Photo of the Day
(Grant and Chad)
3 x rhino (male and 2 females)
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Mbali, Dead Marula Rd
1 x elephant bull – Java, Java-Mbali Rd
(Grant and Chad)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Tchwala Rd
1 x elephant bull – Karans, Karans Bush Braai
3 x buffalo – Peru, Flooded Crossing
After the run we have been having lately, I guess we were due a dud day sooner or later...it came today! After finding leopard tracks right at reception, I left Petros to follow up while I drove around, but we didn’t have much luck with the spots besides finding a herd of giraffe near the airstrip.
|Giraffe and calf|
Petros concluded that the tracks were not all the fresh and were heading towards Ingwelala anyway, so we left them and carried on seeing some lovely impala and steenbuck along the way.
We then got a call saying that a pack of hyenas was trying to bring down a waterbuck not far from where we were, and raced over there to see this spectacle, but sadly we only saw one hyena and the waterbuck was walking off, unaffected by the “attack”. We left the area, only to later hear that the hyenas were found eating a dead buffalo – while hearing the antics of the hyenas in the south (killing one and injuring another buffalo over the last 2 days), I wouldn’t put it past this clan to have taken out this old bull, but having seen this dagga boy a few days back and commenting to my guests that he didn’t look well, I would assume that he died naturally. Either way, the hyenas were eating him, and it attracted load of vultures, but I had moved out of the area already.
My mission was to find rhinos that had been seen earlier in the morning, so set off in that direction, stopping off at a hyena den on route. The mother hyena was there, but there was no sign of the cubs yet. We also saw more impala and some distant zebras.
|Hyena at her den site|
We arrived in the area where the rhinos had been, and found them still feeding in the same spot – three all-in-all, a large male with two females. We spent quite a bit of time with them before parting company and heading for coffee.
Around Makulu Dam, we saw waterbuck, a family of nyala and nice herds of impala. Carrying on home, we found a lone bull elephant, and a while later, we also came across a small breeding herd of elephants making their way towards Mbali Dam, but it was late, so we too left them and headed home for breakfast, seeing more waterbuck, impala and zebra as the mercury rose.
|Slender mongoose, elephant bull, elephant herd, zebras|
The afternoon was a hot affair, and I didn’t have all that good an afternoon. I spent it out in the east, hoping to get lucky with some lions that we had tracked yesterday and had returned northwards, but their tracks went into the Kruger and we left the area. It was very quiet in the east, with only a sighting of a lone elephant bull and impalas making up the first half of the drive.
|Elephant bull near Majambi Dam|
Heading back west to the north-central area, the game picked up – impala, steenbuck, duiker, three buffalo bulls feeding in the Sohebele Riverbed, as well as a herd of giraffes on Piva Plains.
|Buffalo bulls and giraffe|
After a lovely sundowner overlooking the plains, we moved towards the hyena clan on their buffalo carcass and got to watch some of them at Vyeboom Dam before the moved to the carcass and fed on it – together with the vultures, they had polished off most of it!
|Xinatsi hyena clan eating a dead buffalo bull|
Other news from the day was a sighting of Thumbela in the south by the southern stations and Java guests – a bit annoying as I had mentioned over the radio that she would likely end up at Elephant Dam after she was seen late in the morning, and sure enough, that is where they found her! I should listen to my own advice sometimes!!! The Machaton Pride also ended up way down south, south of Machaton Dam, and sadly they were short of one cub – one of the older males. Worryingly, tracks for a male lion were seen heading to where the buffalo kill was, and it seems likely that the male had a run in with the pride that sent them running south, and we now fear for the safety of the missing cub. Hopefully it is a false alarm, but things don’t look good.
So a sad note to end off, but lets hope tomorrow picks up, especially on the leopard front...I am starting to think Grant made up the “8 leopards in an afternoon” story a week-and-a-bit back! Come on leopards, prove me wrong!!!