SOUTH AFRICA: 2021 South Africa (Northern & Eastern Cape) Hunt Report

Hank2211

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Do you know if this is part of the locust swarms that were hitting the horn of Africa last year?
I don't think so.

I was told that there had been a plague of locusts in parts of South Africa in February, and that after having disappeared for a couple of months, they seemed to be coming back (more to come if I can figure out how to post video!). But these hadn't come down from East Africa but seemed to be local, the result of drought followed by a very wet summer.
 

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I don't think so.

I was told that there had been a plague of locusts in parts of South Africa in February, and that after having disappeared for a couple of months, they seemed to be coming back (more to come if I can figure out how to post video!). But these hadn't come down from East Africa but seemed to be local, the result of drought followed by a very wet summer.

Appreciate the information. Hopefully they get them under control before they swarm.

Nature is so incredible.
 

Hank2211

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I'm trying ti figure out how to post video . . . so bear with me. The 21st century seems, well, so 21st century-like. This is (supposed to be) a 3 second clip of the nymphs having dinner (and exhibiting rather poor manners).

 

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I'm trying ti figure out how to post video . . . so bear with me. The 21st century seems, well, so 21st century-like. This is (supposed to be) a 3 second clip of the nymphs having dinner (and exhibiting rather poor manners).

You are not the only one brother. I have tried to post videos (upload)but have failed everytime.
 

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Could you see this one?!!
 

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Whew. I had a brief tutorial from @BRICKBURN, who assumed a greater facility with YouTube than I possess! Must have worked though!
 

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That's a lot of locusts. I once drove from Etosha too Windhoek (1999)with an old G- Wagon and there was a massive locust(dikpense as we kniw them here) out break. As you drive over them on the highway, their mates come too eat the dead ones. Later on you could not even see the tarmac anymore. Needless to say the fender liners were just dripping some horrible goo later on
 

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Dikpens
1620408809382.png
 

Hank2211

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Hank2211

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Day 3

Today was intended to be a ‘catch my breath” day. And since the jet lag had caught up with me, I needed it. We had no plans for the day at all, so got up a bit later than usual, had a great breakfast, and headed out to see the sights. While roaming another part of the property, we saw a small group of blue wildebeest which seemed to have at least one reasonably decrepit member, so we began a stalk.

By this point it was getting hot and the herd seemed to have either caught a small wiff of us or something else had worried them. They would run, but not far, so we’d continue the stalk. If only they’d really run, we’d have given up! As it was, after a long walk in sandy soil, we finally gave up. No harm done, and some exercise for me.

As we were meandering around the property, John mentioned he’d brought his shotgun along, and asked if I cared to try my hand at some sandgrouse. I’d never shot sandgrouse, but I do shoot upland birds, so it seemed like a great idea . . . until John found that he’d left his box of #6 shells at camp. He had only the shells he kept on a belt – and these were more like BB, and a couple of # 2. On top of that, they looked like leftovers from the Boer war . . . some were branded Ely, and I have no doubt they were from the original incarnation of that brand! Still, no harm in trying . . .

And then, it happened . . . the plague arrived. I’d heard of biblical plagues of locusts of course, but I’d never seen one . . . until now. Is it going to rain? Not supposed to. Then what’s that cloud ahead? Holy Sh*t! It’s a cloud of locusts and it’s heading right for us . . . and that was because . . . we drove right into a swarm which had landed on the veld and had begun lunch.

I can tell you that if you haven’t seen this in “real life”, it’s simultaneously impressive and utterly disgusting. These things are huge – some more than two inches in length – and while they try to miss you as they fly around you, when they do hit you, you are in absolutely no doubt that you’ve been hit by something. And when you’re in the middle of the swarm, you are actually in the shade, even though there are no trees for miles.

Once you get over the initial shock, you can only think of the farmers and game ranchers, as well as their animals. Having just gone through a years-long drought, and now gotten some reasonable rain, the food the animals need to survive is being eaten by these voracious insects. At least the birds were happy, but it seemed impossible for even the biggest flock of birds to make a dent in the numbers we were seeing.

It’s hard to video the swarm because you don’t see much, but I gave it a try. Hopefully this comes through.

IMG_0587.jpeg


IMG_0588.jpeg


And now a video:

 

Jörg Krüger

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Really terrible these plagues. They destroy so much in their path. These poor farmers are often fighting so much. Draughts, plagues etc. Luckily the plagues don't happen too often
 

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This is supposed to be the return of Cicada Brood X (10) in the Eastern US, but luckily we haven’t seen them...yet
 

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They ony come out every so many years if I remember correctly? Is it time and do they cause damage?
Every 17 years (for each brood). 2021 is the year for Brood X, which is the largest and covers much of the eastern US. They cause crop damage, but they are mostly loud and annoying. They are not to the same magnitude of destruction of true locusts.
 

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This is supposed to be the return of Cicada Brood X (10) in the Eastern US, but luckily we haven’t seen them...yet
They're coming. A few days ago, I saw some in the early stages coming out of thier holes in the ground. They'll be up in the trees, singing away, soon enough!
 

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Day 3

Today was intended to be a ‘catch my breath” day. And since the jet lag had caught up with me, I needed it. We had no plans for the day at all, so got up a bit later than usual, had a great breakfast, and headed out to see the sights. While roaming another part of the property, we saw a small group of blue wildebeest which seemed to have at least one reasonably decrepit member, so we began a stalk.

By this point it was getting hot and the herd seemed to have either caught a small wiff of us or something else had worried them. They would run, but not far, so we’d continue the stalk. If only they’d really run, we’d have given up! As it was, after a long walk in sandy soil, we finally gave up. No harm done, and some exercise for me.

As we were meandering around the property, John mentioned he’d brought his shotgun along, and asked if I cared to try my hand at some sandgrouse. I’d never shot sandgrouse, but I do shoot upland birds, so it seemed like a great idea . . . until John found that he’d left his box of #6 shells at camp. He had only the shells he kept on a belt – and these were more like BB, and a couple of # 2. On top of that, they looked like leftovers from the Boer war . . . some were branded Ely, and I have no doubt they were from the original incarnation of that brand! Still, no harm in trying . . .

And then, it happened . . . the plague arrived. I’d heard of biblical plagues of locusts of course, but I’d never seen one . . . until now. Is it going to rain? Not supposed to. Then what’s that cloud ahead? Holy Sh*t! It’s a cloud of locusts and it’s heading right for us . . . and that was because . . . we drove right into a swarm which had landed on the veld and had begun lunch.

I can tell you that if you haven’t seen this in “real life”, it’s simultaneously impressive and utterly disgusting. These things are huge – some more than two inches in length – and while they try to miss you as they fly around you, when they do hit you, you are in absolutely no doubt that you’ve been hit by something. And when you’re in the middle of the swarm, you are actually in the shade, even though there are no trees for miles.

Once you get over the initial shock, you can only think of the farmers and game ranchers, as well as their animals. Having just gone through a years-long drought, and now gotten some reasonable rain, the food the animals need to survive is being eaten by these voracious insects. At least the birds were happy, but it seemed impossible for even the biggest flock of birds to make a dent in the numbers we were seeing.

It’s hard to video the swarm because you don’t see much, but I gave it a try. Hopefully this comes through.

View attachment 400824

View attachment 400825

And now a video:

The adventure of Africa!
 

Hank2211

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Once we managed to make our way through the swarming locusts, we stopped near a small water hole and waited for sandgrouse. We didn’t have long to wait – the came in in two and threes. We were beside some bushes – not terribly well hidden, but if we didn’t move until they were within shotgun range, I could usually get a decent shot away – with the few shells I had. I missed a couple, but got more than I missed. We had fun, and our tracker seemed very interested in the spoils – he asked if he could have them if we didn’t want them! I was more than happy to find a good home for the dead birds – if they tasted anything like dove (which they resembled, at least in terms of flight pattern and size), I was happy to have someone else eat them!

IMG_0591.jpeg


This was my first time shooting birds while on safari, and I could see adding that as a regular feature – lots of fun and more relaxing than trophy hunting. I’m told, though, that there’s a serious shortage of shotgun shells in South Africa. If this goes on, it will take a fair bit of advance notice to a PH to be able to do this.

That evening at dinner we discussed the next day’s event – the rhino darting. I was taken through the process, which answered a lot of my questions. I did ask if I’d be able to take a practice shot with the dart gun, and the answer was yes. Good news.

I felt good about the next day . . . and then I got to my room! I’d left my light on, and it seems that locusts are attracted to light – I had a bunch which had managed to come in through a very narrow crack under my door. Killed a few, then went to bed, but I could hear others hopping around . . .
 

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