Friday, 24 February 2012

23 Feb - Sun, mud and wind

Photo of the Day
 Morning Drive
(Herold, Shadrack & Andrea)

Buffalo (Breeding Herd) / Hidden Away Pan - Scholtz
Elephant (Kambaku)/ Motswari -  Motswari Airstrip

Afternoon Drive
(Herold, Shadrack, Andrea & Marka)

Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Vielmeter  - Nyoshi Crossing
Buffalo (Dagha Boy) / Vielmeter - Shlralumi Crossing/ Vielmeter – Albert Cutline

After not having seen the Buffalo yesterday, Petros and I decided to head straight to Scholtz in an attempt of picking up the tracks and relocating. They were last seen at Kudu Pan so we tried there first. Although there were no buffalo, there was an amazing sunrise and a beautiful herd of Zebra.

We continued to wind our way through past Kudu pan, every now and then finding buffalo tracks and redirecting ourselves. After about an hour and a half of tracking, we eventually met up with the breeding herd of buffalo as they wallowed in Hidden Away Pan.  This herd had certainly perfected the art of a good mud wallow, and we had an amazing sighting watching them twist and turn and kick up mud. One even began to poke and prod another with his horns in order to gain the prime wallowing spot! It was an incredibly entertaining sighting and after they had finished, the herd moved off into the mopane thicket, with a heavy cloud of flies trailing behind.

Herold and Shadrack had spent most of the morning following up on lion tracks however; these lions were not in the mood to be found.  I made my way towards camp, planning on doing a loop around the Wedge. On Motswari airstrip we found another herd of Zebra, with a young one who did not feel like getting up and following the herd. Eventually the mother came back for quick reprimand, and the youngster finally stirred. An old bull Elephant, covered in red dust, was at the other end of the airstrip and we managed to view him briefly before he moved off into thicker vegetation.

By the afternoon, the wind had picked up considerably and ominous rain clouds began to form in the south. With the gusty conditions, the animals were a little more skittish and rather scarce. We did find a healthy sized herd of wildebeest on Java airstrip, which at first ran off but settled enough for a good view.

Still hoping for giraffe, we headed further south where we came across a breeding herd of elephant. They were quite spread out amongst vegetation and we stayed with a mother and her youngster for a considerable time until an enormous bull in musth disturbed the peace.

Shadrack had found some giraffe further west so we redirected ourselves and headed there. By this stage the wind was rather fierce and the sky almost black, so after a quick giraffe sighting we started back up north.

Luckily the wind blew most of the cloud cover as by the time we were almost back at camp, the Milky Way was clear in sight and on the last bend, just to top things off, we spotted a Puff Adder on the side of the road trying to soak up any left over heat from the morning’s sun.

Although windswept, a good day nonetheless!

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