Wednesday, 19 January 2011

18th January: Herald the Great!

Pic of the Day.

Greetings all,

With Chad on leave and myself not on drive, we will be keeping the Blog updated with only the daily sightings. Should anything exciting occur out there, you will be the first to know. Like yesterday, Herald went out and found himself a Rhino, and not just any Rhino, but the relaxed Shangula, bet Chad could have done with that the day before. Is that peppermint tea I can still smell! The Wild Dog were also found in the morning and the afternoon, lets hope the pack is still in the area when I come on drive towards the end of the week.

Morning Drive.

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Wild Dog ( 9 x pack) / JayDee – Den Road.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari.

Afternoon Drive.

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Rhino ( Shangula) / Vielmieter – Elephant Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Scholtz – Scholtz River Road.

Chad's Afternoon

While I am on leave, i decided to rather not drive home yesterday and spent the evening on the reserve, which proved to be a good choice! 

Thankfully Herald was having a better time of it than I was being the only vehicle from the lodge going out.  His morning sounded pretty good; not only did the wild dog pack return to the area, but on his way back to camp, he found Kuhanya sleeping up a marula tree on the Motswari Airstrip.  After breakfast, I took a few of the staff out to go and see her as she slept off her fat and bloated belly high up in the tree.

In the afternoon, Dave and Thea needed to be dropped off at a lodge in the south, so I kindly offered to take them, and turned the trip into a game drive of sorts.  It started with Kuhanya leopardess sleeping up her favourite marula tree on the southern end of the airstrip - its the third time we have found her up that tree in two weeks!

Kuhanya in "Kuhanya's Tree" as it has become known!
After admiring her beauty, I headed down to see if the wild dogs were still around, especially as Thea had never seen them before, despite having worked in the Timbavati for two-and-a-half years!  It was only Herald and one station from the south in our entire traversing area, so the odds seemed stacked against them, but Herald and Patrick (his tracker) did a great job in finding Nhlangula male rhino near Entrance Dam, the first time he has been seen that far east for a long time; and with the Nhlaralumi River flowing, i suspect he wont be crossing back west for a day or two.

Nhlaralumi river overflowing Peru Dam

The Green Sea that is the Timbavati! (Nhlaralumi River flowing on the right hand side)
I went to assist in trying to relocate the wild dogs from the morning's drive, but they were no where to be seen, but i knew they had to be somewhere.  Eventually, after having spent almost 40 minutes driving around the area, we found them near Jaydee Airstrip and got to follow the pack for some time.  They eventually found a herd of impalas and gave chase; on two occasions a pair of dogs came running past, hot in pursuit of a baby impala, but on neither attempt did they look that committed to the hunt.  The pack had split, and we couldnt relocate all of them, but i suspect that some of the pack did actually catch an impala in the block, but we never managed to find them.  Still, it was a wonderful first sighting of these amazing animals for Thea - and may she and Dave have many more during their time at Motswari!

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon off!
We made it to their destination, ticking off some hyenas en route too.  Heading back to camp, i had another 2 packs of hyenas, including some with cubs which are always cute!  Oh yes, I forgot that Jackie also got to see Vyeboom Dam male leopard near the lodge when he was collecting staff from the taxi stop; the leopard activity around the lodge is really quite something at the moment!!!

I am back in Johannesburg, so wont be posting for the next week, but look forward to reading about all the sightings I am bound to miss out on!  If all the tracks on the road out this morning were a clue, then i suspect that there might be a few more breeding herds of buffalo seen over the next couple of days!

Catch up next week...

PS - Anyone wanting to see a rhino clearly has to go out with Herald and not me!!!

1 comment:

  1. And where pray tell Grant was our Shangula when we where there. I think you are just not showing us to keep us coming back. As always stunning pics though. Love and regards to all. Nik, Ashton and Vannah, Russsia.