Tuesday, 25 January 2011

24th January: Umlani to the Rescue.

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Argyle Rd.
Elephant ( 3 x Kambaku's) / Jaydee – Argyle Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Xikhari Rd.
Leopard ( Ntombela) / Kings – Matambo Rd.
Leopard ( Mbali) / Peru – Bulala Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Argyle – Concrete Crossing.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Java – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Western Cutline.
Lion ( Machaton Females & cubs) / Umlani – Donga Lookout.

Daily Synopsis

After missing out on the Lions from the night before and now being 0 for 3, we decided to take yet another chance and see if our luck had perhaps changed. We headed directlyto Mpela Mpela in the North East and the general direction the Lions had been heading in. Arriving at the dam we found fresh tracks for our Lionesses and cubs, good and bad news. Good news that we found tracks and bad news that they were heading directly North to the border of our traversing area with Ingwelala, which was not far away. The tracks entered into the nearby riverbed were you could see the cubs had playfully run around before rejoining their mothers who had now turned to the North East. It soon became apparent why they had changed direction as a set of very fresh male tracks joined them, they then all proceeded North crossing into Ingwelala and home, now making it 0 for 4! Only having two drives left of a four night stay our guests are yet to see Lion. This pressure is compounded by the knowledge that the White Lions are very far North and the Mahlatini's are presently mating with females from a neighbouring property making it unlikely that either pride will make an appearance. Our best chance lies in the South should the guys be able to relocate the Machaton Females and their cubs or the Timbavati Males, but they too have all gone AWOL and could possibly also have crossed out of the area. Hard to believe it was little over two weeks ago that we had the White Lions, the Jacaranda Four, the Jacaranda Pride, and the Mahlatini's. Giving ourselves a break from our Lion search we drove around taking in whatever came our way and this strategy seemed to work, as we found ourselves a nice Breeding Herd of Buffalo, a trio of Elephant, Zebra, Warthog and a variety of antelope.

After morning coffee I received a message they had found Ntombela on Kings which we were kindly invited to go view, being in the area and in need of feline company we headed in her direction. We did not need to worry about Johannes missing out, as after the disappointment of the Lion tracking he set about looking for Leopard in the North. Hearing he had found tracks it would only be a matter of time until he found his Leopard, they do not call him the “Leopard Man” for nothing. So while we sat with Ntombela resting in a Marula Tree in the South, Johannes sat with Mbali resting in a Marula in the North.

Afternoon drive saw us trying to relocate on Mbali as it has been some time since I've seen her, and from what Johannes described, it sounds like she has a very deep gash behind one of her front legs that I wanted to check up on. Needless to say she was no longer resting in her Marula Tree and we did not spend long looking for her, as we were still in search of our elusive Lion. The plan was for Johannes to check the Eastern and Southern Boundaries, while I checked the Northern and Western side, a long shot, but we had nothing else to go on. Heading to the West I received news that Umlani had found the Machaton Females and their cubs. A great thing about working in the Timbavati is how the guys are always willing to help you in your time of need. We don't traverse on Umlani but they are always more than willing to help us out and have come to our rescue on a number of occasions, as they would again this afternoon. On receiving an invitation both Johannes and I headed straight South forgetting any other plans that we may have had. The sighting was in a beautiful location in the lush Tsharalumi Riverbed, that had a small stream of water winding its way down between the wide sand banks that were bordered on the one side by a mini cliff face. The scene was completed by the three Machaton Females and three of their four cubs lying out in the open on the riverbed floor. Not to worry, the fourth cub was asleep out of sight in the long grass on the bank. We all sat marvelling at our surroundings and the setting we found ourselves in, a truly beautiful spot and sighting, once again we received our returns on the Wildlife Tax we had been paying over the past few days.

On our way back to Motswari we received news that the Wild Dogs had been found, two of them had killed an Impala of which they were dispossessed by two Hyena's. By the sounds of things they are members of the pack of ten that frequent the area, guess something to look forward to in the morning!

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