|Pic of the Day.|
( Grant, Shadrack, Petros & Chris.)
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Peru Cutline.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Vielmieter – Sweetwater Pan.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Pan Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Voeldam Northern Access.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Russet Rd.
Leopard ( Argyle Male) / Peru – Wild West.
Lion ( 3 x Machaton Females & 7 Cubs) / Kings – Eastern Link.
( Grant, Shadrack, Petros & Chris.)
Leopard ( Klakiso & 2 x Cubs) / Mbali – Nkou Rd.
Wilddog ( 13 x Pack) / Vielmieter – Western Tsharalumi.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Voeldam Southern Access.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Crossing Below Java.
Once again waking to clear skies and a beautiful sunrise we hoped things would follow the current pattern of lots of activity while the sun is around.
Having heard Leopard call around camp while getting up I decided to check around the area see if we could get lucky. After about a half hour of trying we had not got much further than finding tracks for a male Leopard heading South. The tracks were unfortunately very difficult to follow as the ground is very hard at the moment after all the rain so I decided to head West rather and try my luck with Rhino. Heading out in that direction we stopped in at our spot for Hippo and found a nice group of them all resting in the shallows after a long nights feeding. It was while with them that I received news of a drag mark not far away, hmm, that would make a nice detour. Petros got to the area first and after following up he found a fresh Steenbok kill but once again there was no Leopard to be seen. It may of seen them and moved off till they had left. We think it is Klakiso and her cubs as it is very close to where they were hunting Impala yesterday evening. We will try again later this afternoon with the vehicle.
With Leopard apparently off the table I continued West on my mission for Rhino. Things unfortunately took a very quiet turn for me and the rest of us for the next hour or so, and were we had been seeing general game yesterday afternoon we were not seeing much this morning. It was only after we received an invitation to visit the Machaton Pride on Kings that things once again started to pick up.
Typical though I was on the opposite side of where I needed to be. Adapting my plans slightly I stuck to the West in hope of Rhino but headed further to the South. We found ourselves a nice couple of groups of Dagha Boys for our efforts but no sign of Rhino. I continued to the South on the news that tracks for the Wilddog were heading into the area but like the Rhino they remained elusive. Finally getting myself into a position to respond to the Machaton Pride Murphy's Law was about to strike with the news that Argyle Male had been found a little further to the West than I had been checking. I now found myself once again on the opposite side of where I needed to be! Hearing that he was heading to the West and our traversing boundary made my next decision that much easier and I chose to push on to the Lions. I'm glad I did as when we arrived we had them to ourselves. At first they lay in the shade clearly trying to digest the meal they must have had during the night as all of their belly's were well rounded. The Male from yesterday was missing and I have the sneaky suspicion that he is still with the kill and has chased off his fellow pride members. It does however look like they did eat a fair amount though. While sitting there it became to hot in their chosen position so one by one they started to get up and move around. As they were lying very close to a drainage line there was still some water trapped in pools that they crowded around to drink, providing us with a great sighting. They then went about grooming themselves before repositioning themselves in the shade for a good old avi nap!
With things warming up quickly we also decided to head home but first we popped in at the Hyena den to check on any activity. Unfortunately it looks like they all had the same idea to and there was no one around.
Between us we all had a good morning as Argyle Male did not cross to Klaserie and most of the guys got to visit him. Had I gone he would have been sure to have crossed so indirectly they all have me to thank! The guys also had our first small herd of Elephant since the rains, lets hope they will all be returning now and a number of Kambaku's around the reserve.
The afternoon got off to a slow start and the general game that we had yesterday seemed to have deserted us. With new guests on my car this is usually always a good way to break in a slow drive so I had to turn to the ever trustful birds, lucky they were in abundance.
Making our way slowly around the North I found myself very close to where Petros had followed up on a drag mark and found a Steenbok kill from the morning. I decide I had nothing to lose and would check in on the Steenbok which was apparently to be found at the base of a very large Knobthorn Tree. Making my way in I did not want to drive directly to the base of the tree as if it was a skittish Leopard this would chase it off. So I slowly made my way around circumventing the tree it was as I approached the Southern side that a young female Leopard popped up her head from a bush in front of me. Not wanting to scare her off I killed the engine but she seemed totally unfazed by us and after a couple of minutes she dropped her head and went back to resting. Chancing my luck a repositioned the car so that we were about twenty metres away with her sitting a partial clearing. Once again she watched as we moved around but then went back to grooming herself before flopping back to sleep. Having had a great sighting of her we then headed off to where the kill was where we got lucky again and found her brother. He was also semi relaxed and sat there watching us while he chewed on the hind leg of the poor Steenbok. With Chris responding we were making our way out as we did not want to put to much pressure on these fast becoming very relaxed Leopards when we spotted their mom, she however is not that chilled and headed straight for the closest thicket. With Chris in lock we made our way out from a great sighting.
With Leopard under the belt anything from here would be a bonus and I decided that I would head down the Tsharalumi River see if I could pick up on the Elephant Herd that Petros had found this morning. Checking along the river I came up empty handed and decided to loop to the West it was during this that I received a message from Shadrack that he had a large herd of Elephant to my East, well it was a fifty, fifty chance.
Responding to his Elephant I headed back in the direction of the Tsharalumi on reaching the river and heading for the crossing I received news that the pack of thirteen Wilddog had been found a little to our South. Hmm, what to do, what to do! Having guests come from another lodge and seen pretty much everything, including Cheetah, tipped the scales and this would complete the “ Big Seven” for them. As per usual when you are in a rush somewhere everything appears out of nowhere and suddenly we had wildlife everywhere that wanted to be seen. Having to turn a blind eye to a few of them as we had to move because not only were the dogs up and mobile but the sun was now fast approaching the horizon and we don't view Wilddog after dark. Having been in the right place at the right time helped and it was not long before we approached the sighting or should I say they approached us as we sat on the side of the road and had them all run up towards us and then alongside the car. Turning around we followed them but were not sure how long we would keep up as they were heading in the direction of all the animals we had just ignored. We caught a lucky break though when they stopped at a large puddle in the road where they spent some time bathing before setting off again. We again got mobile and joined the pack as they went into hunt mode, this is always a challenge trying to keep up and it was not long before they spotted something and accelerated off leaving us in the dust. Driving in a particularly bad area we lost them and could only give the other stations a direction they were heading to follow up on while we tried to find our way out of the bush. With them being relocated very close to where we suggested they look we decided to leave them and let others enjoy the sighting.
Heading off for sundowners we were in for one more surprise as Shadracks Elephant had moved further South and we bumped the on our way to drinks. Spending a little time with this very impressive herd we eventually had to leave them as it was now nearly dark. Stopping for a quick drink, I guess the sun was going down somewhere, brought an end to a near perfect day.