Thursday, 28 April 2011

27th April: Putting Money Where My Mouth Is!

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Chad, Herald & Grant)

Cheetah ( Unknown Female) / Karans – Bottom Rd.
Wild Dog ( 7 x Pack) / Peru – Woza Woza Cutline.
Leopard ( Ntombela) / Vielmieter – Hide Dam Southern Access.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Western Cutline.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Peru – Francolin Pan.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Borneo – Borneo/ Scholtz Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Buffalo Kill.

Afternoon Drive.

( Chad, Grant & Marka)

Wild Dog ( 7 x Pack) / Peru – Woza Woza Cutline.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Sohobele Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Tchwala Rd.
Leopard ( Ntombela) / Vielmieter – Blue Waxbill.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Blue Waxbill.

Daily Synopsis.

( Apologies for the lack of pic's, Chad had a camera malfunction and I was snoozing.)

Hello all, its me Grant! I'm writing today's blog because Chad is sulking, something about not having as good a drive as myself!

Arriving at morning coffee I announced to all who were there, today was Dog Weather, and I again reiterated it to my guests before driving away from camp on morning drive. It was warm due to the cloud cover that had moved in during the night, insulating us and giving the morning a grey shaded start.

Some of us set off from camp looking for Kuhanya who had visited us at Motswari during the night, while others went in search of the Hyena we had calling shortly before departing on drive. Having checked the airstrip, we intended to travel to the West but were sidetracked by a herd of Zebra, being on a road that was heading East and hearing that there were a number of vehicles on the West we shied away from the croud's and changed plans and continued to the East, not to sure of what we were looking for, or what we would find.

Heading through an area of open plains I had mentioned to my guests that it was Cheetah country, but had never seen a Cheetah there before, actually it is usually very quit but is our go to place when in search of Zebra. On this occasion the area appeared empty and we were sitting with a flock of Ground Hornbills watching as they made their way through the grass feeding. I happened to look further down the road as something caught my eye on a termite mound about two hundred metres away, it had a very distinctive shape that I thought I must be seeing things. I mentioned it to Jacky but as he looked in it's direction it sat down, and he said he could see nothing, he must of thought I was going mad. I told him there was definitely something there and reached for my binoculars, being ill prepared I couldn't find them and after a brief scrounge decided to abandon the Ground Hornbills and head for the termite mound. On approaching the distinctive shape made itself apparent, unfortunately at high speed away from us, but there was no mistaking it, it was a Cheetah! Continuing slowly and giving it space and time, it settled and began walking, occasionally sitting while keeping a close eye on us. We continued to give it, its space, and as it approached another termite mound we were sure it would settle down on it as it provided it with cover and a great vantage point. Pre-empting it, we headed to the Southern side of the mound get ourselves in a great position, making the fatal mistake of losing visual contact for a brief moment. Rounding the mound she was nowhere to be seen, clearly she had been watching us more closely than we gave her credit for and had waited for this opportunity to disappear. We drove the entire area but with no joy, we did however finally find tracks for her South of where we had been, she was now heading back to the East towards Kruger, where she more than likely came from. As I had mentioned to my guests, you have to love the bush, you never know what you going to find.

While we spent a fair amount of time with our Cheetah adventure, others were having adventures of their own. Chad had found a dead Hyena not far from our airstrip, from the state of decay it must have occurred a couple days ago, least that explains the smell that has been lingering around in that area. He then proceededd to find a few live members of the Xinatsi Clan also not that far away, maybethat'ss what all the racket was about this morning.

In the South a breeding herd of Buffalo had been found, and no surprisee, behind it was Ntombela, once again stalking the youngcalf's.. This is after we found her yesterday first trying her luck with Buffalo and once being chased off she turned her attention to a herd of Giraffe, that she stalked and actually chased, sending them running in all directions. She really is one mischievous cat!

Both Chad and myself headed in her direction as we had guests that were yet to see Leopard. We arrived after Chad, but she was moving through a particularly difficult area and finally came to rest in a pretty inaccessible area, not offering us the greatest of views of this beautiful Leopard. It was while sitting with her that we received a message that they had, out of the blue, found a pack of seven Wild Dog in the North. Being very late in the morning should both Chad and myself respond we would be in big trouble with the kitchen. Lucky for us we are hated by them already so we could not damage our already tainted reputation, and responded without a second thought. Learning from our previous mistakes, we did on this occasion inform the kitchen that we would be delayed.

We arrived just as the dogs were seeking shade from the sun which had now burnt away the mornings clouds. As is usual we had a great sighting of them, firstly running about followed by them settling down to their afternoon rest. Not wanting to push our luck to far we did not spend that much time with them, just enough to get our fix!

Lets hope this afternoons drive is as fantastic as this morning, we wait and see, you never know!

Starting afternoon drive in somewhat warm conditions we decided to stick to the dams of the North in hope of finding Elephant and Buffalo. Coming up empty handed we turned our attention to following the Tsharalumi River as it winds its way South. Finding ourselves not far from the Wild Dog, who had slept off the day's heat in the same spot as we had left them in the morning, we popped in a visit, hoping to catch them as they became active and headed out on the hunt. Our timing was a little out and we arrived to sleeping dogs, only moving to reposition themselves out of the sun. Having had a good look we left them, and as is Murphy's Law, no sooner had we gone around the corner, they sat up and started to get mobile. Chad had waited a little longer and looked like his timing was to be perfect, but the risk you run with active dogs is that you loose them as they are so quick and head in all directions. This was to be the case with Chad, as they lost them shortly before he arrived, and as hard as they tried they were not able to relocate them before the sunset. Knowing Chad he will be out there first thing in the morning following up and he will have his dogs!

Our afternoon was quite on the “ Big Five” front but we did however find a nice variety of different species, the highlight being a very relaxed Sharpe's Grysbok. We also found ourselves a White Tailed Mongoose, which is rather a rarity, but as is always with there sightings you see them briefly before they turn and you watch their white tails disappear into the closest bush. Close to home we also found our elusive Hyena's from the morning taking a nap on the airstrip. No doubt charging their batteries before an eventful night.  

By the sounds of things Chad also had himself a rather quit drive, Marka on the other hand seemed to be in all the right places at all the right times. His highlight being watching Ntombela as she stalked yet another Buffalo Herd. Lets hope you grows out of this dangerous habit, quickly!

As you may of noticed, there has been a distinct lack of Lion sightings and I've not any seen since arriving back from leave on Sunday, so you can guess what is pretty high on the priority list for tomorrow, lets hope we can break the dry spell!

1 comment:

  1. Its wonderful to see cheetah in the area again. Would be wonderful if they moved in permanently.

    Enjoy the great drives.