Saturday, 26 November 2011

25th November: An Amazing Morning.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack & Marka.)

Rhino ( 1 x Male)
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – Managa Cutline.
Leopard ( Klakiso's Son) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Wilddog ( 13 x Pack) / Kings – Eagle Owl Plains.
Lion ( 1 x Timbavati Male, 3 x Machaton Females & 7 Cubs) / Umlani – Elephant Walk 3.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack, Petros & Chris.)

Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Argyle – Horizon Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Motswari Southern Access

Daily Synopsis.

Not sure where to start todays blog so much to tell you. Waking to a clear blue sky the bush looked amazing as we set off on drive able to actually see the sun. There were a few clouds on the horizon that would eventually close in but the majority of morning drive was under near perfect conditions. All we needed now were the animals to come to the party which they did in a major way.

All of us decided to head South as both Shadrack and Marka were very keen on Lions. Marka chose to head directly South while I checked on the East and Shadrack to the West. With all the areas covered we felt pretty confident that we would find what we were looking for. Jacky and I decided to try relocate on the very big herd of Buffalo that has been in the area hoping that we would also find Lions trailing them. It was not long before we picked up on their tracks and as was the other day when they ran Chad around in circles it looked like they would do the same to us as we had there tracks going in every direction. It was while following up on these that Jacky nonchalantly pointed out an extremely big Rhino twenty five metres from the car walking through the bush. Knowing they are very skittish in this area we decided to head straight onto foot, get ourselves a better view. With him not having run off and seemingly quite relaxed it did not take us long to track him down. With the wind and sun in our favour we were able to approach him quite closely. At first he was in a rather thick area but as he slowly walked East marking his territory by scraping his hind legs and urinating he moved into a clearing which afforded us a great view of him. He seemed to be aware of our presence, as at one stage he paused and stared right in our direction, yet he was unfazed and went about his business after a short while. Having had a great experience on foot we decided to head back to the vehicle, as we did not want startle him or walk into the Elephant that we could hear getting closer by the breaking of branches to our left.

Back in the car with the adrenalin pumping we were now ready to tackle the challenge of the direction-less Buffalo. The general direction seemed to be South but they would criss cross us continually from East to West and back again, putting Land Rovers power steering to the test and my three point turning! Still heading steadily South we now had to factor in that we were fast approaching our traversing boundary. Just as we started to speed things up we started to pick up on the old Dagha Boys that had been left behind by the herd and were now trailing behind trying to keep up. Not spending to much time with them we shot off to our Southern boundary just as the actual herd approached and began to cross. It is hard to saw how many there were as they were spread out over a distance of about a kilometre crossing and another kilometre deep but conservatively I would estimate around five hundred, give or take one!

While sitting with them I received news from Marka, who was further to the South West, and had been following up on other Rhino tracks, that he had found the pack of thirteen Wilddog sitting out in the open plains. If not to be left out Shadrack then contacted me to tell me that he had found Klakiso's son not far from where the guys had seen the pair of them the night before. Amazing what a little sun can do! Having seen both the dogs and the Leopard the day before we were still on the hunt for Lion and sitting with our very relaxed Buffalo it did not look like they were here.

Taking in the impressive sighting of this herd and trying to decide our next move, it was made for us when we received an invitation from the stations in the South to visit the Machaton Females and their cubs. They also had a surprise in the form of a Timbavati Male that was also present. We had to go see this as I don't know when last myself or Jacky had seen one of the “Boys,” it could possibly be nearly a year.

Being very far South we set off on our adventure but first as we were in the area, we popped in at the Hyena den. At first we only found an older female who looked like she herself had just returned to the den and was calling out to the inhabitants to let them know she was back. She circled the entire termite mound calling and whimpering into all the holes but no one appeared to be home. It was only after ten minutes of this did two of the older youngsters pop out to say hi. She continued to call out for another five minutes but to no avail. I'm not to sure if the younger one's did not respond cause they were warm, comfortable and secure in the den, or that it was not their mother so they did not respond, or that something more sinister has happened to them. It is early days though and a little difficult to call at this point but we will keep an eye on it and let you know.

Having been distracted by the antics of the sub adults for long enough we set of South to the Machaton Pride. It was a very pleasant drive down there as it is an area we rarely drive and with the sun out on the open plains it was a typical African picture. This was completed by the pride of Lions sitting out in the open and the majestic male watching over his pride and surveying his lands. You could not get a more typical African bush scenery. As most of the stations were busy with the Wilddog we were able to sit with the Lions a fair while as they went about preparing themselves and getting comfortable for an afternoon of sleep. As they all began to flop over we took it as our cue to make the very, very long journey home, which was a small price to pay for an amazing morning in the bush!

A long lost friend!

Things had once again clouded over for the afternoon but it did not look like rain. Having had such a good morning drive it would take a lot to match it. Having received new guests my afternoon was a relaxed affair as everything was new so we could spend time taking in all things big and small. Which is just as well because it was very quiet out there on the “ Big Five” front, well unless you wanted to travel to the far South that was. I chose to stick to the North and checked Argyle, Sohobele and Vyeboom Dams and although we did not find any cat family we did pick up on a large amount of general game which is perfect for a first drive. I had intended to eventually make my way to Klakiso's cubs who had been found in the morning with a young Impala kill but apparently they had finished it up and had moved on. We did however tick off one of the “ Big Five” in the form of Buffalo which could be added to our impressive list of Impala, Kudu, Waterbuck, Steenbok, Duiker, Warthog, Zebra, Giraffe and Hippo. I'm not going to go into the smaller things except for the baby Scrub Hare who we found trying to hide from us on the side of the road.  

Writing this now I actually realise we had ourselves a great afternoon filled with lots of interesting sightings. After our sundowner break I tried to emulate Marka's luck from the previous evening when he relocated on Klakiso's cubs that we'd found earlier but to no avail and our drive home after dark was a very quiet one. Lets hope the sun is out tomorrow.

Oh I think I may have forgotten to mention that Shadrack checked on the Hyena Den and I'm glad to report they all doing well. Sorry for the false alarm!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update Grant. Some really great pictures.
    I must say your photography is getting better and better.