Sunday, 22 May 2011

21st May – Close, but no Cigar...or Wild Dogs!

Photo of the Day
Machaton Cub
Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant, Johannes and Herald)
7 x lions (Machaton Pride – 3 x females and 4 x cubs) – Kings, Little Kariba
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Argyle, Oppie Koppie Rd
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Java, Western Cutline
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Jaydee, Jumbo Drive
4 x buffalo bulls – Jaydee, Jumbo Drive
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Motswari, Airstrip
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Motswari, Sean’s Clearing
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Vielmetter, Jiga-Jiga Rd
1 x elephant bull – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Southern Access

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Johannes and Herald)
7 x lions (Machaton Pride – 3 x females and 4 x cubs) – Kings, Little Ridge
1 x rhino (unknown skittish male)
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Java, Java Dam
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Mbali, Aardvark Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Mbali, Aardvark Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Motswari, Wisani Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Piva Plains
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Sohebele Dam
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Trade Entrance

Daily Synopsis
Saturday was another typical winter’s day – cold morning, but warmed nicely to create another great day in the bush!  The only atypical thing is the fact that our bush is still so unbelievably green!  I cant believe that we are almost in June, and there is barely a shade of brown in the bush – from guests that have just arrived after visiting a couple of private reserves to the south of the Timbavati, we are noticeably greener than they are!  That definitely makes a change, and I am sure that the herbivores are going to have a very easy winter.
Speaking of which, I seemed to return to my “herbivore only” ways during the morning drive.  It was a bit of a frustrating morning, with a couple of “close, but no cigar” moments.  All started well with a small breeding herd of elephants on the morning as the sun rose over the vastness of the Timbavati.

Elephant herd on the airstrip
I then headed over to Vyeboom Dam, picking the wrong road en route, as a breeding herd of buffalo was found just south of where I had earlier driven and Grant went to see them.  I decided not to change from my plan of checking to the west for rhino, adamant to prove that I could force myself to drive in my least favourite area of the reserve after the stick I got from Grant and Herald.
After a nice bit of time spent enjoying the scenery around Vyeboom Dam, mist rising over the water and all, I headed to the west and soon realised why I don’t drive there too often!

Hippos and beautiful scenes at Vyeboom Dam
I will put it down to the cool morning, but it didn’t seem like the worst decision, as the pack of wild dogs was found near our south-western corner, and King’s had extended us an invitation to go and see them...which was my intention until the wild dogs were unfortunately lost in some tricky terrain.
We were in the south, and enjoyed sightings of zebra, giraffe, impala, nyala and an elephant bull.  Heading back to the north past Makulu Dam, we ticked off more giraffe, impala, waterbuck, crocodiles and hippos.

Guineafowl; Giraffe and Zebra
Grant, Johannes and Herald had better mornings, all seeing breeding herds of buffalo, breeding herds of elephant, as well as the Machaton lionesses with their four older cubs.
In the afternoon, I was the one needing to do some “catching up”, and thankfully I did just that!  The afternoon saw us finding the usual impalas, some elephant bulls at Sohebele Dam and another drinking along the Sohebele Riverbed, a herd of waterbuck, and some beautiful male kudus.

Elephant bulls and crocodile at Sohebele Dam and along the Sohebele Riverbed
I then headed down to Java Dam, and just missed a breeding herd of buffalo drinking at the dam, but made it to see the herd walking away from the dam. 

Buffalo herd at Java Dam
While I wanted to spend more time there, as well as enjoying the giraffe, monkeys, zebra, impala and breeding herd of elephants I found afterwards, I had one major mission, and that was to go and see the Machaton lions before dark. 

Giraffe and Monkeys
The seven lions had moved out of the Machaton River and onto Hyena Rd, so it turned out to be a pretty nice sighting of the lions lazing about in the open before eventually waking to groom and stretch before heading off on the nights hunt.

Machaton Pride
We left them and went to enjoy a drink, and then tried to see if the hyenas with their kudu kill were still on Scholtz, after Johannes had found the mud wallow where the hyenas had stashed it.  I arrived to find only the meat in the water, and no hyenas.  We turned off the lights to admire the spectacle of stars when I eventually heard a hyena moving about in the bush next to us, and a second on the other side. 
Hyena emerging from the darkness
With a bit of patience we waited until eventually the one hyenas got into the water and began feeding.  It was definitely worth the wait!

Hyena eating it's kudu kill
We headed back to camp and got to see a nice spotted eagle owl, which went well with the giant eagle owls that we had seen earlier in the day. 
So despite a relatively quiet morning, things turned around very nicely for me.  The other guys enjoyed very chilled afternoons filled with elephants, buffalo and some nice general game – Herald, Magic Herald, even found himself a rhino after making quick work of tracking it over some distance in the east...sadly though, it was a skittish one, but a rhino none the less, and he managed to view it on foot with his guests.
Another good day we would have to say...let us just wait and see what tomorrow can bring us!

1 comment:

  1. Great day Chad. Love the Hyena shots. Off course the lion shots are also great, and the buffalo (which for me is very difficult to photograph) is just stunning.

    Hope for a great day tomorrow!!!