|Pic of the Day.|
( Herald, Grant, Marka & Giyani)
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Karans – Karans Southern Access.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Peru – Woza Woza Cutline.
Lion ( Maghlatini Males) / Peru – Enkombi Rd.
Leopard ( Shongile) / DeLuca – DeLuca/ Luttig Cutline.
( Herald, Grant, Marka & Chad)
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Motswari – Timbavati/ Umbabat Cutline.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Karans – Aardvark Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Long Rd North.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Mbali – Mvubu Crossing.
Lion ( Maghlatini Males) / Peru – Enkombi Rd.
Leopard ( Ntombi) / Java – Buffalo Kill.
Running through the above sightings list you will still notice the lack, or admittance, of Rhino, so yes, our struggle continues. This is not through the lack of trying, after spending the last two days scouring the Western sectors we decided to change tactic and head to the East this morning.
The stations that headed to the West picked up on the tracks for the Maghlatini Males, who had obviously been lured back by the Buffalo Herd that had crossed from the North back into our traversing area. So while Giyani helped follow up on them we set off to the lands lest travelled hoping to get lucky with a two horned, grey, jurassic looking, Kruger visitor.
Our morning turned out to be very quite with us travelling areas where not even radio signal extends. Not having been to the majority of the places Jacky took us, it was a pleasant change and there are some very beautiful spots hidden away in the South East corner of our traversing. What would have made them perfect though was if a Rhino was present, unfortunately it was not to be, but there were frequent signs of tracks and middens proving they did frequent the area and our searching the area was not unfounded.
Where we failed in the East, Giyani did not in the West, with him finding the three Maghlatini Males. They appeared to have been following the herd of Buffalo and at one stage had given chase but were unsuccessful in their attempt. They then appeared to have lost enthusiasm and headed off in a different direction to the herd, maybe still a little full after the Giraffe. Having had a very peaceful morning thus far we decided to pay them a visit, liven things up a little. Arriving at the sighting they apparently had not received the memo and were fast asleep in the shade of a Mopane thicket clearly drained from the nights activities. So we kept in theme and watched as they peacefully slept.
Herald and Difference are starting to get themselves quite the reputation as our go to Leopard trackers, as they spent the morning following Shongile through some extremely tough areas to track, finally finding her minutes before she crossed out of our traversing area. I still don't know how they find as many Leopards as they do in the areas that they find them, all I can say though, is watch out Johannes, your Leopard Man title is under siege!
The afternoon would see Chad return to drive and Giyani take a break till tomorrow when he returns to his Java duties. Once again Rhino was high on everyone's priority but no one went out specifically looking for them, I think everyone has resigned themselves to, “ if it's meant to be, it's meant to be!” Having new guests Chad and Herald stuck to the North where they had nice sightings of the Maghlatini Males and a Kambaku Herd to keep them busy.
Having had two relatively quite drives we were looking for something a little more active, so we spent our afternoon around the dams of the North before setting off South alongside the Tsharalumi River. It appeared to pay off as we picked up constant sightings of Hippo, Crocodile, Buffalo, Giraffe, Impala, Warthog, Kudu, Waterbuck and Nyala, not a bad afternoon if I may say so myself!
Shortly before taking Sundowners we received a message from Giyani that he had found us a Leopard, not bad considering he wasn't even on drive. He had found a young relaxed female while dropping off staff at Java, this was extremely bizarre as the last relaxed female Leopard we had that frequented that area was Nkateko, who had vacated the area over a year ago and is now to be found in the Southern Timbavati around Ngala. Could she have returned? The more time Giyani spent with her and from his description it sounded quite plausible. She was of the right size, the right nature and had the same spot pattern, 2:2. Making sure it was not Rockfig Jnr or Thumbela, as their territories overlapped with Nkateko, we would have to go and see for ourselves.
Getting into the sighting was tricky as she was constantly moving through some very rough terrain but appeared not to be bothered by the vehicles at all. She was of the right size, and after struggling to get a facial view we could confirm it was a 2:2 spot pattern same as Nkateko, hmm....................... Everyone saying it was her, and wanting nothing more than it to be her, we too got caught up in the moment, specially when she walked right beside the car without a care. Even Chad tried to get down to id her, but unfortunately he only got to see the back of her as she disappeared into a thickly vegetated drainage line.
It was only while driving back on a high from the return of a long lost friend that Herald began to question the likelihood. From tracks reported earlier in the afternoon Herald started to put the pieces together, and finally solved the puzzle to who it was. He now believed it to be Ntombi and after explaining why, he had a strong case. This did not stop me from consulting my pictures, so wanting Herald to be wrong, but quickly found out, as usual, he was right! What a disappointment, not to offend Ntombi, but it felt like we had lost Nkateko all over again! What Herald did not answer though, was why has Ntombi pushed so far to the North East, there has never been a sighting of her here before, well at least one that we know of. It does explain why she was so mobile and not marking though, she was a long way from her territory!
Marka and myself are not driving tomorrow as our group is off on a day trip but we will be back on Thursday. Chad will be taking over the blog the next couple of days as I will be heading on leave after our group checks out on Saturday, so it all works out rather well. Hope you have enjoyed the last week and I hope Chad has as many adventures and great sightings as we have. Till next week, ciao!