Friday, 13 May 2011

12th May: The Garden Of Eden!

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Godfrey, Herald & Grant)

Wild Dog ( 8 x Pack) / Java – Back of Java.
Lion ( Machaton Females & 4 x Cubs) / Kings – Ridge Rd.
Leopard ( Ntombi & Cub) / Vielmieter – Bluethorn Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Java New Airstrip.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Motswari Northern Access.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Argyle Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Makulu Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Herald & Grant)

Cheetah ( 3 x Females) / DeLuca – Western Cutline.
Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.

Daily Synopsis.

Rising to a rather cool morn we once again had Leopard calling around camp. This time Godfrey followed up on the Leopard, which from the tracks he found looked like it could be Argyle Male. Herald headed South, once again trying to get to a herd of Buffalo that had eluded him the past few days, something always seemed to pop up and change his focus. We headed to the North, following up on a rumour that Lions had crossed from Ingwelala into our traversing area.

Needless to say it was just that, a rumour, as we found no tracks for Lion, old or fresh. We did however find tracks for Kuhanya and followed up for a short while, but the area we were tracking in is a very difficult region and even if we found her on foot, we would not be able to get in there with a vehicle. So cutting our losses we headed West to check the boundaries for any sign of a Rhino.

While Godfrey also had no luck with his tracks, Herald found himself his Buffalo. He then proceeded to head in a South Westerly direction, where he once again located on the Wild Dog, I don't know what magic he has but I want some of it! Chad I think I may have the answer to your problem, you need to drive more with Herald.

Changing our plans to have coffee and not being far, we responded. They were highly mobile in a particularly difficult area of Mopane shrub but the stations did well in keeping up with them and we joined shortly before they went to rest in amongst the trees. They all looked well fed and they must have caught something earlier in the morn. We were glad they had gone to ground and enjoyed a good sighting of them as the settled in for the days rest.

Having accomplished our mornings mission we slowly made our way back to the lodge.

Herald continued his journey South and responded to an invitation to visit the Machaton Females, who had picked up four of their cubs during the night. Godfrey took a chance and visited the sight of where Ntombi had her kill. The sight had been visited earlier but all that was to be found was the Impala up in a Maroela Tree with a tawny Eagle feeding on it, with two Hyena's waiting below in anticipation. There were tracks for the two Leopards heading out of the area, they may have been disturbed by the Dogs. Anyway, Godfrey must also have access to magic because when he popped in they were back.

Chad I suggest you don't read what follows.

Afternoon drive started with new guests joining Herald and myself, so we had pretty much decided that we would head to the Wild Dogs, then on to Ntombi and her cub with their Impala kill, and if we found the large herd of Elephant that was in the area it would be the cherry on top! All planned and laid out, we were in for a great afternoon.

No sooner had we left camp I received a message from our neighbour asking me if I would like to see something very special. Interest peaked I replied I would, to which he answered that I must make my way across to his property, he had three Cheetah for us. I heard him the first time but had him repeat it as my brain did not believe what I was hearing, Cheetah! There would have to be a change to the plan, which subconsciously I had already made as we found ourselves already heading in his direction. Contacting Herald he too found himself following behind us. From the description given they were not that relaxed and were to be found in a very tricky area to try keep up with and follow. Arriving at the area it took us nearly ten minutes to find a way into the thick Mopane belt where the Cheetah had gone to rest. Eventually making our way in we got our first glimpse of the three of them lying in amongst the trees. It's an extremely special sighting even if we could only see a couple of spots and a tail here and there. We manoeuvred our way into a position where we could get a good view but as we settled they decided to get mobile once again. Following them was an adventure in itself and we kept our distance hoping they would find an open area to settle in, which they did on a number of occasions but never stayed for that long. We did however get a great view of them and at one point they approached and walked passed the side of the vehicle.  

They appear to be the three adolescent females we had in the area a couple of months ago and are not that perturbed by the vehicles. Naturally the sighting had generated a lot of interest, having had a good sighting we made way for the next station.

If this was not enough, during our little adventure, I received a message from Dave that a Leopard had been seen in camp. Herald and I once again turned around and headed back to where we had just come from to try and relocate. We first checked on the Eastern side of camp, while Herald checked the North. Finding nothing we headed to the West to check on the airstrip, driving the strip twice we could hear the birds and squirrels going crazy but there was nothing to be found. We drove the strip once more for good measure but then started to head off to Argyle Dam to take drinks. Shortly before reaching the dam, Herald contacted me wanting to know if I wanted to see a Leopard, naturally I said yes and where? To which he told me to come to the airstrip, funny that, Kuhanya was making her way to the North. We arrived as she made her way into the Sohobele riverbed and followed her as she slowly went about smelling and marking her territory. It was good to see both Cheetah and Leopard within so short a time as it illustrated the differences very nicely.

With the sun setting and having a had a great sighting we once again headed off to have sundowners at Argyle Dam and reminisce about our afternoon, even though it didn't go to plan!  

1 comment:

  1. amazing....well done guys....sure it will be fine if i take an extra few days leave then?