Friday, 4 March 2011

3rd March: Trends, and Going to the Dogs!

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Johannes & Grant)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / DeLuca – Drongo Drive.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Vielmieter – Western Cutline.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Kings – Van Wyks Crossing.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Argyle – Long Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Kings – Double Highway.
Wild Dog ( 8 x Pack) / Kings – Van Wyks Crossing.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Wisani Trough.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari Wedge.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Karans – Old Closed Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Borneo – KNP Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Kruger – KNP Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Borneo – Managa Cutline.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Crossing below Motswari Dam.

Daily Synopsis.

Johannes and I both started our morning looking around Motswari for the Leopard that had walked through camp during the wee hours of the morning, leaving her tracks at reception as a teaser. Jacky and I headed to the West but came up with nothing, while Johannes headed to the East and found the tracks, they don't call him the Leopard Man for nothing. He followed them to the North East where he eventually lost them in some very difficult terrain. Not deterred he then began following up on tracks for a herd of Buffalo he had stumbled across. We left him to it, knowing it would not be long before we heard his ever familiar voice announcing his find!

Shortly before taking coffee, two hours later, Johannes contacted me to let me know he had found the herd, must have been pretty rough going. We had slowly drifted further and further South due to the lack of animal activity in the North, and had taken coffee in the hope that our luck would change thereafter. Up until then we had seen a nice group of Hippo, some very skittish Kudu, two Duiker's and a Steenbok!  

It was during break that our luck would change, as we received news they had found Wild Dog in the South and we were invited to go view them. Being some way away and running out of time, we would have to make our way directly there. I mentioned to Jacky that I bet the animals come out of hiding now, which they promptly did, hindering our travels. We first found a lone Buffalo Bull, followed by a relaxed troop of Baboons, which is a rare thing in these parts, a beautiful herd of Elephant, with week old babies, and then shortly before getting to the sighting, a breeding herd of Buffalo, crossing a riverbed. This is not to mention the fresh Leopard tracks we passed in between them all. It begs me to ask, where had they all been earlier in the morning!

Driving up a riverbed we found the Wild Dogs resting on the sand in the shadows cast from the large trees on the bank. While sitting with them they appeared rather restless and something was bugging them off to the East, as they were always looking in that direction and constantly shifting positions. Eventually something triggered them to all quickly stand and start off at a gentle jog along the riverbed, it could have had something to do with the alarm snorts of the Impala on the Eastern bank.  

Rounding the corner they surprised two Buffalo drinking from a pool of water in the river bend, the Buffalo initially scattered triggering brief interest on the Dogs behalf, but this was short lived when the Buffalo turned to face their adversaries.

There were also two Giraffe in the background that the Wild Dogs glanced at briefly before turning there attention to the pool of water.

Being some distance back we could not see properly but they appeared to be very apprehensive about approaching the water and gave it a wide berth, while constantly keeping an eye on it. As we got closer we could see why, there in the middle were the distinctive round nostrils of a Hippo trying to hide below the surface of the small pond.

Notice the Nostrils, Bottom Right!

There was also a small crocodile present that would have added to the apprehension. The Dogs eventually took shelter in the shade of the riverbank not far from the water while they made a decision.

Not feeling comfortable with what lurked beneath and their proximity to it, they for went drinking and carried on along the riverbeds course.  

Having had an excellent sighting of the Wild Dogs, Buffalo, Giraffe, Hippo and Crocodile together, we decided to let them go their way, while we made ours back for breakfast.

Taking a break from specifically looking for the “Big Five”, we headed into the more remote area's to appreciate the wilderness of the area. Not running into any other vehicles and not using the radio we found ourselves immersed in our surroundings. The afternoon was very relaxing and we filled in the gaps on the herbivore front for a change, with nice sightings of Zebra, Giraffe, Impala, Kudu, Steenbok, Duiker and Warthog. While driving the entire length of our Kruger boundary to the South, we consistantly bumbed into Elephant herds, of various sizes and composition, so much so, it appeared they were on a mass migration North. After a beautiful sunset at one of the pans, we ourselves headed back North. We did not see much after sundown, except one of our Hyena's from the Xinatsi Clan, with her belly full she seemed quite content in resting on the airstrip near camp.

Tomorrow morning it will be back to looking for Leopard, as it is the only member missing from my current guests wish list.


  1. Thanks for the update Grant.
    Been away for a while, caught up with the drives just now, and still no sign of the white lions?
    Love you wild dog pictures.


  2. Great pictures of the wild dogs in action, and the hippos!