|Pic of the Day.|
( Grant, Chad, Petros & Shadrack.)
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Windy Way.
Buffalo ( Daghaboy) / Peru – Pan Rd.
Leopard ( Mhakipi's Madoda) / Peru – Giraffe kill Rd.
Lion ( Jacaranda Pride & White Timbavati Female) / Peru – Nhlaru Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Woza Woza Cutline.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Motswari – Airstrip Link.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / DeLuca – Timbavati/ Umbabat Cutline.
( Grant, Chad, Shadrack, Godfrey & Andrea.)
Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – North Motswari Camp.
Leopard ( Machaton Male) / Karans – Western Cutline.
Leopard ( Unknown Male) / Mbali – Woza Woza Cutline.
Lion ( Jacaranda Pride & White Timbavati Female) / Peru – Nhlaru Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Hanger Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Vielmieter – Entrance Dam.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Vielmieter – Nyosi River Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Long Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Argyle – Argyle Dam.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Sohobele Plains.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Java – Java Dam Access.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Enkombi Pan Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Peru Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Hippo Rocky Rd.
Rhino ( Rose & Maria)
Happy New Year to you all and wishing you all the best for the upcoming year. We hope that it's a year full of realised dreams and that we get to share some of those here with you at Motswari!
Starting a little later this morning for obvious reasons it became quickly apparent that time waits for no animal, as they were out in full force treating us to the best start you could ask for in the New Year. With our guests having seen a fair amount we needed to fill in the smaller things. As we made our way out towards Sohobele Dam the radio came alive with a buffet of sightings around the reserve. Chad had found himself his long sought after herd of Buffalo. Pete had found the Jacaranda Pride and White Timbavati Female not far from where they had been the day before and Diff had found Mhakipi's Madoda and his brother in their favourite spot along Giraffe Kill Road. Still needing to fill the gaps for two of our guests who skipped the previous mornings drive we decided to head to the two brother Leopards. This was a risky choice as firstly we do not have a good track record with them and secondly the area they frequent is along the Tsharalumi Riverbed and they always tend to move off into the thick vegetation on the riverbank. Being a New Year and Jacky's Birthday we thought maybe our luck would be different today so we chose to head in their direction first. They had remained static the entire time we made our way towards the sighting and as soon as we were in the vicinity they became mobile. It was not long before the shyer of the two was lost leaving us with Mhakipi's very close to the riverbed. Realising the vulnerability of the sighting the guys worked well together to get through the sighting as quickly as possible so that as many of us could get the chance to see him. We had a great sighting of him all had it been very short. He posed nicely for us sighting on a termite mound at eye level ten metres away. It amazes me how relaxed this young Leopard is and is surely one of our stars to be.
Having had our chance we moved off along the Tsharalumi River towards Mbali Dam looking for Hippo to fulfill one of our mornings quests. We once again got lucky with two Hippo's fighting with another one trying to force him out the water. It was great to watch as these huge beasts chased one another around and I think we were all quite surprised at their speed and ferociousness. There fighting continued for a full fifteen minutes and only let up when one of them tried to gracefully back down. Continuing around the corner we found the source of their feud as there was a very large group of females with their young.
Having not had a great view of the Buffalo the day before we decided to relocate on the herd Chad had had earlier. Although they had moved a considerable distance from where he had had them, it did not take us long to relocate on them this time round and we found them out in the clearing of Bee-eater Plains offering us great views this time round.
Finding ourselves out in the East we continued towards the Kruger Park boundary looking for the last of our mornings mission, Zebra. With the wide open plains of Kudu Pan it offers the ideal habitat for our striped friends and it did not take us long to find them in amongst the long grass. Finding all we had to and more our morning was complete and we took a scenic route back home along the Kruger Park boundary.
The rest of the gang had as good a morning as we did and between all of us we had a great start to the New Year, lets see what surprises the bush has for us this afternoon.
Closing down after afternoon drive I mentioned to Chad that I'd be up all night trying to recount our amazing afternoon, to which he responded I should just say, “ see the list above!” Needing a good nights sleep I'm not going to be able to tell you all that happened to us on drive but I will tell you a couple of the highlights. With us not needing anything but Baboons on our afternoon drive we had no pressure what so ever and we had one of those rare drives where we could simply bumble around and take in what came our way. With nearly all the other guides receiving new guests they still had all the hard work to do and the majority of them chose to stick to the North as the game viewing has been very good over the last couple of days.
The monkeys had been alarm calling intermittently through out the day and as I had mentioned yesterday Kuhanya was due her visit. Knowing Chad would not be able to resist the temptation of looking for his girlfriend we set off towards Argyle and Sohobele Dam. While we found Elephant Bull after Elephant Bull it did not take Chad long to locate his loved one. She was resting up in a Maroela Tree a few hundred metres North of camp. With most of the stations showing an interest in the sighting it gave us further reason to head South, along the way we continued to find Elephant Bulls in different groupings and as we headed further South we started to pick up on the breeding herds.
We once again popped in to check Java for any signs of Mbali but yet again she let us down. Later in the afternoon though Marka did find the large Machaton Male in a very similar area that we had driven. While making our way to Hide Dam I received a message from Giyani, who knew we were in the area, informing us that if we wanted to see two Rhino's he had located them a little South of Hide Dam. Being in the area we joined him as Rose and Maria slowly made their way along the No Name River feeding. Having had a great sighting of Mtenga-tenga the evening before we did not spend much time with them and we soon set off again towards Elephant Dam.
Not finding much there but a lot of water we continued on to Sweetwater where we found a large Dagha Boy herd resting in the shade of some large trees.
With the sun fast approaching the horizon we pushed towards Enkombi Pan for sundowners where we got to share our drinks with another breeding herd of Elephant.
Resuming after a beautiful sunset we started our long journey back North intending to visit the Lions on our way home. It was not long before we found ourselves yet another breeding herd of Elephant but this one was a little different as they all gravitated around one large female feeding but not moving off. We made our way round to this particular female expecting her to move off on our approach but she stood her ground and continued with her feeding. As she was standing on the road we were within metres of her when we noticed a very young calf lying down at her feet. At first we thought it was sleeping as we could see the chest rising up and down but we thought it a little unusual as it did not pay any attention to us at all. We slowly moved around so that we could get a better view. Still no movement, which concerned us more. It also had it's eyes open, so it was totally aware of our presence but it did not budge a muscle. We sat within metres of it and it's mother who also paid us very little attention and went about her feeding totally unconcerned. This gave me a little faith that everything was ok with the calf but as time wore on and there was still no movement we became very concerned. Especially after all the speculative guesses to why and what was wrong with it reared there ugly heads as the time passed. Loosing light fast the mother seemed to halt her feeding and begin nudging the calf with her foot to which it responded to in a high pitched squeal. It slowly and drowsly made it's way to it's knees and then finally to it's feet where it looked a little wobbly. A big sigh was released from the vehicle when it took it's first step seemingly unsure of it's balance towards mom. It was only then that we registered how small and hairy it was, obviously being only a couple weeks old. As it gained it's balance it began walking by mom's side trying to suckle to which she responded by stopping in the centre of the road to feed her calf.
Clearly the heat of the day and trying to keep up with the herd was to much for it and it needed to rest before trying to continue. We were all glad we had waited out to see what happened as I think if we had left, many a question would have gone unanswered and a restless night would have followed. Having burnt up all our time and some with the Elephant we could not visit the Lions and had to make our way home.