Thursday, 13 January 2011

12th January - A spot or two...

Photo of the Day

Morning Drive.

Leopard ( Voeldam Male) / Argyle – Mangovo Road.
Rhino ( Shangula) / Jaydee – Den Road.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Hide Dam Link.
Lion ( Machaton Pride & cubs) / Tanda Tula – Shortcut.

Afternoon Drive.

Leopard ( Shongile) / Motswari – Motswari Reception Road.
Leopard ( Vyeboom Dam Male) / Argyle – Mangovo Road.
Leopard ( Argyle Female) / Argyle – Mangovo Road.
Leopard ( Rockfig Jnr & Ntombela) / Kings – Rockfig Link.
Buffalo ( 3 x Dagha Boys) / Peru – Timbavati/ Umbabat Cutline.
Buffalo ( 3 x Dagha Boys) / Peru – Xinkhovanin Road.

Daily Synopsis.

Vyeboom Dam Male
Having listened to the Jacaranda Male roar close to camp most of the night and into the early hours of the morning, we half expected to find him still in the same spot on the airstrip. Our mornings intentions were to follow up on him and check on Vyeboom Dam Male, all the time keeping out an eye for any sign of Elephant. Our plans changed very quickly, as getting mobile we were extended an invitation by Tanda Tula to visit the Machaton Pride with their cubs. Having missed out narrowly the evening before we set off directly South hoping to have better luck and make up for the previous nights disappointment. Things were looking a whole lot more positive as on our way Marka found a nice breeding herd of Elephant that we visited on route. He also found an Impala that had been killed and placed in a Marula Tree, with two sets of Leopard tracks in the area, which he later followed up to discover Rockfig Jnr and Ntombela. After the Elephant a decision loomed as they had found a Shangula in the West, hmm.........., what to do, as Rhino are particularly difficult to come by this time of year! Needing Rhino, Johannes headed West, we also needed Rhino but again took the risk that he would be there after our visit with the Lions, the morning was taking on a awfully familiar feeling.

Impala herd
Arriving at the Lions with them sitting out in the open we knew we had made the right decision, even if we didn't get to see Shangula. So we spent a long time with them as they played around in the surrounding shrubs chasing one another, followed by a session of grooming and bonding.

Machaton lionesses and their four cubs

Finally leaving them we received news that they still had Shangula but he was very close to crossing the boundary into Klaserie and out of our traversing area. We headed in his direction on a high from our Lion experience not bothered whether we made it or not, it would be an added bonus if we did. Getting to him moments before he crossed we were able to spend five quality minutes with him before he moved off out of sight.

Nhlangula Male Rhino

Chad's morning sounded rather frustrating, his positioning and route were perfect but his timing was a little out, catching everything as it either excelerated, took cover, or fell asleep in the bush, welcome to my world!

On afternoon drive we welcomed back Herald from his weeks leave and said goodbye to Johannes and Difference for theirs. Herald picked up where Johannes left off and found nearly all our afternoon sightings. He had literally left Motswari when he found Shongile sitting up in a Marula Tree on the Reception Road. Imagine being one of his guests and the first animal you see on game drive for the very first time is a Leopard. Unfortunately by the time Chad and I got to her she had come down from the tree and made herself very comfortable under a thick bush in some long grass. It's amazing how relaxed she is with the vehicle under these circumstances, even going as far as nodding off, reducing our sighting to less than ten spots. Somewhat frustrated with the quality of the Leopard sightings of the last couple of days, Chad headed South to a guaranteed in Rockfig Jnr and Ntombela on a Impala kill. Herald and myself stayed up North, I thought I'd give Vyeboom Dam Male one more chance to redeem himself. Pulling into the site where he has his Impala kill, I fast began to regret my decision as he was nowhere around the kill. Spreading our search we luckily got a break and found him resting at the top of another Marula not to far away. Spending the majority of drive with him he certainly redeemed himself, as he entertained us with his many funny mannerisms and even funnier facial expressions, that can only be liked to a domestic dog waiting to play a game of fetch.
Rockfig Jnr resting near her kill

Vyeboom Dam Male

Having not seen Buffalo yet and the last of our “ Big Five” we made our way to view a couple Dagha Boys a short distance away.

After our visit we still had a little time before sundowners so we headed to our new friends the Jacaranda Four, who were found earlier in the afternoon. It's great to see how relaxed they have become around the vehicle and in such a short period of time, they now hardly take any notice of our comings and goings. They were resting out in the open, obviously digesting the previous nights meal. Judging from their swollen stomachs it must have been of substantial size as all their belly's were bloated.  

With the sun sinking slowly behind the mountains we headed off for our sundowners. No sooner had we finished with drinks and got mobile, did we hear Heralds voice over the radio saying he had found another Leopard, this time it was Argyle Female. Having had a great sighting of Leopard earlier we made our way home, but on reaching the Southern end of the airstrip, Herald contacted me to let me know he had fresh tracks for the Jacaranda Male on the airstrip. I headed to check the road on the Western side for any sign of him, while Herald checked the Airstrip. Once again, the ever familiar voice of the radio that afternoon announced that he had the Jacaranda Male. Couldn't think of a better way to bring a drive to an end, than the “King of the Jungle” less than five hundred metres away from camp building himself up to roar! Thanks Herald and welcome back!
Jacaranda Male

1 comment:

  1. Pretty Vyeboom Dam Male in his tree.

    Nice pics.

    Thanks very much !

    Agnès from France