Wednesday, 7 December 2011

06th December: Looking To The Landscape.

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Grant & Shadrack.)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Northern Boundary.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Great North.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – JayDee Access.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant.)

No Big Five.

Daily Synopsis.

Waking to clear blue skies and sunshine the morning promised a lot. With not much pressure on us having a couple of nights in hand and having seen a fair amount yesterday afternoon we could afford to fill in the gaps, although Leopard was on our radar. Shadrack still needing Rhino for his guests and this being there last drive was in a different boat and he headed straight to the West where his best chance lay. We chose to stick around the lodge and see if Kuhanya would pop in for another morning visit but not finding any fresh signs for her we headed to the East in hope of finding Zebra and other plains game. With very few stations out it felt like we had the entire reserve to ourselves which is both a good and a bad think. Good in the fact that you could go anywhere and not worry about running into anyone. Bad in that you had to find your own animals as there were less eyes out there to help. 

We enjoyed the solitude and did not see another soul on our entire drive, this unfortunately also extended to the animal kingdom. With not much out there we concentrated on the smaller things that one normally takes for granted or does not actually see. We had a great sighting of a family of Ground Hornbills who allowed us to spend time with them as they went about foraging for food on Sohobele Plains. We witnessed how one of them first caught and ate a frog, which was shortly followed by another catching and eating a Red Roman. Normally we only get to see them making a hasty retreat but today they to must have sensed the solitude and maybe they welcomed the company. Soon after leaving them we headed back to the West were we found ourselves a beautiful Rock Monitor who was sunning himself on the trunk of a Tamboti Tree. Being a very impressive specimen and which contrasted very nicely against the distinctive bark pattern of the tree we sat with him for some time as he first woke from his slumber and then went about investigating his surroundings before slipping into the undergrowth. 

With the sun starting to beat down we made our way to the Tsharalumi River for a cup of coffee in the shade of the large riverine trees. Having heard the Hippo's performing during our break we headed to a favourite spot of theirs after resuming drive. We found them all huddled together jostling for the prime spots in the centre of the river clearly trying to settle in for what promised to be a hot day. Leaving them we chose to stick to the river and head North to Vyeboom Dam. Stopping at a number of vantage points along the way to see if we could find anything I could hear my guest constantly remark how beautiful it all was and at the dam itself they remarked that this was the most beautiful spot. Coming from Switzerland this was a very big compliment as I can imagine that they have some of the most beautiful spots in the world. This made me aware that we take a lot of what we have and see for granted and that it is not all about the wildlife but the scenery plays a very big roll in it to. As most Europeans come from very built up and populated areas and now to be sitting in a place with not another soul around or a building in sight, but just an expanse of endless bush as far as the eye can see on all horizons must be something really special. With a re-found appreciation for my surroundings we headed off back to the lodge for breakfast.

It was lucky that we found a new appreciation for the scenery as in the afternoon that is pretty much all that we got to see. Having the most relaxed and laid back guests made it very easy and although we did not pick up on much, big or small,they still thou-rally enjoyed the drive and we all had a great time. Our sum total shortly before sundowners was a herd of Waterbuck, a few scattered herds of Impala, a Steenbok, two Duikers and three nice male Nyala. 

Welcome Back.
We decided to stop in at the Hyena Den before drinks as if there was no activity we could always try again after. Our luck seemed to change as we found mom and one of the very young one's and when she moved out of the hole the other appeared to play with its sibling. We watched as they went about chewing everything in sight clearly strengthening their jaw muscle for later life. When mom disappeared off towards Hide Dam the young one's instinctively disappeared into the protection of the den. We left them with their heads popping out keeping a watchful eye on their surroundings. We also made our way to Hide Dam for drinks but along the way we bumped into two other clan members one of which was resting in the road. With the matriarch approaching things got very interesting and we were witness to some extraordinary Hyena behaviour. So good in fact that when they called in that they found the three Maghlatini Males we chose to stick with the Hyena's and see how things developed. As the matriarch approached the youngster lying in the road paid no interest and continued his nap but its companion began a low whimpering come growl and approached the matriarch. They both went about one another tails raised and sniffing one another's rear ends. The male then raised his leg in typical clan member fashion for the matriarch to sniff, she proceeded to do so but she did not raise her leg which is customary. This seemed to aggravate the situation and they both started to giggle and growl the whole time the matriarch keeping her hind legs collapsed not allowing the male access to sniff her genitals. When his persistence became to much she bite into his neck full force and began ripping at his throat. This happened with such veracity that saliva actually sprayed out on the side of the car. What we could not believe was that the male did not flinch at all, showed no sign of pain and most bazaar of all, did not retaliate in anyway. When the matriarch had finished venting she released her grip leaving clear bite marks on his neck that began to soak the surrounding fur blood red. Undetered he once again started the whole whimpering and growling and trying to sniff her genitals again while she tried to make her way to the dam. She seemed more tolerant this time round and walked off in a very crouched position almost dragging her rear end on the ground. This whole interaction was totally fascinating and immediately erased any thoughts of a quiet afternoon. We headed off for our sundowners at Hide Dam where we were later joined by the matriarch and the youngster both choosing to take a drink from the dam before plonking themselves in the water to cool before heading out on the hunt.

So I've learnt another thing this afternoon there is no such thing as a quiet day in the bush, there is always something to be seen and learnt.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I agree with your last comment. The bush will always have something for you to think or talk about. Thanks for sharing. Great photo of the owl.
    Cheers, Ilzett