Friday, 22 April 2011

21st April – I Hate it When the Weather-man is Right!

Photo of the Day
Mahlathini male drinking at Lily Pan
Morning Drive
(Godfrey and Herald)
3 x lions (Mahlathini males) – Peru, Lily Pan Rd
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Lily Pan
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Motswari, Wedge
6 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Sean’s Clearing
4 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Mpisi Khaya Rd

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Godfrey and Herald)
3 x lions (Mahlathini males) – Peru, Lily Pan
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Ndlopfu Access
2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Reception Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Mahlolwa Clearing Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Ingwelala Crossing

Daily Synopsis
Thursday started off as a wonderful warm and sunny day, but sadly the weather man’s predictions that we were almost certain to get rain in the afternoon came true; about 15 minutes before we were about to leave!
I wasn’t out in the morning, well, not with guests anyway!  I did go out with Petros to try and help find some leopards in the north but came up empty handed on that front – the two of us did see impala, kudu, a hyena being chased by a warthog, a spot where hyenas had killed and eaten something (good nose Petros!!!), hippos and some elephants.  Herald and Godfrey continued searching for leopards but didn’t have any luck wither.  Herald did still have a good morning and got to see the Mahlathini male lions that had walked surprisingly far – almost 10km from where they were last night!  He also found two herds of buffalo and some elephant bulls.  Marka, who is driving at Java this week, found tracks for two male lions on Double Highway and got permission from Kings to follow up into their property and it didn’t take him long to locate on the two Timbavati males!  It’s great to see them venturing to the north again!
I again joined in the afternoon to take out some more Ingwelala guests, and had been looking forward to it until I woke up from my afternoon nap and saw the sky – rain was inevitable!  We still braved it, ponchos and all, and started off with 2 buffalo bulls 50m from reception.  They went and drank at Trade Entrance Pan.

Buffalo bulls at Trade Entrance Pan
The rain continued to fall as we ticked off impala, warthogs and waterbuck.  We stopped at Vyeboom Dam and enjoyed the the rain!  Then my vehicle was battling to the rain.  We got it going again and had organised for a replacement vehicle to come and meet us, but it was so miserable that the guests decided we should just go back to camp.  As we were leaving the dam we found a couple of elephant bulls and watched them for a while, then the rain stopped, they relocated the lions, and without much persuasion I convinced the guests to stay out and we headed towards Lily Pan.  En route we did a detour past Voel Dam and caught the back end of a large herd of buffalo heading off into the Klaserie as well as many impalas and some baboons.
Probably the worst buffalo picture i have ever take, hahaha!
We left the buffalo after only a couple of minutes as the lions had woken up and were heading towards Lily Pan, and we arrived just in time to watch them coming over the dam wall and coming down to the water to drink!

Mahlathini males at Lily Pan
All three lions then lazed about near the water’s edge and playfully rolled on top of one another, moving a few metres every few minutes.  We eventually left them after dark and slowly headed back to camp.  The rain started spitting again, but we had a fair drive home none-the-less; a small herd of elephants, a couple of chameleons, by-passed impalas and waterbuck, and best of all was the most relaxed hippo I have ever seen outside of the water feeding around Peru Dam!  Normally they just run off, but this guy paid no attention to us and fed around about 20m from the Land Rover!

Not enjoying the rain either!
Despite being a good day, we are starting to get desperate for some leopards and rhinos!  Let’s wait and see what tomorrow brings!
Hope that you all have a fantastic Good Friday tomorrowm, and enjoy your Easter Weekend!

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