Two Addo Elephant National Park buffalo bulls with near record horn spans are expected to attract breeders and reserve owners from throughout Southern Africa to the annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees auction.
The biggest has been nick-named “Bismarck,” and has a horn span of 46 inches, while Hercules has one of 45 inches. Both have been captured, and are in a boma at the Addo Elephant National Park, according to auction organiser Johan Swart.
He says new blood and a new date bring a new era to the annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees game auction, which is one of the top three wildlife auctions in the country.
For the first 10 years of the Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees, brought to you in association with DSTV in 2012, the auction has been hosted on the Saturday of the festival weekend. This has been moved to the Friday to accommodate out of town bidders – many of whom also want to bring their families to enjoy the many attractions at the Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees, according to auction organiser Johan Swart.
“We have listened to what the industry has told us, and moved the auction a day forward.
“The trend in the industry is to hold auctions on week days.
“This also helps with the movement of the game after it has been bought,” he says.
The auction is one of the few in the country where buyers are able to see the majority of the prize animals, which are kept in bomas for the sale.
This year, around 40 disease-free Add Elephant National Park buffalo will go under the hammer of Brandon Leer of Brandon Leer Auction Services. Leer is widely regarded as one of the best livestock auctioneers in the country, and a specialist in game sales. He will be taking over the hammer from Roy Hayes who handled the auctions for the first 10 years.
“Roy helped put the Kirkwood wildlife auction on the map, and the fact that we could attract an auctioneer with the experience of Brandon is a tribute to the solid foundation Roy built,” says Swart.
Leer was schooled in the Eastern Cape and grew up in the Port Elizabeth area.
Other well-known auctions in which he has been involved include Madikwe, Thaba Tholo, Piet du Toit, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, SANParks auctions in Kimberley and Pretoria, the North West Buffalo Auction at Molemane Eye, the Polokwane Municipality auction, and auctions at the Shamwari and Kwandwe game reserves in the Eastern Cape.
The 2012 Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees runs from June 29 to July 1, and offers a wild weekend for the whole family. Entry fees for the festival on Friday and Sunday are R70 for adults and R35 for children; and R100 for adults and R50 for children on Saturday.