Sunday, 4 September 2011

03rd September: The Extremes.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Herold, Marka, Godfrey & Grant.)

Leopard ( Umfana) / Vielmieter – Sweetwater Southern Access.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Double Highway.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / JayDee – Enkombi Windmill.

Afternoon Drive.

( Herold, Marka, Godfrey & Grant.)

Lion ( Jacaranda Male) / Peru – Xkhari Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Mbali Dam.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Karans – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Karans – Majambi Dam.
Leopard ( Gijima Male) / Argyle – Timbavati/ Umbabat Cutline.

Daily Synopsis.

Waking to a far cooler and windier morning it was the complete opposite of the day before. Although there is a lot of Leopard around there seems to be little else with us still struggling for Rhino and more importantly Lion. John mentioned that he had heard Lions calling to the North of camp at around four and it sounded not to far from camp. We headed out a little early to check and it was not long before we found tracks less than two hundred metres from Motswari. At first we had the track for one female but then found the tracks for what looked like plus/ minus four Lions. We got excited as to us they looked like the White Lion tracks, who had been seen a number of days beforehand on Ingwelala our Northern neighbour, so it was not improbable. Keeping our excitement contained we started tracking, and just as well we did as the tracks headed off in a North Westerly direction, which did not give us much ground before they were out of our traversing area. While checking along the roads we received a message from Johannes that he had heard Lions running through the bush fighting very near Tsharalumi Cottage. We rushed to the Ingwelala boundary but could not find anything but while sitting there we heard the soft contact calls to our West, which was outside of our traversing. A couple of weeks ago we got lucky with the Sohobele's before they crossed but on this occasion we were just that little bit to late, the scales are once again balanced!

As the temperature dropped and the wind picked up sightings became hard to come by and the radio went very quiet for the rest of the morning. It was only towards the end of drive that things started to appear but given the time you had to be in the right place at the right time, which we were unfortunately not. Herold however did manage to salvage something from his morning with a nice sighting of Ntombi's son, Umfana, while he made his way along the Nyosi Riverbed.

The rest of us will be looking for a busy afternoon as we have a few holes to fill with time running out quickly!

Getting new guests this afternoon we were able to cruise around and take in all the smaller things and build towards the bigger things. Always conscience that we still needed to find Rhino and Lion for our existing guests. Responding to a breeding herd of Elephant we were somewhat disappointed as they were in a very in accessible area and we had to view the back end of them from a very long distance. Cutting our losses we headed South along the Tsharalumi hoping to get lucky with another herd or perhaps pick up on the Leopards that have been hanging around Klipgat the last couple of days that everyone else seems to have seen. We then intended to head to the West and check on the pans there for any Rhino's that may have strayed in from the neighbouring properties. As is with all good plans they must be flexible and when Herold let me know that he had found the Jacaranda Male all our plans went quickly out the window. We turned around and drove directly back where we had come from not wanting to take the chance that he got up and mobile. It has been some time since our last Lion sighting! Arriving at the sighting in the perfect afternoon light he was laying in a clearing with his head up. It is hard to top the sight of a mature Lion in his prime and this male is no exception with his dark black mane he sat there majestically surveying his kingdom. Amazing how after a couple months we find the tracks for the White Lions and suddenly the suspected father of them pops up in our traversing area. We last saw him when he joined the pride on their Buffalo kill thus confirming an association.

After some time we made way for others to enjoy the sighting and we headed off for sundowners, hoping to get lucky with Leopard after dark in and around Motswari. Finishing with drinks we searched the area around camp and once again it was Marka who picked up on Gijima Male. Being some what shy he disappeared into a drainage line where Marka lost him and even with three of us in the area trying to relocate him we had no luck. Goes to show how elusive they can be when they want to and that when we do find them it is because they allow us to!

With Lion finally off the Christmas List it only leaves us with Rhino to find, but that will be tomorrows task.

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