Friday, 5 August 2011

03rd August – Big 5 Day

Photo of the Day
Nthombi's Boy
Morning Drive
(Chad, Godfrey and Herold)
2 x rhino (relaxed female rhinos)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Buffalo Pan Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Buffalo Kill Rd
6 x elephant bulls – Peru, Voel Dam Southern Access
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Voel Dam Northern Access
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Trade Entrance Dam

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Godfrey and Herold)
8 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Jaydee, Peru Cutline
1 x leopard (Nthombi’s Boy) – Vielmetter, 2nd Sharalumi Crossing
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Scholtz, Fungwe Rd
8 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Airstrip Rd
1 x buffalo bull – Karans, Moeniejag Crossing
2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Southern Access
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Airstrip

Daily Synopsis
Another beautiful day in the bush, and it started with a quintessential African feeling as we found a herd of giraffes feeding near the airstrip, silhouetted against a colourful sunrise.

Giraffe Sunrise
Leaving the giraffe, we found the usual species of antelope scattered around, that included some impala, duiker and steenbok as we headed towards Vyeboom Dam.  At the dam, there was a distant pod of hippos, and a wonderful chorus of birds calling as the warmth of the sun melted away the coolth of the morning.
Crested francolin
A little further down the road, we came across a nice and relaxed breeding herd of elephants feeding alongside the road, and spent a bit of time with them before carrying on with our mission for the morning: find some rhino.

Relaxed elephant herd
We then headed towards the usual haunts of the rhinos in the area, and came up empty handed, but did find a lone elephant bull, and a little later, a group of six of these large behemoths.
Elephant bulls
Hearing that Herold had seen tracks for rhino near the Nhlaralumi, I headed back into that area to check on them, and found a large herd of kudus. 

Kudu herd with a hornbill nearby
The kudus actually caused me to turn around the vehicle to view them better, and then I decided that while I was facing the other way, I mind as will go and check on a certain area for the rhinos.  Sure enough, where I went to check, we found fresh rhino tracks, and Petros said that we should follow up.  They crossed one more road, and I asked him to start tracking on foot while I went to the nearby clearing for a cup of coffee.  I had no sooner made the coffee when Petros came walking back to us – he had already found the rhinos!  I wish every tracking exercise was that easy!
We hurried up and soon set off in search of the rhinos – they had moved, but with the aid of the calls of the oxpeckers, we soon spotted a rhino, and it became two a few seconds later – it was our new regular pairing of female rhinos.

Two female rhinos
We spent time with them before heading back to the camp.  With the morning warming nicely, we found a lot of game on the way home – impalas, waterbuck, a herd of kudus, crocodiles, terrpins, hippos, a herd of giraffe, and even a herd of zebras – all around Concrete Crossing!

Kudus and zebras
Arriving at the lodge, we found our same male elephant drinking at the Trade Entrance Pan once again – this time we didn’t spend much time with him.
Deje vu!
My mission for the afternoon was to follow up on a herd of buffalo that Johannes had found in the east late in the morning.  And so I headed east.  There were some nice kudus near camp, as well as a few scattered herds of impala around.
Arriving at Scholtz airstrip, where the buffalo had been earlier in the day, we found impala that had a slightly confused friend – a lone wildebeest!
lone wildebeest
Tracks for the buffalo headed north, and it didn’t take us all that long to locate the large herd feeding in the mopane woodlands of the east. 

Large buffalo herd in the east
After a while with them, we headed back to the central and southern regions – this time the motivation was a leopard!  Nthombi’s boy had been relocated not far from Elephant Dam, and was heading north towards Makulu Dam area, and as my guests had not managed to take any pics of him last night, I headed over to see him, hoping for better luck this time.
There was not a great deal of game about – only a few kudus, impala and a couple of giraffe, but we managed to enter the sighting without much delay.  The young male leopard sadly hadn’t chosen the best place to walk about, as he was in the middle of a palm and reed-bed in the middle of the Nhlaralumi Riverbed. 

Nthombi's boy really is becoming a fabulous young male leopard!
We tried our luck, and got a couple of wonderful “walk-bys” from him.
He really is turning into a beautiful little leopard, and his nature has changed so much over the last few months, that he is now a treat to view, and he is quickly working his way into my books as an emerging favourite...although it seems that it doesn’t take much to make you a favourite leopard in my books!!!

how beautiful is he?
We left him and went for a sundowner, and while drinking on some rocks, watched as a hyena stood in the riverbed watching us.

After drinks, we headed back north towards the camp, but did stop in to have a quick look a the Mafikizolo Pride that had pitched up in the middle of the reserve.  Having had a few vehicles visit them today, it was good to see that they had not moved much, and our slow habituation process is paying off.  Once more, I saw them after dark, and they seemed very at ease, and I left them after they woke up and headed across a steep drainage line.

Mafikizolo Pride with young male nursing a fresh wound
The drive back was a bit quiet, but we didn’t mind all that much, as we had enjoyed a great day full of diverse game, that I only later realised, included all of the Big 5.
Looking forward to some more good viewing tomorrow!

No comments:

Post a Comment