It was a Bontebok
, a South African endemic and one of the rarest herbivores on the planet and way, way up on my South Africa wish list.
The tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus), whose common name is derived from the Tswana "tshesebe ", is most closely related to the topi and the bontebok
, which are classified in the same genus.
In addition to whale watching in this World Heritage Site, you can enjoy guided marine walks and hiking trails through 36,000 hectares of rare fynbos vegetation or hop on a bicycle or quad bike and get up close to antelope like bontebok
and eland, as well as zebra, baboons and ostriches.
National Park, 34[degrees]04'S 20[degrees]28'E], 2-3.i.1993, Koch (ZMHB); 1 [female] Kommetjie, hill overlooking town, 34[degrees]08'S 18[degrees]19'E, 13.xii.1988, Londt, macchia sandy ground & rocks; 2 [female] Mossel Bay [34[degrees]11'S 22[degrees]08'E], 1.xii.1938, Turner (BMNH); 1 [male] 'Capland, Bergius', 2228 [?] (ZMHB, with red 'Typus' label).
The 15-day Bontebok
self-drive safari costs from PS2,238 pp (two sharing) including flights (London), car hire and 12 nights' accommodation.
This has happened with tsessebe, giraffe, bontebok
, black wildebeest, eland, and even to a limited extent, lions (although there are different policy dynamics to consider).
To update you on what wild animals cost these days: 18 Cape buffalo fetched just over R2m (each fitted with health and identification microchips), 18 mountain zebras were sold for R270,000, 46 bontebok
went for R71,000 and a young rhino bull was knocked down to R140,000.
Spread out below us, on a distant plain, where scattered herds of springbuck, blue and black wildebeest, red hartebeest, zebra, blesbok, and bontebok
, all as wild as the wind.
Observations on social organization of springbok, Antidorcos marsupialis, in the Bontebok
National Park, Swellendam.
The protected areas of the Cape Mediterranean region include, on the one hand, the Bontebok
National Park with coastal renosterveld, the basin of the Groot Swartberg, the Tsitsikamma Coast National Park, and the De Hoop Natural Reserve, which represent, if only partially, the Cape fynbos; and, on the other hand, the Storms River National Reserve (within the Tsitsikamma National Park), the Goendal Natural Area, the basin of the Groot Winterhoek, and the basin of the Hawequas, which represent areas with "false" karoo (areas formerly covered with grassland but now transformed through grazing pressures to a karroid shrubland).
Other species with a narrow range, such as the bontebok
and Cape mountain zebra, survived largely on the land of a few conservation-minded farmers.