Sunday, 5 June 2011

04th June: Mission Complete.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Marka & Grant.)

Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Hippo Rocky Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Martin's Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant & Chad.)

Leopard ( Argyle Jnr female) / Peru - Concrete Crossing
Elephant ( 2 x bulls) / Peru - Voel Dam
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Rudi's Rd.
Rhino ( 2 x Females & Calf, plus Shangula) / Peru – Goya Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Argyle –

Daily Synopsis.

So the winds appeared to have changed with us now experiencing a quiet morning drive. Both myself and Marka were out to find either a breeding herd of Buffalo or Rhino, and if we were really lucky both.

Our morning we started by heading North following the Sohobele River, in hindsight not such a wise decision as it was cold as......... I guess if we had seen things we may have not noticed it as much. Not having any lucky we turned our attention to the South West where we did find fresh tracks for a female Leopard. Given the area and the track it could possibly be Mbali but we did not follow up to find out as our group has seen five different Leopards in the last three days. So with Rhino and Buffalo in our sights we continued on our quest. Once again where there had been Rhino the night before there were only tracks from their presence but nothing fresh that we could follow up on.

Our luck did change later in the morning though as a very large breeding herd of Buffalo was found in the South West corner of our traversing area so after a warming cup of coffee overlooking Makulu Dam we headed in their direction. The area that we found them in was pretty thickly vegetated and we could only see small kinship groups so we continued through until we eventually found an open area that we could get an idea of the herd, but from the distance we travelled and the number we had and could see the herd was pretty substantial. In our clearing we spent some time watching the herd as they went about feeding, grooming and socialising. With a herd this size there is always the chance of seeing Yellow-Billed Oxpeckers but having kept an eye out for them our luck seemed only to extend to having found the Buffalo.

Our trip back North and back to camp was to be a quiet one, so we decided to pop in at Sohobele Dam, may get lucky with drinking Elephants or Hippo's, the Aquatic Rhino. On approaching the dam we found a few Hippo's sun bathing on a small island, clearly they to were feeling the mornings chill.

Leaving them we headed back to Motswari, early for a change. Lets see if our afternoon is a busy one.

We were unsure of where to look on our afternoon drive and finally decided on a trip past Argyle Dam and then to follow the Tsharalumi River as it winds its way South. It's always a good drive for Elephant and general game and you constantly pick up things along the way. It started off well with us finding a breeding herd of Elephant very near to the river that seemed to grow in size as we spent more time with them, eventually there must have been around twenty five gentle giants with some very young calves. As we were undecided about our afternoon, we thought why not spend some quality time with the herd, as they were very relaxed with our presence and were in a nice area, we may even get lucky and catch them heading for a drink at the nearby river. Our patience paid off and they eventually did make their way to the water, it was shortly before they had finished that we received news that four Rhino's had been found not far South of us, on our intended route.

Having spent the last four drives looking specifically for Rhino we could not pass up on the opportunity. So as sad as we were to leave the Elephant we had had a great sighting with them and left them to go about their business.

Heading to the Rhino we chose a couple of wrong roads but eventually made our way into the sighting. It appeared our delay had worked in our favour as all four came together in a semi clearing and allowed us to approach within a reasonable distance. Shangula is always relaxed but the two females and calf are a little skittish, but having said that they are getting better and we could see an improvement from the last time we saw them. Hopefully in the not to distant future they become totally relaxed around the vehicle, maybe when the calf is a little older. We did however have a nice sighting of them and thus brought an end to our Rhino quest with time to spare.

With fading light we took a late sundowner and then set about looking for Leopard in the North after our drinks. We had no actual luck with a physical Leopard but we did find a fresh drag mark of what looks like a male Impala and nearer to camp a young Kudu sleeping in a tree, both of which we will follow up in the morning.

Chad had himself a very relaxed drive and saw pretty much what we had but went a little further and found himself an actual Leopard as opposed to our signs of a Leopards presence. Not taking anything away from his find, we can credit ourselves in that we had informed him about our suspicions that Mbali was to be found around S-bend from the tracks we had in the morning. We were wrong though as Chad found Argyle Jnr Female on S-bend having just lost her large Impala kill to Hyena, seems to be the norm at the mo. So Mr Chad, it's not you, you can now stop worrying and get out there and find us predators, NO MORE EXCUSES!

1 comment:

  1. Such brilliant photographs - all of this makes me so wish to be back in Africa. Permanently!