed others growing up, like this one grazing on a pavement outside a house.

This one is taking a rest while its elders graze on.

They do a lot of resting … or waiting.

On some occasions we can count over 30 head of cattle moving together.

This dam they frequent is now dry.

And still they come, fanning through the suburbs to graze in public open spaces (is that why the municipality seldom mows them anymore?), along pavements, pulling at overhanging branches of trees, and feasting on any garden plants within their reach.