The Natal Midlands is not only about the arts, crafts and eateries although they have certainly become synonymous with the area - and for good reason!
However, if you are looking for something a little different. If you can hear the call of the wild on the wind. The answer may very well be in the Midlands; settled amidst the potters and painters.
That's right, folks the Midlands has more than the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. It is also home to herds, prides and a couple of troops. To inspire you to a greater enjoyment of our fauna, we've put together a list of our favourite wildlife celebrities. Each of these wonderful creatures calls the Blue Crane Nature Reserve home, so when you stop by Brahman Hills for a visit, be sure to check in on our local wildlife.
Roaming the rolling hills in their distinctive black and white ensemble are the zebra. According to San legend, the white zebra earned its stripes when it was in a fight over access to water with the baboon- self-titled king of the watering hole. Legend has it that the zebra kicked the baboon so hard the baboon skidded off on its rump losing the hair on its rear-end while the zebra stumbled and landed in the baboon's fire - thereby branding it with its iconic streaks. Sounds legit.
In a more scientific vein, according to Discover Wildlife, the black with white striped pattern, aside from camouflage and confusion, may also keep pesky flies at bay as the monochromatic design apparently messes with their vision. Nice one - no bug spray necessary.
Less seen about the town than its ubiquitous cousins the Impala, Oribi are graceful gazelle seen romping around the veld in small monogamous groups often (but not exclusively) made up of one guy and his two best girls.
Oh, and these bucks are masters at stotting. Not sure what that is? Neither were we until we read about it on the Kruger National Park site. When these little antelope are scared out of their knickers, so to speak, they leap vertically in the air with their legs dead straight - and this bit of acrobatics is called stotting. Take a trundle around our reserve and see if you can catch any stotting in action.
The good old impala, nervous and prone to displays of pronking, these animals are familiar sights in any South African reserve. Now, they may not be rara avis, but don't be too quick to overlook these common grassland grazers in favour of more scare sights.
According to One Kind Planet, impala run erratically and can leap an astonishing 10 meters in length and 3 meters high to avoid pesky predators. Well worth an extended watch: this nippy little buck did, after all, give its name to a highly successful and famously successful car - the Chevvy Impala.
Knee-clicking, spirit-wielding all-round gentle giants and big kids on the block, the eland are a wonderful sight to see. As you watch them roam about alone or in small groups, be sure to keep an ear open for the distinctive clicking sounds their knees make when they walk. The eland are also central to the San belief system and feature in most of their rock art. That's because these antelope are super charged with an invisible energy that the San believe imbues all animals to varying degrees.
The world's largest antelope can be seen strolling around the grounds at Brahman Hills, so be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled!
The poor old wildebeest - or gnu if you prefer - has never been lauded for its good looks. In fact, it's a title character in Julia Donaldson's children's book - The Ugly Five. So, these creatures may not have the most graceful proportions, but don't be fooled, massive herds of these guys - according to National Geographic about 1,5 million of them - star in one of the world's greatest migration northward across the Serengeti.
Here at Brahman Hills, they don't have to toil quite so far so you're sure to be able to catch a glimpse of these distinctive looking antelopes doing their "wild beast" thing as only a gnu can do.
There are porcupine species across the globe, but the Cape porcupine from South Africa is the largest. We win!
The quills on their back are really modified hairs that don't go shooting out ( à la Ash from the movie Sing!). No, as per Mike Unwin, the quills will embed in a predator’s skin when the porcupines rush backwards at it and then the quills will shed and the porcupine hopefully lives to see another day and grow another quill to replace. The shorter quills on the tail rattle in warning making this a dangerous customer to tangle with.
These spiky rodents', who mate in monogamous pairs, bear the name that translates as "quill pig" in Latin. Well, that's pretty succinct!
Now you know why we have named our self-catering cottages after our fascinating and colourful local residents. So next time you come and visit, come dressed in ranger khakis, rocking your veldskoen and wielding your binocs because it's wild out there on the Blue Crane Nature Reserve!
Keep your eyes posted for our upcoming blog post on our incredible feathered friends who call the Blue Crane Nature Reserve home.