Wednesday, 2 March 2011

1st March: Something Special!

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Herald, Elliot, Johannes, Chad & Grant)

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Rhino ( Shangula)
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Vyeboom Dam.
Lion ( Mahlatini Males) / Peru – Long Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Argyle – Crossing Below Argyle Dam.

Afternoon Drive.

( Elliot and Johannes)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Sohobele Dam.
Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.

Daily Synopsis.

Leaving Motswari we headed straight to the airstrip to check on our dead Impala, hoping the many Hyena's around camp had not discovered it and that a Leopard was present. Apprehensively approaching we were in luck, as there before us sat a Leopard, but not just any Leopard, it was Kuhanya our resident female. Obviously the day before she was off drinking water, or possibly taking a nap in the surrounding bushes, only returning to feed after dark. She had eaten a fair amount but there was still plenty left over and should she not loose it to hyena's, she should be there for the next couple of days. Here's hoping!

While spending time with her we received news that Rhino tracks were once again found in the West, around Voel Dam, a little further to the North than the previous day. Intending to head in that direction for just that reason, we responded that we would accelerate our arrival to give a hand following up, but whilst making our way there, they located two Rhino's. Once again they were skittish and started to leg it for the boundary in the West, given their position and ours, we would never make it in time. We then received news that they had lost visual, from bad to worse! Optimistically trying to relocate, Herald bumped into Shangula, one of our very relaxed male Rhino's. He must have been following the other two, which would have been a female and her calf, as we often find them together. Hearing that he was static we no longer needed to rush and arrived to find him surveying a Mopane thicket for a suitable place to rest, which he promptly found and settled in for his mornings nap.

Having found what we were after, the rest of the mornings drive was to be all bonus! At the time we didn't realise how big that bonus would be, both in magnitude and multitude. First off we had a great experience with a herd of Elephant at Vyeboom Dam. They were climbing out the water after their morning swim when we arrived and then proceeded to walk below the dam wall. Not being able to access the area with our Land Rover we decided to go on foot and walk across the dam wall from the opposite bank, this would place us in a great position above them. With the wind blowing in our favour we were able to approach close without unsettling them, and they went about their feeding paying us no attention. As they moved off down the riverbed we marvelled at the experience of being so close to the world's largest, yet seemingly gentle, land mammal!

Returning to the vehicle, we headed in their direction not quite yet ready to end the experience. We pulled up a short way away from them to watch them feed and interact amongst one another. While sitting there they changed their direction and headed straight towards us. Having been aware of our presence for some time now, and realising we held no threat what-so-ever, they enveloped the car pausing to feed on the reeds that surrounded us mere metres away. They finally moved off at the instigation of the matriarch who had now made her way to within two metres of Jacky sitting on the front of the vehicle. This distance was further reduced when she reached out with her trunk and gave him a once over smelling, ever the cool cucumber Jacky sat motionless. Satisfied with the foreign scents she smelt, she gracefully moved on past us to lead the herd off and out of the riverbed. We all sat in silence savouring the moment we had just been privileged to experience.

Eventually making our way out of the riverbed ourselves we headed in the direction of home. We had one last stop along the way though, and that was to visit the Mahlatini Males who had been found earlier in the morning. They have been slowly making their way North over the last couple of days and where to be found resting in amongst some reeds today, well at least some things haven't changed! We were however able to make an access that did allow us a partial view of them.

 Stopping for a quick coffee at the picturesque Lovers Leap before heading back to camp, we were well satisfied with our four out of five for a morning in the North! Johannes, Chad and Elliot took it one better and found Buffalo along the Sohobele River not far from camp too make it a “ Big Five” morning for themselves!

Not receiving new guests until tomorrow afternoon, there will only be the sightings report for this afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. A great update, and sightings Grant thanks. Love the photos of all the Elephants, especialy the little ones. Its great that they were so calm, and placid Jacky must have nerves of steel. I was watching a live Game Drive on our Forum yesterday morning, and a Bull Elephant in heavy must, charged the back of the Jeep, it really put the wind up the lady who was on the back filming, it blew dust, and twigs at her from its trunk. The Guide said that he could tell it was a mock charge as it had its ears out wide, and the trunk was waving in the air. Apparently if it was a real charge Elephants put their trunks between their legs, and the ears flatten to the sides. Me I would'nt be waiting to see where the ears, and trunk where, I'd be off He He