Through the mist

It was a lucky sighting: in the cool mist of the early morning, my path crossed again with a troop of baboons. They were on a mission, moving towards a favoured foraging ground and came padding by as I was out cycling in the Cape Point reserve.  It’s a thrill to observe such a big troop, 65 plus animals.   The alpha male is a magnificent animal heading up the front of the troop.  It’s interesting to note the comparative size between the males and females.   The females are smaller with shorter jaws.  The juveniles make up the bulk of the numbers and there they were clowning around, romping and jostling while the adults set the pace going forward.   Fortunately I could keep a good distance using an 80 – 400mm telephoto lens.

Chacma baboons_01 Chacma baboons_02 Chacma baboons_03 Chacma baboons_04

33 thoughts on “Through the mist

    1. It was magical, one the best encounters. To observe a troop on the move, and watch the pairing and groups as they moved was all encompassing. There’s an energy and dynamic, and being accepted as part of the landscape was a thrill.

  1. Fabulous images Liz. Would you be nervous if they came closer? I think I would be, but I never seen such a large troop.The alpha male looks handsome and very big!

    1. Thanks Jude. I would have been anxious had i been carrying food – and this troop is one of the few troops not impacted by humans and keeps away from picnic areas, forages in natural vegetation. So i felt comfortable at a distance. Like that you used the word handsome as a descriptive term 😊

  2. Wow, what a magnificent sight to see, Liz! I assume this is the Kanonkop troop … when I last saw them, they were crossing Plateau Road near Smitswinkel Bay. I was with the Smits troop and was thrilled to see them! I tried to do a head count to see just how many there were in the troop … I got to 58 baboons, then lost count. I also discovered there were quite a lot of sub-adult and adult males in the troop … did you see that too? They must be the biggest troop on the Peninsula these days … when the 4 Tokai troops were still together as a single troop some years back, the head count was 120 baboons in total!

    1. Magnificent it was – and to feel their vibrant energy. Yes i would say it’s the Kanonkop troop. Have been crossing paths over some months and i suspect there had been a change in ranking wirh a new alpha. Yes counted 5 other big males as well as some sub-adults. The female rankings and upsets there – one female out of sorts and chasing mother with baby – it looked like baby snatch attempt. But on this day all was peaceful and they moved along with grace. It’s the one troop which to me apoears to be in good ‘working order’. If you know what i mean? There’s a spread of demographics – and their social hierachy is intact. Believe there have been sightings of the top Constantia troop in the Silvermine area – near the dam – having moved there after the fires – sounds like their numbers are increasing. It would have been a sight to see that original Tokai troop 😊 now most of the pine forests have gone and the troops are trapped between the vineyards.

    1. Stopped in my tracks!! Fortunately i wasn’t in a rush and could enjoy the sight. Have to judge the occasions when coming across animals on the road – i have cycled past and even through troops when they were intent on foraging. But was far more cautious seeing the number of mothers babies and juveniles moving along – kept a good distance rather than intrude into their midst and they soon passed by. Have some stories of other animal encounters – will do a post – coming up on the bontebok.

  3. Lucky girl, Liz, they look amazing! So many in a group make a very impressive sight. From all the comments I assume they can behave quite aggressive? I’d certainly be thrilled-afraid-ecstatic with joy to watch them from a safe distance. If only I had a 400mm, of course … 🙂

    1. 🙂 what a sight! In a sense they were trooping along with a destination in mind. A different frame of mind say to being in a picnic / restaurant area where there are raiding opportunities. Generally they don’t harm people but if there is food on offer they can fight to get it and cause injuries if people don’t yield.

  4. Wow, what an amazing gift Liz to see this troop of baboons, thanks for sharing this. Tourists take many chances visiting other countries, not researching the wildlife before they come, or heading the warnings. We have the same problems with sharks, crocodiles and snakes to name a few.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Theresa. Who’d have thought that the slow moving tortoise can be quite so nimble?! The front ‘runner’ in this case is a fleeing male being pursued by an opponent! I’ve missed a couple of opportunities to snap the shot of the mating pair, seems they prefer seclusion.

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