“Impala meat doesn’t make for good breyani: chuckles Dr Yoganand Kandasamy, “the flavour’s too strong. But warthog, that makes an excellent curry.
We’re rattling down a service road in Manyeleti Game Reserve, neighbouring the Kruger National Park’s fenceless western border, with “Yogi” and game guard Augusto Mabunda, and we’re looking for buffalo. But the buffalo don’t want to be found, so our conversation turns to matters culinary.
Yogi’s from the southern Indian region of Tamil Nadu, and since starting his post-doctoral research into large herbivore abundance in the Kruger, he’s tried matching his home cooking with local venison.
We move onto the merits of biltong as we head towards a lookout point in our efforts to pick up the bleep bleep bleep that’s bouncing across the veld from the tracking collars on some of the females in the herd we’re after.
Yogi positions his aerial this way, then that, working the dial on his receiver.
Studio photographers get nervous about working with kids and animals because they’re so unpredictable. Wildlife photography is even worse – you have no control over your environment, and even less over the animals. But eventually we see a line of black slicing through the bushveld in the far distance.
Bingo. It’s our herd – 300 animals ruminating in the heat of the late morning.
Photographer Eric Miller and I were there to find out more about the dance of life and death between two of the mighty big five – lion and buffalo – and as is often the case with wildlife, it took plenty of patience to find our subjects.
But in the end, we got about as up close and personal as you’d want to, around such hefty and dangerous animals.