With the sun just above the horizon, warming up the surface of the earth , I depart for my first Meerkat Safari. On our way in to the bush you can clearly smell the unique smell of the Klein Karoo.
As we entered the thicket, passing a small dam on our right hand side, I could clearly see a meerkat on top of a hill just in front of us looking towards my game viewer. As I drove closer to the meerkat to show my guests another one was getting out the hole, standing upright towards the sun looking for danger. Another was getting out of the hole and then another until I counted 6 of them standing upright towards the sun. My guests were so amazed by this small mammal because it was their first wild sighting of meerkats. We stayed there for almost two hours just observing their behaviour. The meerkats spoke for themselves and I could see the smiles and utter enjoyment on the guests’ faces.
Meerkats are small mammals that belong to the mongoose family, they can reach an average age of 12-14 years they also live in groups and often contain up to 20 individuals. A group of meerkats is called a “gang” or “clan”. They are insectivores, but sometimes they also eat lizards, scorpions, spiders, plants and eggs. Recently I started a research project on our meerkats to find out if there is something special about these clans that we have on Buffelsdrift Game Lodge. I am really excited about this project and the potential it has to offer for the future of this game reserve. This project will also form part of our Volunteer Programme.
Introducing the Ranger: Armando Crafford
According to Armando, working an early shift as a guide at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge is probably one of the biggest privileges. Especially seeing and hearing all fauna and flora “waking up” early in the morning. To see excitement over different animals and plants and people asking questions that we generally think is common sense, makes his work as a guide worth while. Armando is our head meerkat ranger and eager as always to share his knowledge.