Experience The Magnificent Eland Trail
A trail named after the famous Drakensberg Eland was named the “Eland Trail” as it is a common occurrence to see Eland whilst hiking on this trail. This is an easy 3 km trail from start to finish.
Check out all the other species of Flora and Fauna. Wildflowers are truly spectacular and if you have forgotten to pack a book on the Wildflowers of the Drakensberg, enquire at the reception for one. Wildflowers occur mostly during early summer through to late summer.
Herds of Eland are often seen and as many as 190 have been seen in one herd. Interesting to watch the herd dynamic as the Eland cows graze/browse they leave their calves behind, one could describe it this activity as being similar to a nursery with 2 to 3 sentries watching over them, the calves sleep in the grass as the mother catch up on filling their stomachs with grass and leaves, returning every few hours to feed their calves.
Should the herd be startled the mothers rush back to protect their little ones and then they all charge off into the hidden valleys.
An interesting observation is to note how well the Eland is able to blend into the landscape and look like large boulders of sandstone rock that occur in the hills and mountains of the Drakensberg. It is only when these animals move do you notice them on the hillside.
The herds of Eland are never in one place for too long, moving away and using the topography to hide from human interaction. This continuous movement is a form of rotational grazing/browsing, the vegetation is then able to restore and continue growing.
The bulls may be identified by their sheer bulk as well as by their dark coloration over the chest and shoulder area, as well as by their huge muscular necks and massive horns.The Eland Antelope are the biggest antelope in Africa.
A short story of an Eland Bull called “Snack”
For many years Chantal my wife had wanted a little buck in the garden. One early morning before sunrise I heard a sound outside our bedroom window. I got up to see what it was, I reached for my torch and there it was, a Massive Eland Bull lying outside our house.
I quickly woke Chantal who didn’t hesitate to get up from a deep sleep to see her “little buck” that I had found. We made our way to the window, as we got there I switched the torch on, to Chantal surprise” her little buck” was actually a fully grown Eland Bull.
Snack lived in our garden for 6 weeks. He loved our oranges, unfortunately, he loved the oranges so much that he began breaking the higher branches to reach the higher fruit. We had to dart him and transfer him to a private game reserve in the area.
I recall the event vividly, Chantal had notified the cottages that a lorry would arrive to load Snack as he slept and that there would be much singing going on as the gang of Zulus would chant as they strained under the heavy load.
Unfortunately, one of the cottages hadn’t been informed of this exercise, as the Eland was loaded and 15 Zulus chanted under the strain a guest came running along to the reception to inform Chantal that there was an Impy(Zulu war party) coming up the road and we should alarm the police… too much laughter and apologies the event was explained to our concerned guest. Snack has adapted well and is Kingpin bull on the Game Farm.