|Pic of the Day.|
( Grant & Chad)
Rhino ( Mtenga-tenga Male)
Leopard ( Ntombi Female) / Kings – Double Highway.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Entrance Dam Road.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – Western Cutline.
( Grant & Chad)
Lion ( Jacaranda Males) / Motswari – Timbavati/ Umbabat Cutline.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Karans – Old Closed Road.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Wisani Trough.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Hanger Road.
Setting off in less than perfect weather, it felt like we were more at sea than in the midst of the African bush with the rain coming down in squalls. Not your ideal game viewing conditions and we didn't expect to find much. Both Chad and I started out with the intention of staying in the North but coming up empty handed at every turn we slowly headed South, just as well we did, as things started to pick up mid morning. We were both on our way to a sighting of a nice herd of Elephant, when a call came in that they had found Mtenga-tenga, a large relaxed male Rhino, not far from us. We both changed our plans as Rhino sightings this time of year are very hard to come by, especially of the very relaxed Mtenga-tenga, who has become very elusive over the last few months. Joining the sighting we were a little concerned as it appeared that he had got himself tangled up in some barbed wire, obviously left over from the days the farms were divided by fences. Once again we learnt the valuable lesson of not judging a book by its' cover, as he freed himself from the wire, only to gather it up again around his horn and pull back and forth, and from side to side, as if he was flossing between both his horns! Once he had satisfied his itch he withdrew from the wire and set off on his way, like it was all part of his grooming regime.
Sitting with him while he went about more natural behaviour, Jacky picked up fresh tracks for Lions and on closer inspection we believed it to be for Xakubasa Ngala, the White Lions. This was confirmed when we set off and found tracks for all five members on a nearby road. Joining forces with Kings Camp we went about tracking them, but the weather was not playing along, and as the trackers set off on foot the heavens opened a little more, slowly washing away any tracks or signs that would lead us to them. While the trackers persevered I took the opportunity to visit Ntombi on a large male Impala kill that was nearby. We had a nice sighting of her up in a large Knob thorn, not picture perfect, but perfect in every other way. She then made her way down and to her kill that she had stashed in a nearby Purple Pod Cluster Leaf. We soon found out why she had not lost it over night, I'm surprised she could even relocate it. Leaving her barely visible in her thicket, we made our way to a herd of Elephant that Chad had located, but again the Cluster Leaf thicket struck and we could not even locate these giant grey beasts.
Being soaked through to the bone and the rain still falling, I headed off to collect Jacky, who had eventually lost the tracks due to the inclement weather. He believed they were close but with no tracks to follow, they would be walking around blindly through the bush hoping to bump into them, not exactly safe. Rather leaving it to the afternoon drive we set off back to Motswari, hoping the weather would improve by then and that the Lions would move subsequent to the rain, leaving us with something to follow up on.
The weather had improved considerably by afternoon drive and it looked like we would remain dry, maybe even get a golden sunset. We decided not to follow up on the White Lions as it was a long way to go and Will and Leanne, and the Kings team were following up, they would let us know of any developments. Chad was heading West wanting to follow up on both Lion and Rhino tracks that were found earlier in the day. Jacky and myself were checking the Central section looking for Elephant. Hearing Marka announce he was setting off on drive for Java, Chad asked him his afternoon plans, to which he responded that he felt there where male Lions in the North, perhaps Maghlatini's, that he was going to find. Leaving him to his optimistic thoughts we all went about our respective targets. It was Marka that came on the radio first, announcing he had found a Kambaku, hmm........., he appeared to be fore fulling our wishes, well at least mine.
I set off in the Elephants direction but shortly before reaching him, Marka once again announced on the radio that he had now found the two Jacaranda Male Lions, ah......... Chad's wish fulfilled too. Leaving our Elephant for later we headed to the two males, as they are notorious for becoming mobile at any time and usually through some very thick vegetation. On this occasion they were pretty well behaved, even the one skittish male did not run for cover, given his space. Between Chad and I, we spent a large majority of the afternoon with them while they went about different activities. Curiosity got the better of Chad and he had to ask Marka how he knew about the Lions? To which Marka replied, “ my ancestors told me!” With no come back, Chad could only respond by thanking Marka's ancestors and asking him to speak to them more often.
All three of us spent the rest of the afternoon in the North not finding much else, but we did however get to enjoy a beautiful sunset. At the end of the day The White Lions were not located, but at least we know they are in the area and have somewhere to start tomorrow.