Tuesday, 14 July 2009

13th July – 13th was Not So Unlucky…

The 13th day of this month did not prove to be an unlucky one, and we had some reasonably good sightings at Motswari. The morning started off with Mbali female leopard still sleeping underneath the marula tree in which her baboon carcass was hanging, and she hadn’t appeared to have eaten much at all. She later moved it back to the ground and under the weeping wattle tree where she had hidden her meal yesterday. Andrew and Elliot went to have a look at her, but I instead decided to go and have a look at the six Sohebele lions that had again covered the length of our reserve in one night and were now in the south near Elephant dam. There was not a great deal of action on the way down south, some waterbuck, impala and steenbok, and then a couple of giraffes near Elephant dam. I arrived at the lions as they spotted something down in the riverbed below their perched position on its eastern bank. They watched intently, but we were not sure what they were watching, and when they all lay down, I left the sighting. Johannes followed them as they attempted to encircle the attraction in their eyes; an old male giraffe, but despite the adult lionesses effort, she failed to cause the giraffe to fall as she chased it, and was seemingly unaided by the five sub adults.

After seeing more giraffe, we found a load of elephants on Double Highway, and I guess that over a 1km stretch of road, there were close to 100 elephants in several family groups, and all were extremely relaxed, even with their young babies. We left the elephants and drove past a group of about eight buffalo bulls, opting to search for a herd of buffalo instead. We spotted a herd of buffalo in the distance near Sweetwater pan, but it was not an easy area to get to, so we didn’t hang around too long. Heading back to camp there were more giraffe and kudu, and we arrived back at Motswari for a welcomed breakfast.

The afternoon saw a few of our vehicles going to see the Sohebele pride that were still in the area of the Nyosi-Nhalrulumi river confluence, but they were for once not intent on moving all night long! Heading down south, Elliot saw two breeding herds of elephant near Makulu dam, and up north there were several lone elephant bulls scattered around. Mbali was still feeding on her baboon carcass when I was there, but she soon filled up and moved into the shade to groom. Kuhanya was also found north of Peru dam wall, and was not more than 1km from her mother, but when I relocated her later in the afternoon, she was lying right on the eastern bank of the Nhlarulumi, 70m south of Concrete crossing, and in an area that was inaccessible to a vehicle, so we left her there and went for a drink at Peru dam and saw a large crocodile. The nocturnal activities were a bit quiet, and we saw a hippo disappearing into a thicket, three hippos at Concrete crossing, a genet, and four buffalo bulls at Motswari Trade Entrance dam as we arrived back at camp. After dinner, a large-spotted genet was seen casually wandering around the boma!

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