Thursday, 16 February 2012

15th February: Chad Must Be On Leave.

Morning Drive.

( Grant, Herold & Shadrack.)

Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Java – Buffalo Kill Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Voeldam.
Elephant ( Kamabaku) / JayDee – Tchwala Rd.
Elephant ( Kambakus) / Scholtz – Scholtz Big Dam.
Rhino ( 3 x Males.)
Leopard ( Ntombi Female) / JayDee – Hlaramisa Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Herold & Shadrack.)

Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Java – Crosiing Below Java.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Vielmieter – Hide Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Elephant Dam Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Vielmieter – Entrance Dam.
Rhino ( Maria & Calf)
Leopard ( Machaton Male) / Motswari – Motswari Reception Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

Thought I was going to get away with a very short blog this morning as it was a real struggle out there and I started to put together a collection of pictures of Tree Squirrels so I could at least have something to include in it as opposed to the normal Impala filler. Things were made to feel worse after the great afternoon of the day before. Jacky and I headed out to the North West to check on Argyle Jnr and her kill, while Herold headed to the South East and Shadrack went to the South West in search of Rhino.

With us only finding the nearly finished carcass in the tree and no Leopard in sight, big surprise with Argyle Jnr once it is light, we decided to head to Java and look for the granny of our Leopards, Mbali. We also decided to be a little adventurous and check out a number of roads and crossings that have not been driven since the floods. With time seeming to stand still I overheard a conversation between Herold and Shadrack, it was like an East versus West but not for the number of sightings but the lack there of. The two of them seemed to be having as much luck as we were, at least we were enjoying the 4x4 experience and putting our Landy to the test.

With nothing on the go we decided to take an early coffee break at Confluence Crossing which since the floods had now been turned into a massive beach. Resuming our driving experience we headed to the Back of Java to look for Mbali. It was while here that I received a radio message from Tiyani, Shadracks tracker, that he had found a relaxed female Leopard. I was a little confused at this as I did not even know they were tracking a Leopard and why was Tiyani telling me and not Shadrack. Not being in the immediate area I announced it on open channel for any station in the area to try go and establish the sighting and give Tiyani a hand in following her so we all could get a view. By the response you could hear that it had been quiet all round the reserve as all drives descended into the area. I then received a message from Shadrack telling me that once Tiyani had finished with the Leopard sighting he must head towards JayDee camp and collect Shadrack who had been off the vehicle tracking Rhino which he had now found. I later found out that they both had been tracking the Rhino but Tiyani had gone back to fetch the car when he heard Monkeys alarm calling and taking the initiative he investigated and found himself a Leopard that saved everyone's morning. A future guide in the making! With a lot of interest being showed in Ntombi we decided to head off a help Shadrack re-establish his Rhino sighting. They had moved from where they had been but with the temperature rising that had not been far and we found them again in the shade of a Mopane thicket. While sitting with them it looked like they would spend the whole day there and were only waiting for us to leave before lying down. Although the area was not great for photography we did have ourselves a great sighting of these three males.

Hearing that the Ntombi sighting had quietened down we took our leave of the Rhinos and headed in her direction which was just as well as when we arrived she started to come down from the tree she had been resting in and mobile in a Southerly direction towards the Tsharalumi River. We could not spend much time with her as the area was very thick but we did squeeze in a couple of great views before she lost us after crossing a seepage line that even with all our 4x4 practise earlier in the morning we would not be able to cross. It was just as well as we were once again very late for breakfast and not making any friends in the kitchen by staying out any later. Best we arrive back early tonight.

I should have made a collection of squirrel photo's for the afternoon only problem there were no squirrels along with not much else out there. We had to work very hard for the few sightings we did have and the only thing that can be said for my drive was that it was very pleasant and picturesque. We chose to head South for a change of scenery and wound our way between the three rivers and many dams of the area. The highlight of our afternoon was the sighting of a breeding herd of Elephant although it was very small it is the first herd we have had in a while, lets hope this is the beginning of the return of our pachyderms. Herold and Shadrack also had very limited success and Shadrack unfortunately found our new baby Rhino and it's mom after dark so he could not view them, hmm........ sounds familiar, glad I'm not the only one that happens to! Enjoying a beautiful sunset at Emkombi Pan we headed off shortly after the sun had set as we wanted to pop in at where Argyle Jnr had her Impala hoisted up in a Weeping Boerbean. We were hoping to have better luck after dark but as in the morning we only found the carcass, this time minus one of the legs so she had obviously been there sometime during the day. Think Klakiso's shyness is rubbing off on her! Shortly before closing down at Motswari I overheard a message from our night watchman that there was a Lion sitting in front of our reception. Accelerating our arrival we were sure he had meant a Leopard but sitting on top of our vintage Chevy fearing for your life you can be forgiven for the misidentification! We once again arrived minutes late and she had moved off. Disembarking Jacky and I quickly gave the surrounding area a once over and we smelt the odour of Leopard urine before we found tracks for a female Leopard that had headed East out of camp. Lets hope she is around in the morning to be found a visit from her is long overdue and now that Chad is on leave almost a guaranteed!


  1. Poor Chad, naughty Grant lol !! Thanks for the blog and for the squirrels, I love squirrels ;)

  2. Hope your luck changes soon! Great blog and beautiful pictures as always. Loved the zebra shot!