Buffalo, one of Africa's Big Five, have returned to uMkhuze Game Reserve in northern Zululand after an absence of more than 75 years.
In a cloud of dust the huge animals charged out of their holding boma just south of the reserve's main Mantuma camp and headed into the bush after taking some time to leave their temporary home for the past three weeks.
The founder herd of 103 buffalo was released into the reserve, now part of the Greater St Lucia World Heritage site, as part of a major game relocation programme by the GSL Wetland Park Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
The reintroduction of the buffalo brings the Wetland Park a step closer to becoming a Big Five national park, and once again puts uMkhuze back on the map as a leading game reserve in the massive northern tourist region in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal.
Tourists and local residents will be able to see animals that became extinct in this part of KwaZulu-Natal more than 75 years ago, said Park Authority CEO Andrew Zaloumis.
Other rare and valuable game brought back into the Wetland Park include elephant, black and white rhino, tsessebe, oribi and wild dog.
The GSLWPA said the reintroduction was made possible by a generous agreement from SA National Parks and Paul van Vlissingen, a Dutch conservationist to donate animals from Marakele National Park, as well as the Kruger Park, at no cost.