Photo of the Day
|Thumbela; living up to her name at Hide Dam (gotta love those eyes!!!)|
1 x leopard (Thumbela female) – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Link
1 x elephant bull – Kings, Little Ridg
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam
2 x buffalo bulls – Jaydee, Tamboti Pan
1 x elephant bull – Kings, Leisha’s Link
1 x elephant bull – Kings, Hyena Rd
Seeing as the north had been a bit quiet yesterday, I decided to head to the south, not only for a change of scenery, but also hoping for a change of fortune!
I started out by checking a bit of the eastern sections for any lions or buffalo, but came up without much to speak of on the mammal front besides the usual impala and a few nice birds like a Martial Eagle and a family of Southern Ground Hornbills (we actually saw 2 groups today – and I realised how fortunate we are when I read yesterday, on a lodge’s sightings report from a reserve further south, that they had a big section of their monthly report dedicated to their first sighting of the endangered ground hornbills in many, many years!).
Arriving in the south I once again filled with hope of finding something, but there seemed to be little about, until I approached Hide Dam and we spotted something a bit strange sleeping on the steps of the hide; it was Thumbela female leopard! Her name actually means ‘hide’ after her habit of going to sleep in the hide, but this was my first time to actually witness this for myself!
|Thumbela - our blue-eyed gal up in the hide at Hide Dam!|
We spent about 30 or 40 minutes watching her as she climbed up and down the stairs, stalked birds at the waterhole, and eventually returning to the steps of the hide before going inside and lying down to rest.
Thinking that was it for the sighting, I carried on to look for some buffalo, only to hear that minutrs later she climbed down the stairs and went and caught a Grey Go-away bird!
Despite feeling a bit bleak on missing that, we went and relocated a small breeding herd of buffalo south of elephant dam, and enjoyed some time watching them with the small, 2 day old babies amongst them.
|Breeding herd of buffalo with some very young calves|
Following that I went to see a large elephant bull eating some marula fruit nearby, but while watching him, I was informed of two white rhinos that had been found near the buffalo. I pulled in to join the station that was with them, and he told me they were static near a big marula, but they weren’t. They had moved, and the ranger had for some unknown reason failed to follow them! We tried relocating but had no luck, and it was getting late, so we had to return to the north.
|Elephant bull feeding on the ripening marulas|
In the afternoon, I decided to take it easy, and slowly follow the Nhlaralumi River down to the south. I started by checking the north for any sign of the leopard that was seen in the staff village in the morning, but had no luck.
There was some general game about; giraffe, waterbuck, hippo, warthogs, steenbok, nyala, bushbuck and some buffalo bulls sleeping in a waterhole near Makulu Dam. We also had an enjoyable sighting of some baboons, with the best part being when a large, dominant male climbed up a tree that sent the other baboons running...and flying off the tree!
|Baboons on Argyle Dam wall|
|Nyala bull in camp|
The herd of buffalo from the morning arrived to drink at Elephant Dam in the golden evening light, and provided for a good sighting with the babies and old bulls stealing the show.
|Buffalo herd at Elephant Dam|
After that I tried to pick up tracks for the rhinos, but had no luck there either; instead we found a lone elephant bull, again eating on marula fruits. There was a nice herd of giraffe, and then we stopped for a great sundowner drink with a large elephant bull feeding on the grass nearby!
|Sundowners with a friend!|
So it was a better day than yesterday, but we are still missing our lions! Some encouraging news was that the Xakubasa Pride (white lions) were seen for the first time in a long time, and on a property just a few kilometres north-west of our boundary; we are hoping that this means that they are coming home!
There are no guests in camp tomorrow night, but we will post an update of the morning drive at some point, and return to full reporting the next day!