Wednesday, 26 January 2011

25th January: Home Sweet Home!

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Reception.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Peru Entrance.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Hyena Pan.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Voeldam Northern Access.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Scholtz – Hidden Away Pan.

Afternoon Drive.

Elephant ( 2 x Kambaku) / Scholtz – Scholtz Big Dam.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Piva Plains.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Scholtz – Kudu Pan Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Entrance Dam.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Lion Pan.
Leopard ( Argyle Male) / Motswari – Motswari Soccer Field.

Daily Synopsis.

I started my day earlier than usual, as my guests wanted to be out before light and settled in a spot to watch the sun rise and the bush come to life. While I was driving the vehicle around to reception to fetch them, who should I find, no other than Kuhanya sitting in front of the Motswari sign on the road, not fifty metres from reception. She moved to the side of the road where she promptly sat down again as if to allow me the right of passage to continue with journey. Heading out she was still on the side of the road going about her pre dawn grooming, we did not spend long with her as time was of the essence. Finding an elevated clearing we switched off and awaited the break of day, as it became lighter things started to slowly stir and the dawn chorus was set in motion crescendoing at sunrise with a multitude of calls, the most distinctive being that of the Fish Eagles, Hippos and the deep call of the Ground Hornbill. Although we did not actually get to see the sunrise, as clouds obscured the horizon, it's always great to be out at the best time of the day. Heading back to camp we ran into Kuhanya yet again, still sitting in the same spot. Johannes and I sat watching her as we waited on our guests, he mentioned to me that he had heard her fighting with another Leopard in a Mopane thicket nearby and that's what brought his attention to her, she then proceeded to walk out and back to her position next to reception where he found her, and where we had left her an hour before. She was again grooming herself but obviously sensing our guests arrival she stood and limped off back into the Mopane thicket before they got a chance to see her. It would appear Kuhanya is fast becoming Motswari's resident Leopard. With us finding her often on the airstrip and the night before she was seen, by John, in the early hours of the morning in camp walking past the verandah and swimming pool, and again this morning she was at reception. Best our resident Impala watch out.  

We did try relocate her but the direction she headed in was ideal Leopard country, which meant it was very difficult for us to follow and after checking the areas we could, we set off on our respective missions. Johannes was looking for Buffalo, and myself, I was looking for Rhino. He headed to the East and found his Buffalo Herd while I made my way to the West and found lots of Mopane Trees.

The afternoon drives only excitement came in the early evening just before we closed down for Bush Braai. Dave, our new camp manager, on his way to the Bush Braai site picked up Argyle Male crossing the drainage line that runs alongside the Motswari soccer field. He had mentioned to Godfrey and Thea before setting off that they would see Leopard on there five minute journey, and again while setting off he reiterated his belief, and true to his word as if he had willed it, there appeared Argyle Male. Johannes and myself were in the area as we both had a feeling if we wanted to find Leopard it would be around camp. He was checking the East, while I checked the West, on receiving Dave's message we both descended on the soccer field to find Argyle Male making his way along the drainage line before he led us through some rather ropey areas into the open on the airstrip. He settled in the open showing moderate interest in some nearby Impala, but this was short lived as a Hyena got wind of his presence and chased him off to the West, were we were unable to relocate him. While following him through the drainage line, Johannes mentioned that he had heard another Leopard growling, it could have been Kuhanya and we think that he was who she had, had a run in with in the morning. They both more than likely spent the day around the camp only getting mobile again when things started to cool. As for the drive earlier in the afternoon both myself and Johannes had a pretty quite time interspersed with occasional sightings of lone Elephants and Buffalo.

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