Summertide Diary: Spying on the neighbours at Cape Vidal

A few years ago we purchased a very simple trail camera to take along on our visits to South Africa’s wild places, reason being that we were interested to know and see what wildlife roamed around after the humans went to bed. During our week at Cape Vidal in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park a dripping geyser overflow that created a small puddle in hardened mud and a pie-dish beneath an outside tap were the perfect locations to set up our little “camera trap” and spy on the wild neighbours that roam the camp by day and night. The camera worked overtime and took thousands of photos, and with great excitement we’d download these on a daily basis to see what came to visit while we were either away or asleep.

Vervet Monkey sneaking a drink beneath the geyser overflow

As was to be expected a wide variety of birds were drawn to the artificial “waterholes” around our cabin. What made us really excited was the very many shots the camera got of usually very shy and retiring forest birds we would otherwise have broken our necks trying to sneak even a single photograph of.

By day the biggest mammals that roamed around the camp at Cape Vidal was the Bushbucks. Male and female, young and old, they all put in an appearance.

By far the species featured most often in the photos taken by the trailcam was the Samango Monkeys, and some of the things they got up to when they thought there weren’t any humans around to see was most amusing.

Nighttime brought a shift in the animals coming to prowl around our accommodations – the bushbuck were still around and genets aren’t really threatening, but I wouldn’t want to encounter the bushpigs or hyenas in the dark!



23 thoughts on “Summertide Diary: Spying on the neighbours at Cape Vidal

      1. naturebackin

        Maybe this is another example of the unexpected relatively safety of hanging around camp grounds? After the prolonged drought in the region a few years back it is lovely to think about the area being so well off with water this season.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Don Reid

    That’s an amazing collection of photos of hard to see, never mind photograph, bird and other species! That would get me up early just to see what’s been captured overnight. What is the camera that you use?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. blhphotoblog

    The draw of water. The Turacos are fantastic looking birds but trust them Robin-chats to mess it up for others!
    Reminds me of a holiday to a Greek island where a leaking pipe (part of an underground fire prevention system) in a pine wood drew birds like a magnet, spent hours watching them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Great fun to wonder what’s making noise outside in the dark when I’m out in one of our national parks or reserves, but terrifying when the same happens in Pretoria… 🙂


  3. H.J. for avian101

    Everybody goes to the downspouts to get some water. Is there a drought there right now?
    I see many birds in that area. Are there many kinds of monkeys in the park? Thank you, D. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks for the interesting questions, H.J!

      Being forest animals the creatures that roam Cape Vidal are water-dependent and so drink water any chance they get. The Park has had excellent rainfall this year and is lush and green with natural water easily available all over.

      iSimangaliso has a list of 526 bird species that occur there and, excluding humans, 4 of the 5 primate species that occur naturally in South Africa can be seen there: Chacma Baboon, Samango Monkey, Vervet Monkey and Thick-tailed Bushbaby.

      Liked by 1 person


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