Friday, 15 July 2011

14th July: Here One Day, Gone The Next.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant.)

Buffalo ( 3 x Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Reception Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

(Grant & Chad.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Double Highway.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Java Mabi Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

Waking to a beautiful clear day, the bush freshly washed and a wispy mist smothering the low lying areas we anticipated great things from the morning drive. It got off to a good start with us finding three Dagha Boys less than fifty metres from camp, they looked all that little bit meaner given their misty surroundings. Respecting their space we continued on to the airstrip where we found a number of vultures that had collected in the area of the dead Kudu that we had seen the day before with all the Hyena's. We once again decided to visit the sight and check on the progress of things, plus Hyena's are great animals to watch and hold a high entertainment value. We were once again not disappointed and found a number of the Xinatsi Clan members feeding off the remains watched closely by a group of Vultures waiting patiently for their turn.

Getting our fill we decided to head to the East and follow up on the White Lions, who had been in that area the day before. Driving along the Kruger Cutline we found their tracks from the previous day, it appeared they had walked before the rain and crossed our boundary in a South Easterly direction into Kruger. It would appear these days that they only visit us for a day or two before moving on, kind of a courtesy visit to let us know they are all well.

We continued further South down the boundary just to make sure they had not changed their mind but unfortunately not. Our morning then took on more of a flora than fauna drive, with us finding very little else until ,as Murphy's Law would have it, we picked up tracks for a herd of Buffalo from the day before but onto of these were fresh tracks from the morning for two male Lions, more than likely the Sohobele Males. Running out of time we followed up as far as possible but the luck of the Irish was not to appear and we had to abandon our adventure due to the lack of time. Least we have a starting point this afternoon.

The Lion tracks we found in the morning provided the perfect opportunity for the senior trackers to share their skills with their fellow trackers and guides. After brunch we put together the entire team of guides and trackers and set off on an educational. Unfortunately I was not able to join as they spent the entire afternoon following up. I think the guys gained a lot from the exercise and a new appreciation for the art of tracking judging from the comments they passed on returning, such as: “ I don't even walk as fast as they track and walk,” and, “ I learnt that they can see things where there is nothing to be seen.” They followed the tracks for a long way as they headed South, during this time they discovered that it was more than likely not the Sohobele Males they were following but rather the Mafikizolo Pride, our new skittish pride. They found where they had chased Zebra and after being unsuccessful they turned their attention to a Dagha Boy but there to they were unsuccessful. Once again running out of time the guys had to return to the lodge to prepare for the afternoon drive.

Knowing the Lions were in the area we headed South for our afternoon drive hoping to get lucky and bump them once they got mobile after dark. Waiting for darkness to descend we “jiggered” around in the South taking in what ever was on offer, which truth be told was very little. Shortly before sunset however we did have a great encounter with a very placid breeding herd of Elephant. They allowed us to join them as they slowly fed, eventually the whole herd enveloped the vehicle and we sat mere metres from them without them even giving us a second glance. After sundowners we headed into the area where we had had the last tracks hoping to get lucky. Criss crossing the area and checking all the likely and unlikely spots that they might be this pride once again had got the better of us.

Having received new guests and the fact that they were keen on Leopard, Chad chose to remain in the North for his afternoon. By the sounds of things he too did not have any fireworks but had himself a very chilled and relaxed afternoon filled with general game and a couple of the not so general goodies, such as Nyala & Baboon, the highlight being a Melanistic Gabar Goshawk sitting alongside a normal one. His sundowner spot at Mbali Dam is a hard one to beat, where you have the sun setting over an openish plain to the West and a nearly full moon rising over the ridge to the East, all the while the resident Hippo's grunting and groaning in anticipation of their nights feeding ahead.

With Herald back on drive tomorrow lets see if he returns with his magic and our cats!

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