Friday, 28 October 2011

26th October – Who Stole Our Animals?

Photo of the Day
Hyena cub
Morning Drive
(Shadrack, Grant and Chad)
1 rhino

Afternoon Drive
(Shadrack, Herald, Grant and Chad)
1 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Buchner  
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Buchner  
8 x buffalo bulls – Buchner  
5 x buffalo bulls – Mbali, Aardvark Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Termite Rd
1 x elephant bull – Buchner  
1 x elephant bull – Buchner  

Daily Synopsis
I guess I have been known to be wrong...and saying yesterday that “Surely tomorrow can only get better...” was another one of those instances.  Really.  It was dead out there!  I went south to go and check on the hyena den, and while at first we arrived to find nothing, the two cubs came running back to the den from the other side of the drainage line, and clearly, as they are getting older, they are getting more curious and would come right up to the Land Rover to investigate us.
Curious cub
Eventually they went and lay on the mound and that is where we left them looking cute!

Hyena cubs
On Java airstrip, we found another two adult hyenas, including the mother of the cubs – the matriarch of the Rockfig Clan – she was slowly making her way back towards the den site.

Rockfig clan members, and mother of the cubs making ehr way back to the den site
Shadrack had in the mean time found a leopard’s impala kill, but it was the skittish Gijima male, and during the day, he must have moved off before they could see him – with a bit of luck, he will take it up into a tree and we can slowly get him more habituated to our presence – he isn’t bad at night, but has a lot of work to do on his day time behaviour!
A rhino had been found in the west, so I headed over towards him, and took my time seeing as there wasn't a big line up.  There wasn't much about to slow down our approach to him, as we again only saw impala and steenbuck.
Frustratingly, a couple of vehicles just pitched up at the rhino sighting in front of me that totally ruined my planned arrival – to make matters worse, they weren’t familiar with the area and took forever to get into the sighting, leaving me to drive around aimlessly waiting for my turn.  I sadly coulnt just come back later as I wanted to do, as the rhino was heading straight west towards the Klaserie, and out of our traversing area.
He was also moving in a terrible mopane area, that made following him and getting a view very difficult.  With the boundary now in sight, I chose to make space for Shadrack and his guests to get a view before he crossed over – for the second time in two day animals in the west really hadn’t played along...fortunately, no Ray Bans were hurt in this frustrating sighting...
A baby nightjar that Kieron spotted in the rhino sighting!
After coffee, I just decided to chill, and we actually enjoyed a nice drive back to the camp, albeit late!  We saw warthogs, waterbuck, impala, large crocodiles and a lot of interesting birds as we stopped and just enjoyed the bush for the smaller things.
Surely the afternoon could only get better?  Well, amazingly not!  There was very little to speak of once again – the general game included kudu, zebra, waterbuck, waterbuck, waterbuck, and did I mention waterbuck?  Oh yes, and I nearly forgot, impala and stenbuck!

Warthog and impala, zebra and waterbuck near Argyle Dam
One elephant was found.  Yip, we had an elephant again!!!  It never ceases to amaze me how our usually abundant elephant population can just suddenly all leave the area at once!  But this guy clearly never got the memo, so for the first time in I have no idea how long, I responded to a lone elephant bull sighting!
He was a young bull and quite mobile, but we did manage a nice sighting as he stopped and fed from time to time!  It was also the first time in a long time that I recall someone actually taking up a standby position to see an elephant!  Wow, it really has been quiet the last couple of days.

Elephant at last!
The highlight of my drive though was going to spend some time with a large pod of hippos at Peru Dam.  The pod can only be accessed on foot, so we went and sat with them as they snorted, yawned and just did what hippos do while we also enjoyed a host of good waterfowl in the area.
Grant, Herald and Shadrack all independently decided to go up to Buchner – a trip well worth it it sounds!  Not one, but two lone elephant bulls!  Two large breeding herds of buffalo, a big group of buffalo bulls and a white rhino to go with kudu, impala, zebra and giraffe!  They all commented on what a green paradise it was up there, and that it is no surprise that the animals have disappeared from our area – all clearly moving north to where the rains have been better!  It is very unusual for the north to be wetter than the south, but we hope that it is a trend that continues through summer to get our rivers flowing and our big dams full!
As today is my last blog post for a while – I’m heading off on leave once again – I just want to say thanks for all the wonderful comments and views on this blog – I once again trust that you have enjoyed living our lives through this blog!  It has been a cycle full of cycles, from an abundance of game to very little – but that is why I started this blog, to show you exactly what it is like out there in the bush!
While we has some lovely leopard viewing, and the wild dogs were great, for me, it was the fact that our lion sightings were the best they have been for many, many months that I enjoyed the bush!  While they may be lazy at times, Africa is just not Africa without lions!  So I do hope that they keep on showing themselves as they have done the last month!
And on that note, here are just a few pictures of our three Sohebele males taken on the morning of the 27th October, as they moved to have a drink of water late in the morning.

Sohebele males on the way to water




Growing bigger and bigger...will they rule like their father did?
I hope that you will enjoy all of Grant’s updates over the next week and a bit – and knowing the trend of amazing game viewing when I am on leave, I am sure it will be a goodie!  Enjoy J

Chad Cocking


  1. Impressive pictures of impressive males Chad.
    What is a "stenbuck"? Just kidding, man it was quite the last 2 days, but with you on leave it can only get better :-)

    Will miss your updates Chad, and thanks for the last few weeks' updates.


  2. Hi Chad and Grant
    I love the Sohebeles! Hope they will still be araound there in 3 weeks.
    Take care. See you soon.