|Pic of the Day.|
( Grant, Shadrack & Marka.)
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari Southern Access.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Lily Pan Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Western Cutline.
Wilddog ( 13 x Pack) / Kings – Tamboti Rd.
( Grant, Shadrack & Marka.)
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Argyle – Hennie's rd.
Rhino ( 2 x Males)
Leopard ( 2 x Klakiso's Cubs) / JayDee – JayDee River Rd.
Waking to far clearer skies and a somewhat drier morning we felt confident that we would be able to find a Leopard, our mornings sole mission. With the entire reserve on the lookout for this elusive cat we thought it would only be a matter of time before one of us came right. We all went about checking our respective properties keeping a special eye out in all their favourite spots. As Jacky and I had checked in and around Motswari we started to drift to the West hoping to get lucky around Vyeboom Dam. As time wore on the radio remained very quiet and only Marka had found tracks to follow up on. Jacky and I must have missed these as we drove the same route and Marka had our tracks over his Leopard tracks, wakey wakey Grant and Jacky! Unfortunately the tracks he had were for a male and a female but they both headed North and crossed our boundary with Ingwelala. We continued around Vyeboom Dam but only picked up on some nice birds but the mammals were no where to be found. Never knowing when the White Lions will pop up we regularly check the Northern boundary to see if maybe today is the day. Reaching our North Western boundary we picked up on tracks for a male Lion, who we at first thought must be the Jacaranda Male returning home after his dead Buffalo but on further investigation we found that a female joined him in heading North. The tracks looked very much like the White Lions as the males were not as big as you would expect. Jacky and I continued to follow them on foot until the reached the tar road and our Northern boundary where they crossed over into Ndlofu. Disappointed that we had not seen them, as the tracks were very fresh, we were also happy that they were heading in a Northerly direction as their sister is not far off on Ntsiri with a dead Buffalo, if the bush telegraph is anything to go by. Lets hope that when we do see them again they are all reunited.
Still having no luck on the mammal front we checked the Western Boundary on our way to Makulu Dam were we knew we would at least pick up on some general game. It was only after just starting to see things again that we received an invitation to Kings to go view Wilddog. It's amasing how things suddenly spark to life as now that we had somewhere to go we picked up on a very nice herd of Waterbuck, Nyala and Kudu, that would not be all together! We also received news that two breeding herds of Buffalo had been located, one very close to where the White Lions had crossed into Ndlofu. This may distract them and draw them back into our area, we wait and see.
Spending a little time with all three impressive species of antelope we continued to the South for the Wilddogs. This was to be our compensation for not finding Leopard. Arriving at the sighting they had just gone to rest so we caught a couple of them still restless and heads up while others were fast asleep in the shade of some small scrub. Being the last station in we were able to spend as much time as we liked with them, which we did as I explained all the intricate details of Africa's most successful predator.
We eventually had to leave though as although we had no other stations responding and on that front our time limit was endless this did not extend to the kitchen back at Motswari and with my head already very close to the chopping block we decided best we head home and live to be late another day.
With us receiving a further twelve millilitres of rain after morning drive and before afternoon drive things did not look good especially as it was still raining softly as we set off on drive. This gentle rain would continue for the first hour and half of drive. Great for the bush, not so good for us, but looking at the bigger picture it will be good for the game and therefore great for us. So I say bring on the rain, we were born waterproof!
Once again our mission was to find Leopard so we set about checking all their favourite haunts in the North. I did mention to Jacky that although conditions were far from perfect I did feel that we would find a Leopard on drive. With nothing but a couple Giraffes and whole lot of Waterbuck showing themselves we decided to head South as everyone was checking the North for obvious reasons.
Along our route down the Tsharalumi Riverbed we picked up on some nice birds, a great majority of these being waterfowl, fancy that! Some quality time was spent with a Malachite Kingfisher as it went about educating us in the art of fishing. Catching a number of small fish while we sat and watched. Pressing on South we decided to check along JayDee River Road and it was around one of these corners that we found our elusive Leopard. I'm not to sure who was more surprised to see who but there he stood in the middle of the road looking up at us. A sigh of relief escaped my lips when I realised it was Klakiso's relaxed son. This was short lived though as I'd forgotten where I was and although he did not scurry off after giving us the once over he turned and walked off into the impenetrable Tsharalumi Riverbed, well that section at least! How do we know this, because we tried from every angle possible! While attempting the impossible my one guest mentioned that he could see a second Leopard which joined the young male as they both disappeared into the long reeds of the riverbed. So our sighting was short lived but we did get a great view of him and it reassured us that there were animals to be found in these conditions.
With the news that we found Leopard drew other stations from the safety of being close to camp and suddenly there seemed to be far more sightings established with the guys finding Elephant and our ever reliable two Rhino. They were also able to relocate on our two Leopards after dark as they returned to their favourite spot and birthplace in amongst a rocky outcrop on the bank of the Tsharalumi.
So after all it was a good afternoon and speaking to the stations in the far South they too had themselves a relatively busy drive having both Leopard and Lion. We may need to head in their direction tomorrow for those kings of the jungle but lets first see what the North has in store for us in the morning.