Sunday, 11 December 2011

10 December: Wrong Place, Wrong Time.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Herold & Shadrack.)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Wild West.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Vielmieter – Phiva Rd.
Leopard ( Ntombi) / Kings – Tamboti Drive.
Leopard ( Unknown Male) / JayDee – Makulu Crossing.
Wilddog ( 13 x Pack) / Argyle – Peru Airstrip.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Herold & Shadrack.)

Wilddog ( 13 x Pack) / Peru – Peru Entrance.
Rhino ( Tshangula)
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Scholtz – Scholtz Airstrip.
Leopard ( Vyeboom Dam Female) / Peru – Peru Entrance.

Daily Synopsis.

Waking to very clouded sky's and the temperature having dropped somewhat from the previous days, it resembled more a winters morning than summer. Sitting at morning coffee we all discussed our plans of action for the morning and where we were going to check. Herold was going to head straight South check on the Hyena Den and then lookfor Leopard in the South, while Shadrack was heading to the North and then along the Western boundary we would check around Motswari and slowly drift to the South West in search of Leopard or Rhino. Soon after setting off on drive it began to drizzle a fine mist this was not conducive to good game viewing. So when Ntombi was found in the South everyone's plans went out the window and headed in her direction rather wanting to play it safe with a confirmed sighting. With the number of vehicles responding we decided to stick to our plan and after checking around Motswari we headed to the West. We would respond to the Leopard later, if we did not find our own, and / or she was still around. No point in rushing off and missing everything along the way! With hind sight maybe we should of as apart from a couple Dagha Boys and a Elephant Bull we had ourselves a very quiet morning. 

To make matters worse Ntombi crossed out of our traversing and only Shadrack got to see her for a quick five minutes. Finding ourselves in the far South Western corner we decided to take a coffee break at Elephant Dam and plan our next move. While on break Herold drove by saying that fresh Rhino tracks had been found to the West of us having driven the far Western Boundary and not seen anything we thought we might be close. Resuming after coffee we headed into the area to try help track, with four of us working in the area and another two on the outskirts it gave you the feeling everyone was a little desperate for something to rescue their morning drive. I know we were! Pushing the boundary on time we checked the entire area about four times over and still found nothing. With the trackers on foot they would keep us constantly updated on direction and areas that we should check. By the end of the morning we had gone full circle and we now did not know whether we were coming or going as it appeared to walk the same circuit again. Thankfully we ran out of time and the circus came to an end. With a long way home we headed back North to face the wrath of the kitchen. Being late and in trouble already we all did not hesitate in responding to our pack of thirteen Wilddog who had been found very near our Northern Boundary. 

As I said at the beginning, the moment everyone immediately responded to the sighting in the South we would be leaving behind something in the North, hmm........I wonder what else we missed out on. Hopefully that'll teach us to check our own area first.

With things a little warmer and drier in the afternoon we held big hopes for the drive hoping that the animals that were missing in the morning would reappear. Herold and Shadrack were after Lion or Leopard so they took a chance and headed to the East hoping to get lucky with Kuhanya or maybe the Sohobele's. Once again having new guests I could not afford to take a chance and we decided to play it safe and stick to the more productive areas of Argyle and Sohobele Dams. We may not get the Big Five but if times were quiet on that front at least we were guaranteed general game. We could not sit back and relax though as our two guests that arrived the day before still needed Rhino and Leopard.

Hearing that the Wilddog were still in the vicinity of where they had been in the morning we decided to head in their direction as it was nice and open and a number of Impala frequent the area. While making our way there Giyani radioed in that he had found Tshangula, one of our large male Rhino's, along the Tsharalumi River. Hmm......... what to do, what to do? At first we decided to respond to the Rhino but then changed our mind as the drive would flow a lot better if we went to the Wilddogs first. It would also mean we would not be double backing on ourselves and could drift to the Central and Southern regions afterwards.

We were quite fortunate in our choice as when we arrived the dogs were all up as they showed some semi interest in some nearby Impala but this quickly subsided and they went back to resting in amongst some shrubs. By the time we left they had moved into a nearby drainage line seeking shelter from the warming afternoon. 

Hearing that Tshangula had lay down in a mud wallow we took a nice easy drive down the Tsharalumi River towards him. When we arrived with him we found him very comfortable in a mud wallow beside the road. He had slumped himself down in it and looked ever so content. While sitting with him he would give out these huge sighs that sounded like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders, such a tough life! Eventually leaving him to his mud bath we continued South to look for Leopard. 

While we did not have much luck in the South the guys up North did manage to find themselves a Leopard. She was not far from Wilddog and not having seen her I'm not sure who it was but apparently she was very relaxed and went about hunting Impala along a drainage line without any care for the vehicles presence. The name Vyeboom Dam female was mentioned and she is apparently found in and around the area of the dam. On the occasions that I've seen her she has been a little shy so it's good to hear that she is relaxing. Being literally on the opposite side of the reserve we did not even entertain the thought of responding and visited the Hyena Den instead. 

Our first attempt did not yield any luck but returning after sundowners we found the two youngsters outside. We sat with them a while and hoped that their aunt would appear and draw out the latest pups but with it getting dark we eventually had to leave. As we pulled out looking down the road we could see the distinctive silhouette of a Hyena making it's way in our direction, kind of the story of our afternoon. 

With it being my guests last drive in the morning I hope our friends with spots play along!

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