That Time we had a Buffalo in Our Pool
I mentioned once before that the fence between our house and Kruger wasn’t always this high or electrified. It used to be about 1.4 meters high with 3 or 4 strands of barbed wire; and it wasn’t electrified at all. Naturally we had many animal visitors. Some we didn’t mind too much, while others proved to be a bit of a worry.
Late one night, while my Gram was watching tv in the lounge, and Grampsy was in the room. She heard a huge commotion outside, which she describes as a loud crackling noise, that sounded like a fire to her.
As she was sat there on the couch, still trying to figure out what was going on, she heard a splash in the swimming pool.
Gram got up and went to the glass sliding door, which leads out to the swimming pool and patio overlooking the Kruger National Park.
It was a particularly dark evening, with very little moonlight, so she had grabbed her tiny torch, and as she stood there shining it toward the swimming pool…
A massive buffalo bull emerged from the water on the swimming pool step, and shook himself off.
Grammy couldn’t believe what she was seeing, and slowly backed away from the door, realizing that in the buffalos stressed state he could potentially run straight through the glass door, which is only meters from the pool.
Gramps had also heard the splash and had climbed out of a large glass window in their bedroom, with his flashlight to see what was going on. He shone on the swimming pool, saw the buffalo’s sizey pair of horns, and hurried back through the window in to the safety of the house.
The poor buff took a few moments to get himself together, before climbing out of the swimming pool, and heading back to the Kruger.
Grammy and Grampsy compared notes, and came to the agreement that the buffalo in their swimming pool had not been a dream, but had in fact really happened. But with it being pitch dark outside they decided they would wait until morning to do more investigating and try understand the cause for the buffalos surprise visit to their swimming pool.
In daylight, Grammy and Gramps began to piece the story together. There had been a huge herd of buffalo in the reeds below the house resting for the night, when they had been chased by a pride of hungry lions.
The noise, which had sounded like a crackling fire to Gram, had actually been the herd of buffalo stampeding through the reeds, as the lions had chased them.
And the buffalo that had wound up in the pool, had run straight through the fence in the chaos, and obviously in his stressed state had fallen straight in to the swimming pool.
Thankfully he was not harmed, and lived to see another day.
But this wasn’t the first time that we have had visitors in the swimming pool.
During the floods of 2000, the Crocodile River had risen all the way to our driveway road, and had flooded our home. Along with the water, also came many, many fish, and crocodile eggs.
I remember taking one crocodile egg to school for show and tell (there was no crocodile in the egg, and although the egg was cracked it was still fairly in tact). The kids were super impressed by it. But I left it locked in the classroom over the weekend, and by the Monday morning the classroom smelt positively rotten. Needless to say, my fellow classmates weren't as impressed then.
A couple of years ago, we also had a crocodile in our guest swimming pool. I’m not sure why he chose to leave the Crocodile River, and make his way to the Ellie Walk swimming pool, perhaps he just felt like a change of scenery?
We contacted the park to come and collect him. Sadly, he didn’t make it, due to the chemicals in the pool.
Other animals that also visited the swimming pool were an array of different snakes and leguvuans (monitor lizards), of course, which loved to take a dip whenever possible, and on many occasions tried to eat a chicken or two.
The elephants would also “sneak” through the fence to quench their thirst. They loved to indulge on the wild banana trees that used to be next to the pool. I think they saw it as a one stop shop for all of their needs, and once satisfied that they had rehydrated enough they’d head on back to the park. Due to this, Grammy was constantly having to refill the pool.
My brother, Darryl is home on leave at the moment (he is a guide at Imbali Safari Lodge in Kruger), and we have actually been discussing what it must've been like to have lived in the time of the Voortrekkers, or even in Harry Wolhuter and Stevenson Hamilton's era; it's fascinating to think that they lived among wild animals, and although they did experience some life threatening moments (Like when Wolhuter was attacked by a lion), for the most part man and animal lived in harmony - I guess that was pretty similar to what life used to be like for us here, living on Kruger with only a tiny fence separating us, and often having wild animals in our personal space.
It wasn't always good for our horses, or dogs though... nor for my Grampsy who had some pretty hair raising moments walking around here in the middle of the night. But these are all stories for another time.
At this present moment, the kudus, impalas, elephants, lions, buffalo, waterbuck family and hippo pods (just to name a few) are still our most favourite neighbours, who we see almost daily, but all keep to their personal space... that is, for the most part...
Others such as the bush mafia (vervet monkeys) and fruit bats haven't quite got the memo yet, and much prefer to share our personal space. See my Bush Mafia and Bats blog for reference.