What is BushCam Adventures?

BushCam Adventures attempts to share some of the amazing images, stories and insights that I've collected during my camera-trapping adventures.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Two Days at the Salt Lick

For some months now I have had a memory card from one of my cameras sitting on my desk. It is effectively full and contains 3984 images of mammals recorded at a salt lick in the Tswalu Kalahari reserve in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. These 3984 images were recorded over just a 48hour period.
I've been reluctant to write a new post about these images because, well, I just couldn't think of a good story to go with the images. However I now need to use the card and am reluctant to add another 4GB of images to the hard drive on my ageing laptop. So its a case of use-them-or-lose-them - and I've decided to use them.

Salt licks (possibly better described as mineral licks) are commonly used in wildlife reserves in Southern Africa. They're particularly used in the dry winter months when the quality of the grass is often poor. I don't know to what extent the mammals really need the additional minerals or whether they just like them. But that is immaterial because mammals arrive at the lick in droves, especially if there is also water in  the vicinity. So its an interesting site for a camera-trap.

These mineral supplements usually begin as a sold rectangular block. But it doesn't take long before they get licked down into an amorphous blob, like the one at Tswalu, shown below:

There were various mammals in the area when we arrived to set up the camera and it wasn't long after we left that the first 'lickers' arrived. The procession hardly stopped for two days.

Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis)

Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)
Gemsbok (Oryx gazella)
Greater Kudu ( Tragelaphus strepsiceros)
Common Eland (Tragelaphus oryx)
Hartmann's Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra hartmannae)
Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)
Common Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus)

Roan Antelope (Hippotragus equinus)
Impala (Aepyceros melampus)

So what's the story here?

Well, for many wildlife professionals working in reserves like Tswalu these scenes are a daily occurence. But for the rest of us these camera-trap images represent an extraordinary view into the daily life of mammals in Africa. 3984 images in two days! Its a story that I hope our grand-children will still get to see.


  1. Incredible!!! The Oryx is such a handsome animal. Those facial markings are brilliant.

  2. That's a good collection of species for only two days! What I did at Tygerberg, where the Bontebok would also sometimes fill up an SD card in a few days, was to only keep the first and last photos (and maybe a few good ones in between) of a "visiting event". It helps to keep the images to a manageable number without loosing too much of what happened.

    On a slightly different note, I'm almost done with the Bulk Import feature in WildLog which should, hopefully, make capturing this sort of data easier. If you don't mind I can send you a beta version to test out and play around with. Your feedback will be much appreciated!

  3. nice pictures,


  4. here we have also a Salt Lick