Wednesday, 12 August 2009

11th August – Productive Game Viewing in the North

Tuesday was another pleasant day of game viewing at Motswari Private Game Lodge, and as has been the trend for the last few days, the majority of our game sightings have been up in the northern sections of the Timbavati.

The morning drive started off well with Johannes calling me to go and see a herd of about 150 buffalo just north-west of our camp. This is the herd that had been trailed by the Mahlathini male lions two days back, and had returned. We sat and watched as the whole herd fed past us in a southerly direction before the crossed off the property.

I carried on checking the ‘wedge’, an area that we don’t usually frequent on our game drives. I might try to drive there more often as, in addition to the herd of buffalo, I saw another lone buffalo bull, two hyenas, a bull elephant, a male giraffe, bushbuck, impala, and had a brief sighting of a young leopard! I am assuming it is the 16-month old young male leopard of Argyle Jnr’s leap, but he was unfortunately very nervous, and had been hiding near the road, but ran off as we drove past him. We tried to drive off road to see if we could find him again, and saw him moving back to the north, but failed to relocate him after that, and decided to leave him alone.

Other guides had found three Sohebele lions, two young males and the young female. They were resting on the hill just west of Peru dam wall, but true to their current form, they were extremely inactive and after lying with her head up for a while, the little female flopped back to sleep; the males didn’t even budge. They didn’t move too far from yesterday’s position, but they clearly failed to get any food yet again. There were a few hippos and baboons around Peru dam too.

Herald had found a pair of white rhinos, a female and a sub-adult, that were feeding in the empty bottom of the Sohebele dam. He viewed them at a bit of distance from the dam wall, and got a good sighting in the nice and open setting. I headed in to the area later in the drive, but the rhinos had moved into a thick Mopane area, and we found them as they crossed the road, but soon ran off into the thicket and we didn’t manage to relocate them. Other general game for the morning included kudu, waterbuck, warthog and impala.

During the afternoon, a lone buffalo bull arrived at the camp waterhole, as did a group of five bull elephants to once again rip up our waterhole’s pipe! On drive, we found the herd of buffalo from this morning that had returned to our traversing area and were found feeding in the empty Argyle dam, and it was really nice to see all of them together in the open.

The large breeding herd of elephants was yet again around the Peru dam-Mbali dam area, and were enjoying the Mopane tree’s just to the east of the dam. The herd was scattered everywhere, a few individuals were feeding on the sedge and green vegetation in the riverbed while the others moved off to the east.

There were some nice giraffe around Concrete crossing, more near Mvubu crossing, and good general game in the area around the water; waterbuck herds, impala, a troop of baboons and kudu. I had guests for just one drive, so was making my way towards the three Sohebele lions that had moved during the midday heat, and were now lying on the western bank of Peru dam, watching a lone bull elephant. I was heading towards them, and saw a hyena scavenging near one of the private camps, and shortly after that, Kuhanya female leopard popped out onto the road in front of us! The sun had already set, and we watched her in the dusk of the day as she wandered around, climbed atop a termite mound, and then darted off to the north, we lost her for a while, but relocated the leopard as she spotted her quarry; a herd of impalas. She moved closer to them, but the impala moved off quickly, and she soon lost interest.

I left Kuhanya and went to go see the three Sohebele lions, but they were, just for a change, fast asleep! I didn’t spend too long with them, and slowly made my way home after another successful day!

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