This month it’s time for the game lodges of the Karoo to celebrate all things Love. While we humans tend to think of our species as particularly special in this arena, the solid science tells us there’s plenty of love to go around the animal kingdom too. Here’s some fascinating facts about the love you’ll find in the air this Valentine’s Day at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge.
Love in the sand
In the animal kingdom, you’re probably used to bright and bold displays of fighting and dominance, or else the spectacular dances of many of the bird kingdom. Our resident meerkats do things a little differently though. The male will stroke, cuddle and groom his prospective mate until she gives in to his advances. As the meerkat is also a very matriarchal society, expect the alpha female to have a firm hand in who is allowed to flirt with who, too!
A fantastic flurry of feathers
The Karoo wouldn’t be the Karoo without the ostriches. While you won’t find any at Buffelsdrift itself, this huge flightless bird is iconic to the area, and you can visit several world-class ostrich farms mere minutes from our gates. When a male ostrich is searching for his special lady, the gloves really do come off. Their spectacular mating dance is known as ‘kantling’. You’ll see them approach their lady with puffed feathers riotously displayed before dropping to their knees in front of her. The display doesn’t stop there, either, with wing-waving, neck twists and more elaborate dance moves showing off his perfection as a mate.
Slow and steady social maturity
Is there any herbivore as instantly identifiable as the zebra? You’ll spot a good few of these iconic African ‘horses’ on the reserve. While male zebras- called stallions like their horse cousins- are actually ready to mate from 2 years old, they aren’t seen as ‘socially mature’ enough to form their own herd before the age of 6. They have a remarkable short breeding window in the year, and the young foals will also learn to be independent fast. From as young as 1 month old, mares will feel confident to leave foals alone while they seek water or grazing land.
Not so silent after all
Giraffes may seem silent and undemonstrative compared to other animal species, but we’re just missing the whole story! While giraffes don’t often hug affectionately as other African mammals do- in fact, most touching is ‘mommy love’ as a mother encourages her calf to explore the world- they communicate in a way we cannot here. Very low-frequency sounds are the giraffes’ chosen love-language. We just can’t detect it with our ears.
The fascinating animals you’ll see on safari all have their own unique ways to show their family and mates they love them. From pair-bonds that last a lifetime, to a male protecting his herd of females, love is all around in the animal kingdom. Why not snag some of the affection yourself, and book a stay in our luxury tented camps (or a special spa day) for a Valentine’s Day treat here at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge?