Wednesday, 4 May 2011

03rd May: Groundhog Day.

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Grant & Chad)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari Northern Access.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Great North.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Wild West.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Enkombi Pan.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Peter Pan Access.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant & Chad)

Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam Rd West.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Mbali – Buffalo Kill.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / JayDee – Makulu Plains.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Vielmieter – Western Tsharalumi.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Illegal Crossing.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Peru Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Tchwala Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Western Tsharalumi.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Mvubu Crossing.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Buffalo Kill.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Wild Dog ( 7 x Pack) / Vielmieter – Western Tsharalumi.
Leopard ( Unknown Female & Cubs) / Java – Buffalo Kill.
Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.

Daily Synopsis.

Starting off in typical winter conditions, clear skies and freezing cold, we were hoping for a more productive day than the one before, unfortunately it took on nearly the exact same sequence. Nothing for the first two and a half hours followed by big game in the form of Elephant and Buffalo while making our way back to the lodge. There were however some subtle differences, today we didn't find tracks to run us around in circles and consume our time. There place was thankfully replaced by a number of good bird sightings and kept us occupied during the quite hours.

With myself and Chad having covered all the boundaries this morning I'm not to sure what our plan of attack will be this afternoon, going to have to leave it to the bush to answer!

Well I'm glad to say that the bush answered and more, not to sure where to start! Knowing we need not look for Lion, both Chad and I decided to stick to the water and check the dams and riverbeds as it had warmed up considerably. While Chad checked the Eastern side of Argyle and Sohobele Dam, we checked the Western banks. We then both had the same idea and headed to the Tsharalumi, again Chad checking on the East while we chose the Western side. It was not long before we picked up on a herd of Buffalo, this was shortly followed by a breeding herd of Elli in amongst another herd of Buffalo. It did not take rocket science to figure what our afternoon held in store for us. While we proceeded to find another three breeding herds of Elephant and one breeding herd of Buffalo, Chad seemed to be having a very quite time on the opposite bank.

It was while with one of our herds that we received a cryptic message that the Wild Dog had been located a little further South of our position, we needed no second invite. At the same time Chad called in a Leopard with a cub on a Impala kill, unbelievable, well that's what I thought! I chose to ignore him thinking he was up to mischief trying to delay me so he could pip me to the dogs, but it soon became apparent that he was not and while all of us rushed off to get a glimpse of the Wild Dogs before the sunset, he sat with two Leopards all to himself the whole afternoon, knowing Chad he was in heaven. A new female Leopard with a very relaxed young male cub, I can see a new infatuation blossoming!

We arrived at the Dogs as they approached a herd of Elephant, this became very interesting specially when they showed interest in a couple of young that the older Elephant had now circled for protection while the dogs began approaching. The mom and her young were not isolated for long as fellow herd members moved in to chase off the dogs, it was an unbelievable sighting and suddenly all the memories of the struggles of drive the last couple of days disappeared and I was once again reminded why I do what I do. It was something to watch as the Elephant protected one another and their energy was not only directed at the Dogs but anything else that moved in the area. As we were stationary we where ok but we watched as two other stations were chased off with Elephants in hot pursuit. With the sun setting and others responding we made way for the next station so they could enjoy the spectacle.

Our night was only to get better, after enjoying a braai out in the bush, we were on our way back to camp when we found Kuhanya on the Airstrip waiting to wish everyone a good night!

Consider the faith restored! Now to find those Lion in the morning.

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