Saturday, 15 January 2011

15th January – Would someone please let the Cats out of the bag!

Photo of the Day 
Breeding herd of elephants drinking at the now-full Sohebele Dam

Morning Drive
2 x rhino (female and calf) – Vielmetter, Vielmetter-Alberts Cutline
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Java, Western Cutline
3 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Malongo Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Jiga-Jiga Rd
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Mangova Rd

Afternoon Drive
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Sohebele Dam
3 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Lover’s Leap

Daily Synopsis
My hopes of improving on last night’s drive were quelled when, for the second day in a row, I woke up to pouring rain!  Another 11mm fell, not a great deal, but enough to disrupt my morning.  Grant and I went out late, and he was desperate for rhino, so he headed to the south-west to see if he could be as lucky as Herald was yesterday.  I decided to stay up north and look for more obliging leopards, as well as the mating lions.  To cut a long and uneventful story short; I found neither!
My morning was particularly frustrating as the tracks for the lions that were found during the early morning rain were washed away in a second downpour, and left me not wanting to send my tracker into a dense area of bush, ambling around hoping to bump into a lion that was already upset with having vehicles with him! 
With my lion luck gone, I was hoping for anything to pick my morning up, but nothing seemed forthcoming.  Waterbuck, impala, hippos at coffee, a lone elephant bull and three buffalo were all that seemed to want to be seen, and I returned to camp a little disheartened; especially as I knew I was also going to be the only drive out from Motswari in the afternoon – it is always much more difficult finding game when you are the only one out there!

Grant however had a far better morning; he found his rhino!  Two in fact.  Sadly the female and her calf were not relaxed and ran off upon being found, and were eventually tracked leaving the reserve to the west – not a fantastic sighting, but still a rhino sighting!  Better was his sighting of a large herd of elephants as well as a breeding herd of buffalo crossing the road in front of him on the way home.
In the afternoon, with just one guest in camp, I headed out bit earlier.  The drive was an improvement, but still not up to the standard the last week had set.  We managed to tick of nice impala, waterbuck, warthogs, three buffalo bulls sleeping in the water below Lover’s Leap, kudu and best of all, a nice breeding herd of elephant near Sohebele Dam.
Buffalos at Lover's Leap
The breeding herd eventually made their way to the water where they had a drink before moving off to the south-east and we left them.
Elephants at Sohebele Dam
After that, there wasn’t a great deal else to speak of – chameleon, more impala and waterbuck, a male kudu, and giraffe.  On a positive note, the weather held off, and while the lack of rain was better for the drive, I am hoping that it stays away all night and tomorrow to allow us a better chance to improve one the sightings of today!
But that is the wonderful thing about the Timbavati – you just don’t know what tomorrow will bring....although I am hoping it contains big claws, big teeth, and something else with big horns on the nose!

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