A story about Michael Rawbone-Viljoen’s experience at Buffalo Kloof when something very unanticipated happened:
“We were on a family holiday at Buffalo Kloof Private Game Reserve staying at their luxurious tented camp site called Spekboom when something very unexpected happened.
Buffalo Kloof and the Rippon’s are very generous people and they support many small communities that surround Buffalo Kloof, the main one being the Yendella community. One of the ways in which they support the community is by supplying them with meat for food to support the community once a month. Warthogs breed rapidly having two litters a year of about 4 piglets each. In order to look after the veld warthog numbers have to be controlled, so in order to not let anything go to waste Buffalo Kloof uses this meat to feed the Yendella community.
On our third day there we were offered if we would like two go cull 2 warthogs for the Yendella community. Having done a little bit of hunting in the past we were so excited and of course agreed to because it was for a very good cause. We set out with their newly appointed PH (professional hunter) Owen. Buffalo Kloof funded Owen to do his PH license which is truly very special and Owens’ knowledge of the bush was spectacular, we all thoroughly enjoyed every minute we spent with him in the bush.
About 45 minutes in we saw a couple warthogs about 1 kilometer away and we began to stalk them through the bush line, the wind was against us so the warthogs had no idea about us. 500 meters into our stalk we stumbled upon one of their three cheetah, this one by the name of Khatu. We stood there for a while admiring her but our adrenaline was through the roof because we were on foot with nowhere to escape to. I was weary and nervous because I had never ever been so close to a cheetah on foot. Owen reminded us to relax and not make any sudden movements and being with him we felt very safe. After spending some time with her, we left her and continued on to find some warthogs.
We got within shooting range from the warthogs and before we shot we looked behind us and noticed that Khatu had been silently following us. We ignored her and ended up successfully shooting two pigs. While we were taking pictures with them Owen said don’t move Khatu is coming up from behind you guys. We were very nervous as we realised how close she actually was but she was very relaxed, she was more inquisitive than anything else and could smell the blood. So we continued taking pictures and then we loaded the pigs and moved on.
This was an experience of a lifetime that many people would not believe even with the photo evidence, it truly was a day that I will never forget and having an experience like that with a wild animal was just so humbling. I will remember that day till the day I die I cannot explain to you what it felt like, my heart was beating out my chest I was sweating but as I said that’s a once in a lifetime experience.
Buffalo Kloof is an amazing place and their operation is very professional. Their main vision is to breed and grow their black and white rhino population as well as create a safe space and healthy environment for animals that are rehabilitated back into the wild. Owen our PH was amazing and made the whole experience spectacular, putting our safety first before anything else. Buffalo Kloof is truly an incredible place and one thing I hope is that everyone out there gets to experience this true South African bush just like my friends, family and I did.”
Khatu is a rewilded cheetah from Ashia Cheetah Conservation. It is amazing to see Khatu walking free now and hunting for herself. She is very tame and we think she enjoys being around people, one can never get too complacent though as she is a wild animal. Khatu wears a tracking collar as she is rewilded and is monitored closely. See our social media pages for more updates on Khatu and the other cheetah that reside on Buffalo Kloof.