Friday, 3 July 2009

01st & 02nd July – Wild Dog’s Still Around…

The first two days of the new month got off to a good start. Wednesday morning I went to see if I could have any luck with the Sohebele pride, but only found tracks for two females, but had no luck finding the lions. It didn’t matter too much, as shortly after finding the pack of wild dogs near Java dam, Palence found three male lions a bit further along the road. The surprise was not in finding the lions, but finding out that it was the Timbavati males! These lions have not been seen anywhere near as far north as this, but it was great to see them. They were followed through some really thick bush, but we managed to stick with them until they settled down in the open near Scholtz camp, an area they haven’t visited since they were nomadic youngsters! The wild dog’s had almost been forgotten about, but were later found near Makulu dam where they were seen chasing waterbuck. A few of our vehicles also went down south to see Mtenga-tenga male rhino who was grazing near Cheetah Plains late in the morning.

Wednesday afternoon was also pretty good, and started off with Kuhanya female leopard being seen near Peru dam wall, and she was nibbling on an old tit-bit, but soon wandered up onto the wall, past the vehicle and was then left to do her own thing. Palence managed to find the three Mahlathini male lions near Voël dam, looking well fed and relatively relaxed. Four of the Sohebele sub adult lions were also picked up and they too were just lazing about, looking nice and fat. Johannes also spotted the Argyle male leopard not far from the lions, up a tree, but he soon descended and was followed as he headed north into Argyle. I was really keen to see the wild dogs, but they were now quite far south, so I headed down there after watching Kuhanya, but the animals didn’t want me to get anywhere in a hurry! We saw a good number of bull giraffes about, a nice group of bull elephants, as well as some lone bulls too, kudu, impala, vervet monkeys, waterbuck, they all wanted our attention! I eventually got into the area where the wild dogs had last been seen moving into, but all we found was impala. My tracker eventually picked up some tracks, and after following them for a few minutes we spotted five of the wild dogs chasing a zebra. Soon one wild dog came sprinting after an impala that was running for its life, it circled right past my land rover and straight towards two other wild dogs that were watching it eagerly…I was sure I was going to see a kill, but for some reason, despite running straight through the two dogs that were 5m away, they didn’t give chase, and they all stopped and trotted off in another direction! The impala got lucky!
Thursday was another nice day, the general game was quite good, a herd of elephants near Argyle dam, some nice giraffe, kudu and waterbuck, hippos at Vyboom dam, and then a large herd of around fifty elephants feeding along the banks of the Nhlarulumi riverbed, near Tamboti wallow, with many small calves – it was a great sighting. Elliot saw the three Mahlathini male lions near Argyle dam too, but they were moving in thick bush and weren’t pursued. Palence’s luck then continued when he found Nkateko female leopard fighting with a hyena over an impala kill, but she soon fled to the safety of a marula tree and the matriarch hyena from the Rockfig clan fed on the carcass. Rockfig female leopard then also came over but went down into a small drainage line and was not seen again until the afternoon, when she was found resting in a marula tree a few hundred meters away from Nkateko who was still in the same tree. The hyena had also spent the whole day in the same place, and even when Rockfig wandered over to the area after dark, the hyena didn’t pay any attention, and Rockfig went to sleep in the grass about 80m away.
Heading home in the evening I too got lucky and found a lioness lying on the road near Karans camp, she was watching a buffalo that we could hear feeding in the bushes nearby. We weren’t sure exactly which lioness this was, but when a second young female lion came to join the first, we realized that it was two of the lions from the Sohebele pride, and the same ones I had been tracking yesterday morning. After a few minutes they moved down towards the Sohebele riverbed and we left them to do their own thing. Other nocturnal creatures included a side-striped jackal, genet, hyena, scrub hares, and then last night Godfrey saw two porcupines, and this morning I had a glimpse of two honey badgers.

Getting back to camp, there was a herd of about 12 elephants having a drink in front of the lodge, and it put a nice finish onto another good day in the African bush.

1 comment:

  1. Great captures and the sunset looks amazing!