Tuesday, 6 December 2011

05th December: Hollow Victories.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant & Shadrack.)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – Western Cutline.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Argyle – Horizon Rd.
Lions ( 3 x Maghlatini Males) / Peru – Sohobele Dam.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant & Shadrack.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Tsharalumi Access.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Scholtz – Scholtz/ Karans Cutline.
Lion ( Maghaltini Males) / Peru – Tawny Eagle.

Daily Synopsis.

Not a whole lot to say about this mornings drive and that is not because it was quiet. Actually you could have had yourself a very busy morning if you wanted with the three Maghlatini Males not having moved during the night and still being at Sohobele Dam this morning. Kuhanya was also sleeping off a long night on top of Motswari's Dam wall and she could be seen from camp for quite a while as she napped away most of the morning. There was also two different herds of Buffalo to choose from one on the East and another on the West, I guess as one leaves another arrives. The one coming in from the East could be one to keep an eye on as they are heading directly towards the Maghlatini's at the dam where I'm sure they are heading sometime today.

Our mornings mission was to find Giraffe, Elephant and Rhino. It got off to a good start as we found a nice bachelor herd of Giraffe feeding along the Tsharalumi River.

As we made our way along the river we also picked up relatively fresh tracks for Elephant. It appeared our morning was going to be a walk in the park. Following up on the tracks they took us further and further South and it looked like what happened to Herold two days ago was again happening to us. So when we picked up fresher tracks for a large male Rhino we decided to pursue that instead. These also took us South along the riverbed and we visited all the normal and favoured spots of Tshangula. It was also during this that we picked up on the tracks for the Wilddog who obviously returned via Vyeboom Dam and were no heading South again. I don't think we were far behind them as a herd of Impala we came across were all very attentive and looking fixedly in one direction. Having had a great sighting of them the previous morning we chose to continue with our Rhino tracks and avoid the distraction. Following the tracks over half the length of our traversing area we decided to stop for coffee before resuming our search. It did not look good for us as we were now approaching our Southern boundary but as we reached it the tracks turned to the East and continued in that direction for a couple of kilometres still luring us in to believing that we had a chance of catching up. The bubble was finally burst just short of our Eastern Boundary where the tracks headed to the South again. Both Jacky and I can't believe how far he walked during the night and we are sure that he must be fast asleep on or around the plains of Machaton Dam. With time also having run out we headed back to lodge after a rather quiet morning for us.

Receiving new guests for afternoon drive we were hoping that all our friends from the morning would still be around. Having had three different breeding herds of elephant visit the lodge throughout the day we decided to try find one of these first. This did not take long as they had not drifted far and we found them slowly feeding to the South alongside our airstrip. We joined a small group that had stopped to take a mud bath from one of the pools of water that had collected on the road. Once covered and cooled they moved off into the nearby Mopane to feed. With the Mopane being rather thick we eventually left them to go about their feeding. 

Sticking to the river we headed off to the East not wanting to head straight to the Lions as they were more than likely still fast asleep. Instead we decided to follow up on the Buffalo that had headed into the area. Not finding them at Sohobele Dam we continued to where they had been sighted in the morning. As Buffalo often do after there afternoon rumination they turned back on themselves and headed in the direction they had just come from. This was not good as we located them in some extremely thick Mopane instead of out in the open on Sohobele Plains. Apparently it was an extremely large herd of Buffalo which we could only confirm by the noise they made as they fed in between the trees as we only got a glimpse of a buffalo here and a buffalo there. This seemed to be the trend of our afternoon and made us even more hesitant in visiting the Lions.

Taking a large detour we wanted to arrive with them shortly before sunset so at least if they were sitting in the thick stuff it would not be long before they would be up and mobile and we would catch them out in the open somewhere. It was however the opposite with the three brothers as they lay out in the open next to the road, unfortunately they were dead to the world and barely raised an eyebrow at our arrival. With time on our hands we decide to wait and give them a chance to show a little life. Not thinking this would be long as it had cooled off nicely and the fact that they had travelled less than a kilometre during the previous night and had slept the entire day we thought it would not be long. As if to prove us wrong they slept the entire time we were there they would only stretch or move when we contemplated leaving so it would lure us into believing they would soon be active and we would wait another ten minutes. After nearly an hour and it having got dark we resigned to the fact that this was all we were going to see and we eventually left them having the feeling that once we were round the corner they would be up and mobile.

So although we had ourselves a good afternoon we can't say it was high quality, lets hope tomorrow our friends are a little more cooperative. 

1 comment:

  1. Grant, you are really privileged to have such a great job! I have experienced that during our stay at motswari. We pay far too often on the "big things" and do not appreciate the everyday commodities.
    Still no news on the white lions?

    Regards from the snow-covered Bavarian Forest