Monday, 18 July 2011

17th July: No Guarantees.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Chad & Herald.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Xinkhovanin Rd. South
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Great North.
Elephant ( 4 x Kambaku's) / Argyle – Buffalo Pan.
Elephant ( 2 x Kambaku's) /
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Peru – Concrete Crossing.
Rhino ( 3 x Female & 1 x Male) / Peru – Wild West.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Chad & Herald.)

Buffalo ( 3 x Dagha Boys & 1 x Dagha Mphasi) / Argyle – Long Rd.
Buffalo ( 2 x Dagha Boys) /
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Peru – Concrete Crossing.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Umlani – Elephant Walk.
Lion ( Machaton Pride) / Umlani – Elephant Walk.
Elephant ( 3 x Kambaku's) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.

Daily Synopsis.

Morning drive brought on our last chance for Lion for both Chad's and my guests so the pressure was on. Chad headed to the East to see if he could have more luck than we had the previous evening. Herald and myself headed to the West, I wanted to fill in a couple of gaps whilst also looking for any signs of Lion, the biggest gap of them all. Hearing that a single Male Lion track was found and was not going to be followed up on, we headed directly into the area, was this to be our lucky break. This bubble was quickly burst, as on closer inspection of the track we found it to be a male Leopard. Recovering quickly from our disappointment we still had the better part of the morning to come right. We returned to our plan and headed of to Mbali Dam to go view the many Hippo's that have collected in the dam, at one stage we counted up to seventeen, this included a number of very young one's.

Whilst Chad was lost to the wilderness of the East, we received news that tracks for three lionesses were found not far from our position. Herald and Myself headed into the area to follow up. We first checked all the surrounding roads and found no other signs for the Lions moving out of the block, this was a positive sign and if we had not missed something it meant we were not far behind. Whilst searching the surrounding areas we also bumped into four relaxed Rhino's that allowed us to approach them while they went about their feeding.  

Running out of time we returned to our main objective and met Herald at the sight of the last tracks we had going into the block. While we took a coffee break, Herald, Jacky and Difference followed the tracks on foot into the block. Sitting there patiently time seemed to sneak by without any word from the trackers, that is never a good sign. Leaving it to the last possible moment I contacted them for a progress report at which time they confirmed my growing suspicions that they had no luck and would be returning to the car. The area that they were tracking in was very hard with a lot of stone, they had unfortunately lost the tracks and where not able to relocate them.

It is disappointing when you are not able to show your guests the “Big Five” but somehow it is always far worse when the one you miss, is Lion! Such is the way of the bush but I guess it wouldn't be called 'wildlife' if you found them every time.

Afternoon saw Chad, Petros, Jacky and myself team up to drive a group for the next two days. Having arrived from Kruger they have seen their fair share of game thus relieving the pressure of the “Big Five” that little bit, although they have not seen Leopard yet, so there is something that we can help them out with. They are also avid birders so that is also a nice change for us and something that will keep us busy when its quiet on the mammal front.

Hearing that the Machaton Pride had eventually been located in an area that we traverse by invitation, and having received an invitation, Herald headed to Umlani in the far South for his afternoon. Catching up with him at dinner that eve he told me that the pride had been following a herd of Buffalo which he could hear off in the distance while they sat with the pride in an open clearing. All of a sudden the three Lionesses stood and the one began running towards the car with a old Buffalo Bull in hot pursuit. Herald realising he was now between the Lion and Buffalo, with the Buffalo heading at him at full speed, he tried to start the car and move, but by the time the engine had fired the Buffalo was passing alongside him at approximately fifty five kilometres per hour, he knows this cause he was doing fifty six kilometres per hour. Backing his story his guests were only to happy to show us the photographic evidence, all very excited about their experience.

Back in the North Chad and I planned to meet at Voeldam for sundowners but because we were taking in everything along the way we only made it to half way to Buffalo Pan. Between us we picked up a couple of species the group had not yet seen the highlights being a Verroux's Eagle Owl, a Square Tailed Nightjar, a Spotted Thick-knee, Double Banded Sandgrouse and a pair of Twany Eagles.

We did not have as much luck on the mammal front, although Chad did find a couple of Bushbabies, also a new species for them. Heading back to camp after dark our Leopard had eluded us, maybe tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the leopards!!!
    Pity the lions did not come out to play, but you can't always have it all I guess :-)