Sunday, 19 June 2011

18th June: Reaching Our Stride!

Pic of the Day.
 Morning Drive.

( Herold, Grant & Marka.)

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Peru – Malonga Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Peru – Long Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / DeLuca – Timbavati / Umbabat Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Western Sohobele.
Lion ( 2 x Sohobele Males) / Peru – Broken Dam.

Afternoon Drive.

( Herold, Grant & Marka.)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Mphiva Plains.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Xincele Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Java Airstrip.
Rhino ( 2 x Females)
Rhino ( Male & Female)
Lions ( Skittish Pride) / Vielmieter – Vielmieter Trough.
Lions ( Sohobele Male's) / Peru – Western Cutline.
Leopard ( Ntombela) / Java – Java Airstrip.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Argyle Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

With Leopard calling in camp before setting off on drive we stood a good chance of finding our little spotted friend today! It's about time after spending the last two drives looking exclusively for one and having driven Motswari property flat!

With the three of us setting out and checking different routes from camp it should not have taken that long to find, but as time wore on concern was starting to creep in. Well actually I won't lie to you, it was more of a worry as not had we not found the physical Leopard but we had not even found a track to begin our search, it was if she had disappeared into thin air!

After the first hour the guys had pretty much resigned themselves from finding her and moved on. Not to be defeated we headed back to camp to check once more if we perhaps had missed something, lucky we did, as we had and we located tracks heading South from our soccer field. With renewed wind in our sails I contacted Herold to see if he would come back to help us, fortunately he was still in the area and made his way to begin the long process of catching up. With us rechecking the roads that we had already been on we found that she was moving steadily to the South. Herold and I met along the way where off to the South of us we could hear Tree Squirrels alarm calling. We were not far and we decide that Tiyani and Difference should check on foot while we continued to check the roads further to the South. While I checked along the Sohobele Riverbed to the South, Herold checked a diagonal road from the cutline and the riverbed. With the trackers feeding us constant updates on her direction it was not long before we found our prize, Kuhanya! We struggled to keep up with her through a particularly thick Mopane belt but holding on to her as she went about marking her territory we were reward as she broke out into the open and finally settled on a termite where she could survey her lands. Spending as much time with her as we could we eventually made way for other stations to enjoy the sighting. Just reward for driving around in circles most of the morning.

Finding our mornings mission we moved onto a bonus sighting of a large herd of Buffalo that we pretty much spent the remainder of our morning with. Stopping for a quick cuppa at Lovers Leap we headed back to camp for breakie. Along the way we found ourselves a nice breeding herd of Elephant to round off the near perfect morning.

So this afternoon we head out looking for Rhino with the pressure slowly alleviating.

Heading out we made our way directly to the South West in search of Rhino. Not having much light these winter afternoons we had to move quickly to get into an area that we had the best chance of finding Rhino. Along the way we did however have some very nice sightings of Lone Bull Elephant, that it would be a sin not to have spent some time with. There was also a fair amount of general game about with sightings of Nyala, Kudu, Duiker, Zebra and Steenbok.

While on our way we received news that the stations in the South had found two Rhino which we were invited to. With the sun sinking fast it was going to be a squeeze with three of us trying to in and out of the sighting before the sunset. Herold quickly came up with a solution to our problem by finding another two Rhino very close to a waterhole often frequented by Rhino in winter. This being closer and with no one else responding we headed in his direction. Arriving on sight we were pleasantly surprised to find to relaxedish Rhino and given their space they stood and put on a show for us. Having got a great sighting of the two of them we decided to take drinks at the nearby waterhole where we were joined by an inquisitive Hyena who spent the entire time circling us.

Drinks done we headed back North in search of Porcupine, this was semi successful, if you call the tips of the quills success. We timed our arrival at their den perfectly, unfortunately so did a couple of Bull Elephants and as the Porcupine popped his head out the burrow he decided we were all unwelcome visitors and hustled back inside. We waited a wee while but the Elephants also hung about feeding on the nearby vegetation.

It was not to be our night, but it would appear Herolds magic has returned, as after finding the Rhino he visited the skittish pride with the Buffalo kill, who was far more relaxed under the light and stuck around feeding. He then took drinks on Java Airstrip where he found Ntombela, well he thought it was her, as it was a very relaxed little Leopard who let them view her while she went about her business around Java camp. Then on their way home the guys bumped into a breeding herd of Buffalo that were being stalked by the two Sohobele Males, who appear to be following the herd picking off the younger ones, one by one.

I guess we have a lot to follow up in the morning.  


  1. ** sigh ** I need to get todabusch soon!
    Great to see a reptile in Pic of the Day - nice speciman too

  2. Lovely pictures of Kuhanya!! Any thoughts on where the 3rd Sohobele male is :(


  3. WOW, a very successful day Grant.
    Finally a good sighting of leopard, and as luck would have it, it is the beautiful Kuhanya.
    And to finish it off with some rhinos deserves a VERY WELL DONE!! Lovely elephant pictures.


  4. Porcupine? i am yet to see one of those on drive! maybe next time!

    what wonderful sightings! hope the great viewing continues!