Sunday, 28 August 2011

24th August – Saved By The Bell!

Photo of the Day
Rhino for John!

Morning Drive
(Chad and Herold)
8 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Scholtz, Gravel Pits Rd
1 x rhino (Nhlangula male)
1 x leopard (very skittish leopard with impala kill) – Scholtz, Scholtz River Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Makulu Dam

Afternoon Drive
(Chad and Herold)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Sohebele Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Buffalo kill
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Argyle Dam
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Mbali River Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Giraffe Kill Lookout
3 x buffalo – Peru, Mbali River Rd

Daily Synopsis
I sound like a broken down record, but apologies for the delay in loading these updates!!!  Once more, it has been very busy on my side, and I struggled to find the time until now to sit down and do the updates, and secondly, sadly there has not been a great deal going on the last few days that I have been dying to share with you...none the less, here are the posts for the last few days...enjoy!

Wednesday was the last drive for John and Louise, and John really wanted to see rhino, as it was the one animal he was yet to see in all his time in Africa, so our rhino mission continued.  The drive turned out to be a drive of two halves: it started well enough as we looked for leopard in the northm but besides a beautiful sunrise, herds of impala, steenbuck and bushbuck, we did not see a great deal else.

Impala and steenbuck pair
It was then rather quiet heading out to Vyeboom Dam, although we did find warthog, a nice male giraffe, and the bizarre sight of a dead kudu floating in the dam itself – how it ended up there, no one knows!

Giraffe bull in the Nhlaralumi Riverbed
Moving on to Voel Dam and the rhino hotspots in the west, our quiet morning continued, with only a herd of zebras and some nice raptors on the way.  There were not even many impala about.

Verraux's Eagle Owl, Dark Chanting Goshawks and zebras
Carrying on south, we didn’t find any sign of rhino and decided to stop for coffee with the hippos at Makulu Dam and give the animals a chance to wake up!  The coffee seemed to have worked, and we had no sooner left the coffee spot when we started seeing impalas, giraffes, the hippos (a bit closer this time) and finally a beautiful herd of elephants at the dam wall.  The herd was exceedingly relaxed in our presence and grazed right past where we were parked.  There were also some entertaining calves amongst them, and we all enjoyed the sighting before carrying on home...

Elephant herd at Makulu Dam
...well, so we thought!  We had no sooner made our way north when a call came in that a rhino had been found on our western boundary – maybe John’s wish would come true, and would we be saved by the bell!
We headed straight over there, and as it was already late in the morning, not many other guides went to see the rhino, so we literally pulled straight in to join the rather sleepy Nhlangula male rhino...but it was still a rhino! 

White rhino at last!
He spent the morning resting, jumping to his feet from time to time when disturbed, but provided us with a good view before we headed home.

Nhlangula male on his feet....temporarily
On the trip home, we saw a lot of game – zebras at Voel Dam, plenty impala, four different herds of waterbuck, crocodiles, giraffe, kudus and warthogs!  Not bad considering how slow things started!

Waterbuck and Giraffe
Herold was operating in the east, and he and Johannes managed to relocate the fat-bellied Mafikizolo Pride a few kilometres from their kill, but they were in an extremely thick and tricky area, and didn’t provide the best of sightings.  Herold also found a leopard with a kill, but the skittish individual bolted off at the first sight of Herold.
I had four new guests in the afternoon, and was not keen to spend it looking for lions in the east, so I took it easy in the north.
The drive was a nice one to begin with, but as I didn’t take my camera on drive, you shall just have to take my word for it J!  We started off with a small herd of warthogs near camp, some nice herds of impala, steenbuck, an elephant bull and a lone giraffe in the distance at Argyle Dam, hippos at Sohebele Dam along with a large crocodile and another small herd of elephants that too came feeding only metres past us – wonderful!
Going along the Nhlaralumi riverbed near Mbali Dam, there were more impalas, three buffalo bulls, and three more sightings of elephants in the area – we stopped at Giraffe Kill Lookout for a drink and also enjoyed an elephant feeding in the riverbed in the distance.
Afterwards, we went to check up on the kudu carcass that had been dragged to the bank for the scavengers to do their job.  On the way, we found a lone hyena sleeping nearby at Buffalo Pan, but upon arriving at the kudu carcass was untouched.  As there was one hyena milling about, we didn’t leave, a spent a few minutes waiting before he arrived to begin feeding – he must have thought it was Christmas!
After some time, we left him feeding alone, but spotted another hyena running in, so decided to spend a bit more time with the two hyenas as they now begin eating with a bit more zest, but despite hoping that they would fight, they fed amicably!
We carried on towards the camp, and got surprised when we rounded the last corner near the camp and found not one, but two pairs of adult porcupines in the road! 
So while today lacked the big cats for me, it was still enjoyable!  Hopefully they come out tomorrow though!

1 comment:

  1. Chad, saved by the bell!! Very grateful too. I knew you were up to something when you turned round and asked me and louise if we happy to have a late breakfast - the answer was obviously yes. Had a tear of joy in my eye on the way back having waited so long to see a Rhino in the wild. THANKS