Tuesday, 19 July 2011

18th July: Now We Talking.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Chad & Herald.)

Leopard ( Gijima Male) / Peru – Malonga Rd.
Leopard ( Rockfig Jnr) / Kings – Hyena Rd.
Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Sean's Clearing.
Lion ( Machaton Pride, 3 x Females & 9 x Cubs) / Kings - Rockfig Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Kings – Rockfig Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Kings – Hyena Rd.
Elephant ( 2 x Kambaku's) / Motswari – Tsharalumi Access.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Chad & Herald.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Back Of Java.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Giraffe Kill.
Rhino ( 2 x Males)
Leopard ( Gijima Male) / Peru Flooded Crossing.

Daily Synopsis.

Having not found our Leopard from the night before but hearing that Johannes bumped into Vyeboom Dam Male shortly before closing down, Chad and myself decided to spend some time in and around Motswari looking for one of our Northern Leopards. Jacky and I found tracks for a young male but did not spend to much time following it up as we believed that it was for Vyeboom Dam Male on his way to the area that Johannes had found him the previous evening. Chad also picked up tracks for a male Leopard but on hearing the alarm call of some nearby Impala he left the tracks to go investigate. He got lucky, well sort of, it was Gijima Male who is somewhat shy and on being disovered he steadily moved off into thicker and thicker terrain where Chad eventually lost him. While all of this was happening we spent some quality time with some Hyena who had gathered not far from camp. They went about greeting one another and then proceeded to burst out into their distinctive giggle shortly followed by their even more iconic whooping call. We were positioned well and had the sounds echoing all around us, a great experience.

Receiving news and an invitation from Kings Camp, that they had found Rockfig Jnr with a recently killed Impala, and the fact that our guests really wanted to see Leopard more than anything we decided to terminate our search in the North and head in their direction. All ready being late we would have to move quite steadily to the South and as is always in these circumstances everything would know appear. We spent a little time with Kudu, Warthog, Steenbok, Duiker, Sharpes Grysbok, Zebra and Elephant, we not going to mention the birds, well maybe the Ground Hornbills!

Finally arriving at the sighting we found Rockfig Jnr resting in the shade of some nearby bushes, we were rather fortunate as she still had her head up and was semi attentive. During our stay however sleep did win over and she dropped her head to rest. She killed a adolescent male Impala, and had fed from the stomach and hind quarters, which she now stashed under some nearby bush. Spending a fair amount of time with her we decided to head off as home was a long way away.  

Hearing that we were not far from a sighting of the Machaton Pride following a herd of Buffalo we decided a minor detour was in order, after all, it could be on our way home.

Not taking long to reach the sighting we found the pride resting in the road still on the trail of the Buffalo. With things warming up quickly though it looked like the three females and the nine cubs were going to give it a break and rest till things cooled off, try their luck a little later. Once again we were lucky, as they were still active and all heads up. With time having run out and being very late we turned North and headed home.

As fate would have it, Herald found Kuhanya within two kilometres from camp on his way home.

Our afternoon was all about the larger things, Chad and myself were after a nice breeding herd of Elephant. Herald was under pressure for Rhino so his afternoon was going to be spent in the West were the Rhino from Klaserie, our neighbouring reserve, come across the boundary to drink at our watering pans in the late afternoon or after dark.

Jacky and I headed to the central section of our traversing area and would travel North along the Tsharalumi River in search of our Elephant. This riverbed has never failed me for Elephant in the late afternoons. Chad and I had arranged to meet at Mbali Dam for sundowners and he was going to check around the dams of the North before heading in that direction. Both our drives were filled with a fair amount of general game that seems to be in the area at the moment. We added Black-backed Jackal to the mammal species we had not seen yet as well as a Bushbaby after dark. It was a particularly good drive for the birds, with us finding Saddle-billed Storks, Spoonbills, Black-winged Stilts, a Fish Eagle,Tawny Eagles, Spectacled Weaver and the highlight, well for Chad's car at least, a female Painted Snipe.

Chad also managed to relocate Gijima Male Leopard, although as was in the morning once being found he moved off down along the thick vegetation of the Sohobele Riverbed only allowing for a brief glimpse.

Our trip along the Tsharalumi did not disappoint with us finding two nice herds of Nyala and plenty of other general game, what was lacking was our guaranteed Elephant. With light failing fast it would appear that it was not so much a guarantee although we had seen fresh signs of their presence. Nearing our sundowner spot we had resigned to the fact that it was not to be, when we rounded a corner and there in front of us was our huge breeding herd of Elephant, spread all over the place feeding on the lush vegetation that surrounds the river. We picked out a female and her calf that could only be a couple of months old to spend time with. They both were extremely relaxed and barely acknowledge our presence as they went about trying to dig up some favourable roots. It was fascinating to sit and watch as the mother demonstrated how it was done and then the youngster would emulate exactly what it had seen. The digging doubled not only as a source of food but also as a source of loose sand that they threw over their backs sand bathing. They then proceeded to a nearby tree and rubbed up against it, the sand acting as an abrasive to aid in satisfying their itch. Had the light not disappeared on us we would have spent hours learning from them.

Our sundowner spot is a hard one to beat and we enjoyed drinks to the sounds of the resident Hippo's calling and the birds flying in to roost.

All in all, a great day in the bush.


  1. Great day indeed Grant. I am very glad Kuhanya was found!!!
    Was pretty surprised to see lions as they are not part of the sightings at the top :-)


  2. Lourens, i was glad too...and just wait until tomorrows update to hear what she got up to around midnight!!!

    im off for a week, so will share in enjoying Grant's blogs with you guys!



  3. Cool Chad,

    Can't wait for the new update...