In the footage, the baby blue wildebeest wanders off from the crowd and, realising he may be lost, he finds a “replacement” mother in this nifty blue vehicle.
“The Kgalagadi is known for its vast desert plains and open landscapes with dunes of red sand. We were travelling up to Mata Mata, one of the camps, which is the border into Namibia, when we turned a corner and came across this little wildebeest calling and standing next to the car in front of us. We were shocked to see that the wildebeest calf moved and stopped when the car did,” said Zaheer.
“At first, we didn’t understand what was happening, but after a few minutes of viewing the wildebeest, checking our surroundings and seeing that there wasn’t a herd in sight, we realised that he was probably lost and the had taken to the car in front of us as its mother. We knew it was a natural instinct for him to follow the biggest moving object closest to him, as he would have done in the herd.
“We were afraid for him, as he was all alone and vulnerable in prolific lion and cheetah territory, and our aim was to help him back to the safety of his herd. At the same time, we felt excited because we knew how rare this sighting was, we had only ever heard of things like this on TV.
“We followed the calf and the blue car for about 2kms when the calf decided to follow another car that was passing in the opposite direction. The calf ran in the direction of that car and almost got ran over. Luckily the ABS on the Toyota was better than that on the little calf.
“He went flying into the car but luckily was not injured. Then the calf decided to turn towards our vehicle. It was going to the tyres trying to suckle. Looking for a spot on the vehicle to suckle. My wife, Asma, rolled down the window, and this little guy was obviously quite distressed. We moved the vehicle forward hoping it would start following us.
“We moved quite a distance away from the calf so he didn’t get hurt by the car’s tyres. We drove for about another 4-5km like this in search of a herd of wildebeest. The whole way he was crying out for us to stop. At the same time we saw him run through a puddle of water, which was sweet.
“Eventually, the herd of wildebeest appeared. There were around 50 wildebeest in this herd … the calf stopped, and within 5 seconds, the mother came running towards him, and they were reunited. He immediately started suckling on her,” said Zaheer.
– Caxton News Service