Wednesday, 7 September 2011

06th September: All We See Are Tracks.

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Herold, Marka, Grant & Colbert.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Concrete Crossing.
Leopard ( Ntombela) / Kings – The Nyala Tree.

Afternoon Drive.

( Herold, Grant & Colbert.)

Rhino ( Tshangula Male)
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Tamboti Pan.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Dizzy Drive.
Lion ( Mafikizolo Pride) / Peru – Tawny Eagle Link.
Lion ( Machaton Pride) / Tanda Tula – Tortilla's Plains.

Daily Synopsis.

Once again not being under any pressure to see anything we could drive around and take in what came our way. Marka was the first to find tracks for a large male Rhino but after following up for a short while he went into an area that we could not, so that put an end to that. Marka then joined Herold in try to track down the Mafikizolo Pride who had entered our traversing area from the North in the early hours of the morning. Meanwhile we picked up on some tracks for a female Leopard around Java Dam and again at Java Airstrip. Colbert decided to follow up but only got as close as hearing the audio of this elusive creature. A little way away, while watching a troop of Baboons, who had entertained us for twenty or so, began alarm barking. On further investigation we too heard the audio of a Leopard but following up on its origins proved a task beyond our capabilities this morning. Colbert eventually cut his losses and headed South to go visit Ntombela on Kings, who had kindly invited us to come and view her.

It would appear our morning was one filled with only tracks as on our way home we found tracks for four Rhino's but with not enough time in hand it was something we would have to leave for the afternoons drive. Being a warm one, we are sure they will not go far. Marka and Herold spent their entire morning following up on the Mafikizolo Pride without any joy at the end of it. By the sounds of it, it was an extremely frustrating morning for them. I guess the positive we can take from all these tracks is that the animals are here, we just need to find them! Lets hope this happens this afternoon.

Having only found tracks the entire morning we were looking to improve on that this afternoon. We headed off to the West were we had tracks for four Rhino and wanted to start our afternoon off there. Along the way we received news that a large breeding herd of Elephant was to be found in and around Makulu Dam. Tempted as we were we decided to stick to the plan! Not taking rejection well a short while later the male Rhino Tshangula was found nearby thereby sweetening the deal. It was one we could not resist and although we don't like travelling that far on our guests first drive the area we would be in would work very nicely with sundowners. Turning the vehicle South we headed along the Tsharalumi Riverbed South.

Herold and Colbert both having guests who had not seen Lion and who would be leaving in the morning headed South for an invitation to view the Machaton Pride on Tanda Tula. From what they relayed to me it sounded like a great sighting and the guys got to see the three adult females with their eight cubs, who became active shortly before sunset and where in a particularly playful mood.

Arriving in the South we found Tshangula slowly feeding alongside the riverbed he had obviously come from spending some time in water as he was caked in mud. Being out in the open and with such a relaxed Rhino we spent a fair amount of time with him.  

Wanting to still visit the Elephant before our sundowners we eventually left him to go about his business, while we went about ours.
Our Elephant sighting was well timed as we got them moving in an open clearing before they headed down into the riverbed and out of sight.  

Having enjoyed our time spent with these gentle giants we turned to the North and headed to Java Airstrip for sundowners, this time actually getting to see the sunset.  

Jacky's Bar!

After dark we headed towards Sohobele Dam to try see if we could get lucky with the Mafikizolo Pride that was tracked in the morning into that area. Being a hot day we did not think they would have moved far and should be around the dam. Very close to the dam I received a message from Andries who had followed up on the pride the entire afternoon and eventually succeeded in tracking them down. Something that you should know about Andries, if he puts his mind to it he can track down anything, he is a magician when it comes to the art of tracking, extremely patient and even more persistent! Being nearby we joined the sighting with the majority of the Lions still dozing while a few of them tried to shake off their afternoon nap and were heads up. It is unbelievable how far these Lions have come in terms of relaxing around our presence. Remember when we first found them how they would desert their kill and run off into the nearest thicket and hide until everyone had left and here they were now, twenty metres from the car, no kill, and sleeping. It will be very nice if the pride chooses to call our traversing area home.

Spending considerable time with them we found ourselves late for dinner and eventually had to leave as otherwise there would be a kill.  

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