When one talks of wildlife along the Garden Route, it’s often with a sense of wonder that much still manages to survive. The ever-growing urban development and a busy national road certainly have affected the numbers. But it’s also easy to forget how much of this region is still undeveloped, both along the coastal belt and further inland, with the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains spanning huge areas of protected reserve.
On that fertile plateau above the Wilderness Lakes, the 640 hectares which is Oakhurst Farm includes a crucial wildlife corridor between the Wilderness Lakes area to the south, and the Outeniqua Mountain range to the north. A number of species use this natural corridor to connect their otherwise fragmented habitats.
The Klein Keurbooms River, along which one of the farm’s much-loved hiking trails runs, is the same route which most of the wildlife seems to follow. The river, which forms three of the farm’s boundaries, heads from its source up in the Outeniqua Mountains, down a steep gorge through Oakhurst Farm and into the Island Lake, at the start of the Brown-Hooded Kingfisher hiking trail, a distance of close on 15km.
To gauge what species pass through the corridor during the night (and day), Oakhurst set up 8 infrared, motion-triggered cameras along the route, in the hope that some brilliant sightings and photographs would give an indication of what’s out there. The results have been nothing short of amazing!
From the tiny blue duiker to porcupines, bushpig, bushbuck, honey badger, caracul and the most exciting shot to date…a cape leopard, moving stealthily along the trail at night. A proven indication that keeping these corridors open, free of fencing and away from human interference is what’s needed to maintain open movement.
But the cameras haven’t only come in handy for following our local leopard and caracul. An Airedale Terrier named Zara was reported missing from the Rondevlei area recently. On hearing of the news, the camera images were checked, and the pooch snapped in action, heading along the corridor. Having the time of the shot taken on hand, a search party was sent out, and after a bit of calling, Zara was found unscathed and reunited with her delighted owners.
The interest and response we’ve had to our recent social media posts on the camera photographs has been brilliant, and the general sense and awareness of the importance of this wildlife corridor have been highlighted through the fantastic images we’ve managed to gather.
Keep an eye on our social media pages for more exciting digital wildlife sightings and updates as we post them.