Photo of the Day
|Wild dogs on the hunt|
(Chad, Godfrey, Marka and Herold)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Wedge Northern Boundary
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access
3 x buffalos – Motswari, Umbabat Cutline
(Chad and Herold)
10 x wild dogs – Jaydee, Nkombi Pan
1 x leopard (Mbali female) – Java, Java Airstrip
1 x leopard (unidentified male) – Motswari, Sean’s Clearing
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female) – Motswari, Camp
2 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Argyle, Great North
3 x buffalo – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Mpisi Khaya Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Tamboti Pan
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Karans, Western Cutline
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Hippo Rocky Rd
Two of my guests arrived late last night, so joined for the first drive this morning – sadly it wasn't the sort of drive I wished to begin with! As usual, Sunday’s are always quiet out here! This morning was no different.
Heading off to check north of the camp for some leopard, or hopefully a lion popping in from Ingwelala, we found very little! We did come across a small herd of elephants with a young baby that we spent time with, but besides some kudu and a few impala herds, it was quiet.
Well, I thought that was quiet until the rest of the drive unfolded! For the last two hours, we saw not much at all – a few distant hippos, crocodiles, nice birds, impalas and their babies, a business of mongooses, a troop of baboons and a lot of trees!
Towards the end of the drive we found some kudu bulls and a large giraffe, but overall it was not the most memorable morning for me!
This despite starting off with potential! A pack of wild dogs were found on our southern boundary, but crossed south into Kings Camp where they were lost – stations tried to relocate for most of the morning with no luck. It was thus mildly amusing that Peter from Simbavati found another pack by chance on his way home on the opposite side of the reserve! While they could be members from the same pack, they definitely were not the same dogs everyone was looking for – something to look forward to for the afternoon I guess! The Ross Pride had also finished their buffalo and moved back to the Klaserie, so now the lion struggle resumes!
The afternoon was indeed better – the wild dogs were still resting at Nkombi Pan, so most stations headed in that direction – this was accentuated when Giyani bumped into some rhinos in the area too; not wanting to rush straight there, I went to check a bit of the east first, and managed to tick off a few species that included three buffalos, as well as some zebras, impala and a lone wildebeest together on Kudu Pan Clearing.
|Zebra, wildebeest and impala on Kudu Pan Clearing|
Carrying on slowly to follow up on the rhinos, my timing turned out to be poor as a few vehicles got to the area first and took a long time to find the rhinos again. I thus had to drive around to kill time while they looked for them – I did find a herd of elephants and spent a bit of time with them, but they were highly mobile, so it was not the easiest sighting.
|Impala on Java Airstrip|
The rhinos were eventually located, but as there were already a few vehicles in the immediate area, I had to move on, but it wasn't the end of the world, as the wild dogs had just woken up and got mobile to the south. I arrived to find them running down the road and followed for a while before they shot off into the thickest of blocks towards Sweetwater Pan!
|Wild dog pack on the move|
We tried to follow, but had no luck; guessing they would end up at the pan, we made it through and arrived about a minute before the dogs did! After they crossed the Nyosi riverbed, we lost them.
|Catching up to the dogs again|
It got too dark, so we headed the long way back towards camp – luckily the trip was broken by a quick stop at Mbali female leopard after Giyani found her near Java Camp. As she was showing interest in impalas, I didn’t want to view her with the light, so we left her after a couple of minutes. We also saw a porcupine on the airstrip.
|Mbali - settling into a new territory on Java?|
Godfrey and Marka had similar drives, but added a herd of buffalo to the mix, and Godfrey got to see a young male leopard on Sean’s Clearing – Dave meanwhile was enjoying an afternoon in camp when Kuhanya came waltzing through!
So all in all a day that ended well – just hope some lions pop up tomorrow – with the buffalo herds back, I’m sure some will!