Tuesday, 21 February 2012

20th February: The Good Times Keep On Rolling, Well Almost!

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Herold, Shadrack & Marka.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Timbavati/ Umbabat Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Lily Pan Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Motswari – Ingwelala Boundary.
Rhino ( 2 x Males)
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Argyle – Vyeboom Dam.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Peru – Klipgat Crossing.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Herold, Shadrack & Marka.)

Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Hidden Away Pan.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Wedge River Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Dizzy Drive.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Lion ( 3 x Jacaranda Sub – Adults) / DeLuca – Argyle Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

After our successful afternoon the day before I had a number of additions to the Christmas wish list at dinner. So we set off on morning drive in search of a herd of Elephant with babies, Hippo, Giraffe and Zebra. Not a tall order except the Giraffe that is, apologies couldn't help myself, think I need to get out more often! Hippo was an easy one as all we had to do was head for the nearby Argyle Dam and we found them resting in the water alongside the dam wall. There are a number of family groups in the dam now and it was great to sit there and listen as they communicated to and in between one another, add the call of a nearby Fish Eagle and we had two iconic sounds of Africa to accompany our sunrise. While enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the dam first thing in the morning we received a message from Herold informing us that he had found the next item on our wish list, a large breeding herd of Elephant with a number of young. Not wanting to take a chance and miss out we changed our original plan of heading to the West and turned back to the East towards Xinatsi Dam. It was not long before we were sitting in amongst a very relaxed breeding herd of Elephant and it was once again nice to be absorbed into the herd as they went about their mornings business around us not paying us any attention. Well except a couple of cheeky youngsters that wanted to show us who was boss. They would approach the vehicle ears spread but when they realised they were a little beyond the distance of their mothers security they would turn around and catch a speed wobble running back in her direction. Spending as much time with them as possible they eventually moved off into a very thick area of Mopane that we could no longer follow them.














Now being in the East we decided to head to the open plains of that area and see if we could get lucky with the Zebra that frequent that area. We were somewhat disappointed when we did not find them in their usual place but this was short lived as checking the surrounding areas we eventually found ourselves three different family groups. 









Satisfied with our mornings work we decided to head for a cup of coffee via the Kruger cutline. It was on our way there that we found a very nice herd of Giraffe. If I didn't know better I would have thought that there was someone releasing the animals from their cages as we drove by, our timing was impeccable and clearly we have it back! While we fulfilled our final wish before coffee, Herold and Shadrack had headed West in search of Rhino.







While Herold and Difference tracked a Rhino in and around Java that seemed to be running them in a circle, Shadrack found himself two of our relaxed males very close to our Western boundary. Tired and getting dizzy Herold headed in his direction. It would appear everyone was getting their mornings wishes all except poor Marka who once again persevered in searching for the Wilddog that had been in the North the day before.

With our list done we resumed after coffee taking in anything and everything whilst our guests decided on what they wanted to add for the afternoons drive. We drifted off to Vyeboom Dam were we were originally heading earlier in the morning before our course was altered. We found ourselves a nice Dagha Boy lying in a puddle who obviously had settled in for the day, this brought us one closer to fulfilling our “Big Five” list as well.





This seemed to jog our guests memory's and now Rhino is the order of the afternoon to complete it. Not far from where we had found the Buffalo a sighting of Argyle Jnr and her two cubs were reported. We decided to push our luck and see if we could see her and get a glimpse of her cubs but she was walking up a steep drainage line that were it didn't have very long grass it would be replaced by the ever thick Terminalia bushes. Needless to say we got to see long grass and some fine specimens of very thick terminalia, guess not everything can go your way in a morning. Lets see what the afternoon holds for us.

With Rhino being the object of our afternoon we headed straight to the West hoping to follow up on the two Rhino that the guys had in the morning. Receiving new guests Marka chose to stay in the North and spend time with a herd of Elephant that had been hanging around the water in front of the lodge all afternoon. Herold was also after Rhino and he chose to head South and try his luck with our new mother and her calf.

With not much being seen out there we were not delayed in getting to the area they had left the Rhino. We picked up on the tracks quickly unfortunately they were heading West and towards our traversing boundary that was not far away. Jacky went onto foot while I checked the surrounding pans, dams and wallows for any sign of our prehistoric jaganuoghts. While sitting with a couple of beautiful Kudu Bulls I heard Jacky's voice come over the radio calling out for me. His tone was that of when he finds something and I monetarily got excited to hear what it was but he then became a kill joy and informed me he had found the spot where they had crossed into the Klaserie, our neighbouring reserve. We stayed in the West hoping to find other Rhino's that frequent the area but our drive turned very quiet along with everyone else's and the best thing of our afternoon was our sundowner on Java airstrip with the view of an unobstructed golden sun setting beyond the Northern Drakensberg Mountains. We couldn't even find ourselves a Chameleon to resuscitate our dead afternoon. Marka did have himself a little more lucky in the North as they found the three Jacaranda sub- adults, clearly not having moved far from where they had been the day before. 






We are once again with our backs to the wall and can only hope that our luck changes in the morning.

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