Thursday, 3 November 2011

02nd November: Dogs, Truly Man's Best Friend!

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Herold & Shadrack.)

Wilddog ( +/- 14 Pack) / Vielmieter – Vielmieter Trough.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant & Shadrack.)

Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Xikhari Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

With us only receiving a further three and half millimetres over night we set off on drive under far drier conditions and with the sky being a fairer shade of pale grey than the black of the previous two days it looked promising.

Jacky had heard Lions calling round four thirty to the West of camp so we set off in that direction to see what if we could pick up on anything. Herold and Shadrack first checked around Sohobele and Argyle Dam looking for Leopard. We then lost Herold for the morning as the rain from the previous afternoon proved to much for his radio which left him communicating to us on his hand-held. Zigzagging our way around the North West we picked up no signs for the Lions that had by the looks of things been teasing us. Herold was checking further to the West and he too found nothing. With our drive taking on the ever to familiar pattern of being a quiet one, we needed something to spark the bush alive. Once again there were the comments of only having seen Impala, and guides having to expand their tree knowledge. Up until this point our highlight had been two Dung Beetles fighting over a rolled ball of dung.

As if the bush could sense our desperation we were thrown a life line in the form of Wilddog! We should have known as this was the ideal weather for our drive saving best friends. Having received the message from Eric an employee at one of the camps who was actually not on drive himself but saw them opposite the camp and knew we would be interested in them we quickly descended on the area. Herold appearing from nowhere arrived on the scene first and we followed shortly behind him. Some of them were to be found resting next to a pan while others where up and down in the nearby riverbed, their attention clearly grabbed by something in the area. It looked like they had just fed as many of them had the visible blood stains on their heads. As is with Wilddogs they gave us a bit of a run around and would at one moment be heading East and the next to the West, this made controlling the sighting a little bit of a challenge. With the dogs loosing interest in what ever had had them occupied in the riverbed they all conglomerated around the pan choosing different locations to rest. As you can imagine they were the draw card of the morning and we pulled out having had a great sighting to let others enjoy.

As is always the case you need only one thing to ignite the bush and then everything seems to rear it's head to be counted. We had driven passed a very nice herd of Zebra and a couple of Warthog on our way to the dogs, where had they been half an hour ago! Shadrack had the same happen to him as he turned to head towards the Dogs he found the Lion tracks we all had been looking for earlier. They had been between where Herold and I had been looking. From the tracks it would appear they had been hunting Dagha Boys. Shadrack spent as much time as he could in following up but eventually could not risk missing out on the dogs. Well at least we now have somewhere to start off this afternoon.

Not going to say much about this afternoon except that the only difference from yesterday afternoon s drive was today we did not get wet. It however was just as miserable and apart from a couple of Dagha Boys and an impressive Kudu Bull there was not much on the go. To make things worse the pic's I did take of the afternoon were not recorded as I forgot to put my memory card back in. Doh! Thinking of it now that could be a reason to be cheerful, as I did not take many pic's, so I did not loose out on much. Can you imagine what a happy camper I would have been had we had an epic afternoon!

Following up on the Lion tracks from the morning we drove the entire surrounding area with no joy , so we sent Jacky and Difference in on foot to follow up on from the last tracks, while we once again double checked the roads to see if we may have missed something. It was not long before we received a message from the trackers that one of the Lions were roaring very close to their location while another responded a little further off to the West. Getting back to the area as quickly as possible both Shadrack and myself combed the area but found nothing. After spending the majority of the afternoon driving backwards and forwards in the area we decided to take sundowners in the vicinity of the calls in the hope they would give us one more clue. Drinks unfortunately came and went without any sign so we once again drove around the area to check if they had not got mobile. Thinking it was the Mafikizolo Pride they may have heard us and taken cover and waited it out until we left which is their typical M.O. With our luck not having changed and very little sign that it would we headed back to the lodge.

What is disturbing about our lull at the moment is not that we are not finding the animals but there is so little sign and tracks for them which means there is no immediate end to our misery. I'm presently sitting with guests of three nights, tomorrow being their last day and so far they have seen only Buffalo. We have some work cut out for us tomorrow.

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