A family heard a strange sound in their car 4 days after leaving a nature reserve… little did they know that a Dassie was making his break for the big city!
Western Cape, South Africa (17 December 2021) – On the 20th of November 2019, a young rock hyrax (Dassie) snuck up into the undercarriage of a guest’s vehicle and made the 2.5-hour journey from his home in the Cederberg to the town of Worcester, where he spent four days before being discovered.
Pieter du Toit and his family had been vacationing at Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve in mid-November 2019. Kagga Kamma is situated in the Kouebokkeveld of the Western Cape. After spending a well-deserved break, the du Toit family packed up the car and hit the dirt road leading out of the Nature Reserve, to make the 160km journey home. The trip saw the family travelling up into the Cederberg mountain range and through Die Dorp Op Die Berg, before descending into the fruit-producing town of Ceres; they arrived at their home in Worcester unaware of the little dassie tucked away within the car.
Four days had passed before Pieter noticed the strange sounds emanating from their vehicle; dassies are well-known for their sing-song abilities, resembling that of birds chattering. Upon discovering Rocky, the nature lover quickly enclosed the critter to keep him safe and made a call to the nature reserve, informing them of the discovery. Pieter and his family cared for the young dassie, while the team made arrangements to travel out to Worcester to collect him.
A full seven days had passed from the start of Rocky, the hairy Houdini’s journey and the sun had started setting by the time Kagga Kamma Ranger, Jason Scholtz arrived back home with the little dassie on the passenger seat, in an aerated wine box; just in time for the festive season! The team eagerly snapped photos and videos of the moment Jason opened the box and a chuffed face peered out, before bounding across the grass towards the other dassie’s a few metres away.
“We’re sure this is one road trip Rocky will never forget!”
Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve is nestled within the Cederberg region and is a protected heritage and natural site. The property is home to a number of smaller game species and rodents, such as the endemic spectacled dormouse and elephant shrew, as well as rock paintings left behind by the Khoisan tribes who resided here in the past. There are a number of rock hyraxes in the area as well, who nest in the unique rock formations found here.