When I was about ten years old I had an encounter I will never forget. My family and I were on the beach in Kleinmond, a tiny town about an hour-and-a-half outside Cape Town on the East coast. A fresh water river known as the Palmiet makes its way into the ocean and the river mouth is characterised by reeds and little rocky outcrops before reaching the sandy beach. It was on this occasion as we strolled alongside the ocean at dusk, that a flash of movement caught our eyes. Initially we thought it was someone’s domestic dog but on a closer look, a young otter was inquisitively coming closer. For about ten minutes we watched this incredible little creature run up from the surf and then back again to the comfort of the water. It was spectacular! More than fifteen years later, although many tracks observed, I have yet to see another otter and yes, I am longing to see another one!
The Cape Clawless Otter (Aonyx capensis) is the species we find here at Londolozi and we occasionally see their tracks along the Sand River. Sightings however are rare which has put me onto a self-appointed challenge: to get a picture of one with our camera trap. I set the camera up in the Sand River near Plaque rock and hoped for the best. On collection I sifted through hundreds of pictures and although no otter this time, the trap did manage to capture a great selection. I especially enjoyed being able to observe a genet’s nightly movements and the low-angle vantage point resulted in some really interesting shots.
I have now set the camera trap in a different part of the river so keep fingers crossed and stay tuned for the follow up blog.
Written and captured by: Andrea Campbell, Londolozi Ranger