Monday, 28 November 2011

27th November: Hyena's To The Rescue.

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Grant, Petros & Chris.)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Karans – Karans Airstrip.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – East Street.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Nlaramisa Rd.
Wilddog ( 13 x Pack) / Vielmieter – Jaydee Access.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Motswari Southern Access.
Cheetah ( Unknown) / Borneo – KNP Cutline.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack & Chris.)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam Rd North.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Argyle Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Western Tsharalumi.
Wilddog ( 13 x Pack) / Vielmieter – Sweetwater Pan.

Daily Synopsis.

Not so sure why we get up early for drive these days as the first hour or two seems to be very lifeless these days. Only later in the morning do things start to pick up. I think it may have to do with the cooler overcast weather we are currently experiencing, none the less as long as they do come out it does not matter when.

We all started with different missions this morning. Petros was after Lions so he headed to the North East following up on the calls we had heard during the night. Chris headed to the East in search of Rhino while I did the same but on the West. I also wanted to check our Northern boundaries for any sign of the White Lions. Shaddy got lucky as his guests were checking out and wanted a lie in so he was also able to get a rare sleep in.

Making our way around our respective area's the radio was ominously quiet and it sounded like everyone was struggling a little. Time seemed to stand still as all three of us did not find any trace of what we were looking for. It was time to readjust our objectives. Having not found any sign of Rhino or Lion in the North or the West I turned South hoping to get lucky around Sweetwater Pan. Earlier the Wilddog had been found on our Western Boundary I had initially ignored this as we were focused on other things but with no other stations responding, the fact that we had seen nothing and being in the area that they had just killed a Steenbok we decided to respond. Pulling into the sighting we found the pups pulling at the remains of the Steenbok while the adults drank from a puddle on the road. They then left the pups in the care of the alpha female while they set off towards Sweetwater on the hunt for themselves. Knowing we would not keep up in that territory we chose to stay behind with the pups as they wrestled with one another for the remaining parts of breakfast. It was not long before we saw one of the adults returning in our direction followed by another. Suddenly they accelerated and now there were not only two but five dogs running full speed in our direction. As quick as a flash the pups that we were sitting with were up on their feet and heading off in the direction of another Steenbok that came running by the front of our car. We tried to keep up but it was in vain and I headed in their general direction in the hope that I could relocate. Once again we got lucky as one dog turned and headed back in our direction and then another followed by a few of them. They all returned to back to their original resting spot where we once again joined them waiting for another station to take over from us. Once in place we handed over control and responsibility and headed off to view a nearby herd of Elephant. I later received news that the missing dogs had actually caught the poor Steenbok further to the West of where we had been.

Chris and Petros drives also picked up with them both having success. Petros found himself a nice breeding herd of Elephant that he got to spend the morning with while Chris found himself a Cheetah, unfortunately it was in our South Eastern corner and as they approached it ran off into Kruger.

With all three of us having covered all the boundaries of our traversing area and not finding tracks entering, we going to struggle this afternoon. Lets hope the temperatures keep cool as maybe they will enter during the day. We wait and see what the afternoon hold for us.

Having searched the West hi and low for any sign of Rhino or Lion in the morning it was to be the turn of the East in the afternoon for us. With Shadrack receiving all new guests his afternoon was to be a chilled one as everything was new and exciting. Chris was on a mission for White Lions and he headed off to the far North East corner to see if he could get lucky with the new White Lion that had been found about two weeks ago.

Our afternoon got off to a great start with us finding a breeding herd of Buffalo within two kilometres of camp. They had just finished off drinking at Xinatsi Dam and were now heading to the East. Having not seen a breeding herd of Buffalo we spent a little time with them and hoped this set the tempo for the afternoon drive.

Unfortunately it started and ended with the Buffalo, well for the next two hours at least, with us finding very little in the East. Being a picturesque drive though nobody seemed to notice that we saw nothing and time passed quite quickly. As the sun began approaching the horizon we found another first for us in the form of Zebra, which have become very scarce these days. With picture perfect light we also spent a fair amount of time with them. It also could have been the fact that I was scared if we left we would not see anything more till the close of drive!

Finding ourselves in the area of the Hyena Den shortly before sunset and on our way to Hide dam for sundowners we popped in a visit to the Den. Not expecting much as our luck with this den has been erratic to say the least we were pleasantly surprised to find both sub adults milling about the area. Pulling into an open clearing where we had a view of the hole into the den we sat as the Hyena's inquisitively approached the car. They seem to have no fear and walk to within a metre to examine us. With the arrival of an adult our luck was about to change as the sub adults approached the entrance to the den the babies seemed to gain confidence from their family members and popped their heads out. It was not long before the one sub adult encouraged it all the way out and this babies new found courage urged the other to join it. We sat and watched as they clumsily went about investigating their surroundings and their older siblings inquisitive to their every move. At stages their little legs would not be able to keep up with them and they would stumble and roll down the termite mound in a little ball. They would quickly gain their feet again, dust themselves off and dash back to the safety of the entrance hole, where they would once again start all over. They would sit at the entrance and bite their older cousins which eventually they could not tolerate and they moved off. Unfazed the two babies turned on one another and continued with their antics eventually wearing themselves out and returning to the den to nap. Our timing could not have been better and it saved an otherwise mediocre drive.



Night, night.

After a beautiful sundowner at Hide dam we slowly made our way home were we had our last first for the day, this time Patrick found us an African Wildcat, not quite the cat we were looking for but strangely enough one that our guests had requested to see at dinner the previous evening, strange how things work out.

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