Wednesday, 22 February 2012

21st February: Typical.

Pic Of The Day.

Morning Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack & Marka.)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Argyle Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Elephant Dam Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Entrance Dam Rd.
Leopard ( Machaton Male) / Peru – Lily Pan Rd.
Rhino ( Skittish Male)
Rhino ( Female & Calf)

Afternoon Drive.

( Shadrack & Marka.)

Rhino ( Mother & Calf)
Rhino ( Large Male)
Rhino ( 2 x Males)
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Vielmieter Access.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Madala Crossing.
Leopard ( Umfana Male) / Vielmieter – Entrance Dam.

Daily Synopsis.

Finding out during the course of the evening that our guests were checking out early we would only have two hours in the morning to find our Rhino. Heading out on drive we had two options either head to the South and try find our new mother Rhino and her calf or head to the West to find one of our now regular visitors from the Klaserie. We chose the latter as our Rhino in the South had not been seen in a couple of days now and they could be anywhere, even in the West, where we had originally found them. Having quite the area to check we moved swiftly through all the usual haunts not paying much attention to anything else. The radio had that familiar stillness about it like the afternoon before which didn't bode well when you have limited time.

While heading towards Lily Pan a lone voice from the back of our vehicle shouted out that they had seen a Lion. This was quite probable as the guys had been tracking the Mafikizolo Pride in the region the day before. When we backed up we found that instead of a Lion there was the very large Machaton Male Leopard making his way North through the Mopane Trees. Size wise he can easily be mistaken for a Lion specially at first glance. Today was one of his good days and he allowed us to follow him at a distance allowing us some great views of him. He slowly zig zagged between the Mopane thicket marking his territory. We eventually lost him in one of these thickets as we could not get around in time to relocate, which was just as well as we now were running out of time and still had Rhino on the agenda.

Continuing South along our Western Boundary things did not look good as we had found no signs or tracks for any recent Rhino activity. With time finally running out we decided to take another chance and head back along the main tar road back to Motswari, you never know what you will find. While travelling back North a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction flashed us down and explained that there was a very relaxed Rhino walking on a airstrip a little further to our North. Accelerating in his direction we crossed our fingers that we would get lucky in overtime. It was not to be on this occasion as we arrived to an empty airfield, double checking and driving the road twice more we still found now sign and eventually had to turn to home all feeling a little dejected. This feeling would only get worse for Jacky and I as Shadrack tracked and found our female and her new calf shortly before we closed down at the lodge. Given the distance and the time it would have been impossible to respond unless my guests wanted to miss another flight, which given they had missed two already we were tempted to ask. All in all we were very lucky in the two days they were here and saw and experienced some amazing sightings. We can't show everybody everything and we do like to leave something for a return trip, but don't tell anyone I said that!

I'll be taking a break from driving for the next week or so but will keep you updated with a sightings report plus the days highlights until Andrea takes over later in the week. Now I only need to let her know that, till then take care!

Oh as I said it would just be typical that the guys would have three different Rhino sightings in the afternoon!

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