One of the perks of farming in Africa is that you’re not just restricted to cattle, sheep and other more normal livestock. We also become custodians of the wildlife that surround us.
As most land is either owned privately or as nature reserves, it’s important that the health and well being of the game that roam those areas are also taken care of.
We’re very privileged in South Africa to have so much open space, but inevitably you will find boundary fences, which can inhibit the availability of genetic diversity among some of the smaller antelope. So as farmers it’s up to us to introduce some fresh blood every now and then.
Which in short, means that sometimes we have to go shopping.
Farmers from all over the area get together either selling or buying different varieties of game. Either buying for restocking purposes or selling as a means of thinning out herds that have become too large in one area.
Consider it modern day herd migration.
Situated at the Addo Elephant Park, large bommas (enclosures) are erected and a variety of game can be viewed before the sale.
The Kirkwood game sale in Port Elizabeth is one the best sales with a huge variety of game on offer.
There are so many varieties… It’s more exciting than shopping for shoes! And I don’t have to walk around in my socks.
Some were Big… Buffalo
And small… Springbuck.
And rare… White Blesbuck.
This is what normal Blesbuck usually look like
They put protective rubber tubes over their horns so they don’t hurt themselves or each other during transit.
I think they look quite cool with their nifty rubber horn stoppers!
And my personal favourite…
Then there were more unusual species, like Sable.
How cute is his naturally-occurring target sign on his bum!
It just screams “kiss me” doesn’t it?
OK so maybe I’m the only one that felt the urge to jump in there and cuddle him to pieces…
There were also the not so uncommon Kudu.
They’re not called the “rats of the Eastern Cape” for nothing. They’re EVERYWHERE! In fact, I was surprised to even see them at a game auction. I’m sure if you waited long enough on the side of the road, one would gladly hop into the backseat of your car even!
I wish we could get Wildebeest where we live. But unfortunately they are the carriers of the disease bovine malignant catarrhal (BMCF) or “snotsiekte”, which would wipe out our cattle.
So sadly I had to just fantasize about brushing their manes and scratching their big ugly faces. Boo!
But thankfully I was distracted by the unusual black springbok. How sweet are they? We actually have a herd up at the Spionkop farm somewhere.
But I still want some for my garden…
You can always rely on some real “Boerekos” at these things…
The highlight of the day was seeing the one of a kind white saddleback blesbok affectionately known as “Top Deck” sell for a whopping…
Wait for it…
R 7.8 MILLION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s like £429,492 and $733,873 and 542,706 Euro! OK, so you get my point, this boy went for big bucks… Excuse the pun.
The scary thing was that they could only get him insured for R2 million! Talk about taking a gamble!
We’re clearly in the wrong business.
Excuse me while I go off and try and breed a purple-spotted zebra…