Monday, 12 September 2011

11th September: Perseverance Pays, Well Most Of The Time.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Petros & Herold.)

Leopard ( Vyeboom Dam Male) / Motswari – Tsharalumi Pump.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip Link.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Motswari reception Rd.
Lion ( Jacaranda Male) / Peru – Bulala Rd.
Lion ( Mafikizolo Pride) / Java – Buffalo Kill.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Herold & Chad.)

Lion ( Jacaranda Male) / Peru – Hamerkop Rd.
Leopard ( Argyle Male) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Motswari Northern Boundary.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Motswari – Tsharalumi / Ingwelala Boundary.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Borneo – North South Sumatra Cutline.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Tsharalumi Crossing.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Argyle – Crossing Below Argyle Dam.

Daily Synopsis.

Having missed out on Leopard the evening before that became our mornings objective. Well sort of, two of my guests had the pleasure of walking passed Kuhanya in camp the night before on their way to dinner. Thinking she may still be around we checked North of the camp in an area she likes to hang around. We did not come up with anything in her favourite spots, so we continued on to the North where wee found three nice bull Elephant. While sitting with them we heard the distinctive alarm calls of Impala.  

Done with the Ele's we turned around and went in search of the origins of the calls. Driving the area flat we found nothing not even the Impala and once again found ourselves with the Elephant! This time round as we watched them uprooting a tree we heard the alarm calls of Zebra a little further to the West. Being the suckers for punishment that we are we headed back on the exact same roads once more. It was while on one of these roads that we had Guinea Fowl alarm calling very close to our vehicle and on further investigation we found Vyeboom Dam Male crouched in amongst some bushes ten metres from the car stalking a couple Francolins. Unsuccessful in his hunt he walked around looking for another victim. At one stage he became very agitated at something below a fallen tree and was hissing and snarling while pawing at the bark of the tree. We think it may have been a snake that took shelter below the branches. Growing tried of antagonising whatever it was, he slowly became mobile towards our boundary with Ingwelala where he eventually crossed out of our sight.

With Leopard in the bag we now needed Lion. The guys were following up on the Mafikizolo Pride which they later found. Apparently today they were semi relaxed and the guys got a good sighting out of them, we once again made the wrong choice as we chose to follow up on a large male in the North. On this occasion we did find him but he is not one of our regulars and kept moving away from the vehicle. He did eventually settle but it was in amongst a fallen tree surrounded by bushes and offered up a very poor sighting. While he was mobile we did get to see him nicely though but unfortunately I cant drive and take pics at the same time.

Petros's mornings mission was to find a breeding herd of Elephant which he did within two minutes of setting out. He found a herd that has been hanging out in the area over the past few days that are extremely relaxed and offer up a fantastic sighting.

This afternoon will find us heading down to the Mafikizolo Pride lets hope our Lion luck will change!

Yet another hot afternoon which always does not hold high expectations for drive, well the first hours at least. Everything tends to be hiding and even water does not seem to tempt them out. A good place to check is along drainage lines and riverbeds. This is where the guys found most of the early afternoon sightings with the animals resting in the shade and only feeding on what they could eat from their static position.

With the temperature as hot as it was we did think it would ground the Mafikizolo Pride to the position they had been found in the morning as it was in aMopanei thicket that would have shade all day. Thinking this we made our way slowly in their direction via the Eastern Boundary for a change of scenery.  

As we wound down the clock and the heat started to subside we turned in their direction. Along the way we received news from Marka who checked the sight that they had in fact moved into the nearby riverbed, which obviously made for a better resting spot. With no tracks coming out or any in the area to indicate that they had moved off, we decided to take sundowners nearby and then check the area after dark, hoping that they would have moved from the thick vegetated riverbed that provided no view of them. Finished with drinks we set about checking the area and by this I mean we drove around in circles hoping perseverance would pay like it had in the morning. No such luck, and before my guests thought I had really lost it we started to drive in bigger circles broadening our search area. Resigning to the fact that they had once again eluded us we set about heading home, fortunately along the way the lone male Lion we had partially seen in the morning popped up and this time round we got to see him very nicely. It looks like he has in the wars with a big gash on his lip. This is why he may have popped up in our traversing area, to seek shelter. This seems to be the norm for Lions in our area.

With Chad being back and on his first drive he spent the majority of his time in the North. I'm not sure if it was because he was seeing lots or he had forgotten the roads. He did call in a few sightings but either on following up they were not to be found again or we did not arrive in time and the animal had escaped him. None the less the animals were still here to be found so Chad must have brought his good luck back with him from Tanzania! Which I'm sure he will tell you all about when he takes over tomorrows blog from me. A word of advice, should you not wish to be green with envy, avoid looking at his pictures!

On that note I'll be loving you and leaving you in the more than capable hands of Chad for the next week or so, it's great to have you back mate, and a big thank you to you our followers for the support and comments, it has been quite the adventure the past two weeks and I've enjoyed bringing it to you. Lets hope it keeps it up!


  1. Absolutely amazing photos!

  2. Thanks for all the updates Grant!!!
    Welcome back Chad, can't wait for all the great pictures you brought back with you...
    Post them all!!! :-)