Tuesday, 11 January 2011

10th January: All Corners!

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

Leopard ( Shongile) / Motswari – Motswari Southern Access.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Sjambok Pod.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Voeldam.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Argyle Road.
Leopard ( Ntombela) / Kings – Double Highway.
Wild Dog ( 10 x pack) / Vielmieter – Piva Road.

Afternoon Drive.

Buffalo ( 3 x Dagha Boys) / Argyle – Long Road.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Back Nines.
Leopard ( Machaton Male) / Java – Western Cutline.
Wild Dogs ( 10 x Pack) / Vielmieter – Jaydee Access.
Lion ( Jacaranda Four) / Argyle – Rudi's Road.

Daily Synopsis.

Waking to a dark gloomy day you would have bet good money that the morning drive would be filled with rain, but somehow it managed to stay away. This however was of little consequence as the humidity was so high it may as well have been raining and it felt like we were sipping every breath of air. I now know what it's like to be a fish and extract oxygen from water! This may have had an effect on the animals as well, because things started off very slow and subdued for us. On the other handd Johannes got off to a flyer finding Shongile on Motswari's Southern Access, five minutes away from camp. Chad joined him in the sighting and we decided not to respond, as we had, had a great sighting of Rockfig Jnr and Ntombela the evening before.

Our focus was on finding Buffalo, Rhino and the White Lions, which we thought may have returned as a guest of ours who arrived late the previous evening saw a single Lioness on the main road, and the Western boundary of our traversing area where the White Lions had exited. They may have been following the Buffalo herd that was in the same region from the night before. It was not to be our morning as we came up empty handed on all three counts, not even finding tracks for one of the three. Johannes and Chad's morning seemed to be going a lot better as Johannes found himself a very large breeding herd of Elephant and Chad took coffee with a small breeding herd of Buffalo at Voeldam. Feeling rather despondent and left out we were on our way to take a coffee break ourselves and hope our luck would change there after. It's amazing how quickly things can turn around and when you least expect it there lies a surprise for you around the corner. There was no need to take coffee as ours lay around the next corner in the form of the Wild Dog literally lying in a riverbed. They had obviously just finished a meal, as their belly's were full and they had the tell tale rusty red colouration around their heads and necks. The Luck of the Irish had struck and suddenly the morning seemed to come alive for us, after spending some QT (Quality Time) with the Wild Dogs we headed off to visit Ntombela who was found by Marka not far away and made for the perfect way to wrap up morning drive.  

Having the same guests as in the morning my search for Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino would have to continue in the afternoon. Chad received new guests and wanting to show them the Wild Dogs he headed pretty much straight South. Johannes and I decided to stay up North, me wanting to continue my quest and Johannes wanting to follow up on Lion tracks he had found earlier that morning. Jacky joined Johannes and Difference to helpout with the tracking, this left me flying solo. It was not long into drive that I got my first break and checked off Buffalo on the list, finding a couple of Dagha Boys below Argyle Dam. I then decided to try follow up on Johannes's Elephant from the morning, but was beaten too it by Chad calling in a breeding herd two minutes ahead of me.

After spending some time with them I decided to head North and follow up on Johannes, Difference and Jacky's progress, while Chad headed South for his Dogs. Along his way he ran into the Machaton Male, a beautiful Leopard equal in size to Argyle Male, some would even go as far as to say bigger.
Machaton Male

Petros and the wild dogs

Sticking to my plan I continued North where I received the good news the guys had tracked down the Jacaranda Four. It would appear they are getting quite settled in our Northern section, as we are finding them more and more often there. The females are completely relaxed around the vehicle and the one male is getting a lot more confident, but the other still remains a little shy, given time he will also ignore our presence and go about his daily business.

Finishing our visit, the blue sky took on a rather threatening darker shade of pale, which in turn fast became a lighter shade of black. Cutting sundowners short, as it appeared it was rather sinking than going down, we set about racing the rain back to Motswari. We fortunately got in just before the heavens burst, but others, Chad, were less fortunate. From what I heard it was a small price to pay for a good sighting of the Wild Dog. If this rain keeps up tomorrows drive could possibly be a boat safari.

No comments:

Post a Comment