Monday, 5 March 2012

04th March: A Rhino Or Two.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant.)

Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Argyle – Argyle Rd.
Rhino ( 2 x Males)
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Mbali – Buffalo Kill Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Timbavati/ Umbabat Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Apple Leaf Rd.
Rhino ( 2 x Males)
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

Going to bed to the roaring of Lions to the North of camp was a good sign which would only get better waking to them and by the sounds of things they had moved closer. While having morning coffee we could hear them moving slowly to the East. So setting off on drive we headed to the North East and Ingwelala Airstrip hoping that luck would shine on us as it was very close to our Northern traversing boundary. Not finding anything on the airstrip we continued North to check the tar road and shortly before arriving there we found tracks for what looked like an adolescent Lion heading to the North. We did not have to track for long before we could confirm that it had crossed out to the North. We still believe the others are in a very large block on Ingwelala and have a sneaky feeling it is the Timbavati Females and the Maghlatini Males, so we can only hope that they will move a little further to the South so we can confirm our suspicions.

We decided to stick to the tar road and head down our Western boundary not looking for anything imparticular but being aware that it is a good region for Rhino. As much as we don't like the tar road it is never a bad option first thing in the morning as many animals are attracted to it. On our journey we first found a nice herd of Giraffe followed by two very nice Elephant Bulls, one of which put on a very nice show for us. First eating at eye level alongside the vehicle and then drinking at a puddle below the road surface.

Continuing South we then found the Xinatsi Clan of Hyena's who are using a culvert under the road as a den. This morning two of the mothers were present with three of the youngsters. They all lay in the sand of the drainage line but one curious pup came up to greet us and sniff about the vehicle for something to chew on. 

While sitting with them we received news that two male Rhino had been found on our route a little further to the South. It appeared the tar road was the place to be and we once again set off South. Having taken our time getting to the sighting the previous station had left them unattended but was confident that they would not move far as they seemed very content grazing in the area. After finding there tracks and Jacky following up on foot for five minutes we found them not far away still grazing around the termite mounds in the area. These two males have become extremely relaxed with our presence and now approach the vehicles to within a couple of metres while they go about their feeding, which provides us with some great sightings. With not many vehicles driving we were able to spend some quality time with them eventually leaving them as they headed into thicker vegetation in search of shade. 

This was our cue to head for morning coffee after which we headed back North along the Eastern bank of the Tsharalumi Riverbed. With it having warmed up considerably everything seemed to have gone into hiding except a couple of Dagha Boys we found resting in a mud wallow the rest of the morning drive was a quiet one. We did receive a message from the guys on Bush work that they had found Kuhanya around Motswari Airstrip so lets hope she finds a nice Moerala Tree to rest in for the afternoon so we can find her later on drive.

With the temperaturess once again soaring during the day reaching a balmy 40C in the shade, Jacky and I looked rather to the bright side and fancied our chances in finding Kuhanya taking shelter in a Maroela Tree somewhere in thevicinityy she had been seen in the morning. We set off to check the area and all her favourite haunts in the region paying particular attention to all the large shady trees. Spending the vast majority of the first part of drive criss-crossing Motswari we came up empty handed and eventually resorted to checking an old pump house she likes to frequent on extremely warm days but even here there was no sign of her. With nowhere else to check we decided to head to the South West in search of the Rhino's that we had seen in the morning believing they definitely would not have travelled far. We would return to the area after dark to look for Kuhanya once more. On our way South we received the good news that the Rhino's had in fact not actually moved and were to be found in nearly the exact same spot as they had been in the morning. As it was a long drive it took us a fair time to get there but we were keen on the sighting as it was the one request of our new guests that had joined us for the next couple days. Along the way there we found a number of tracks and signs for a few different breeding herds of Elephant and eventually got lucky in bumping into a small herd that was spread out feeding. They too were feeling the heat and you could see that they had come from water being covered in mud.

Aware that we still had a long way to go we did not spend to much time with them but it was good to see that for the time being it looks like our herds are back. With not much else to distract us on our way to the Rhino we made good time and arrived shortly before sunset. This was perfect timing as they had just got mobile and slowly fed to the West in the perfect golden afternoon light. Once again with not to many stations driving we we had them all to ourselves and could spend the rest of the afternoon with them. I still cant believe how relaxed these two have become and we had them feeding within two metres of the car. This is a far shout from four months ago when you would only see their tails as the speedily ran for cover at about a hundred metres. Its a credit to the guides that work in the area to have them so relaxed and trusting.

With the light eventually failing us we headed off for a very chilled and relaxed sundowner watching the sun dip unobstructed behind the Drakensberg Mountains from our high vantage point. Resuming after drinks we made the long trip home but did leave enough time to check around Motswari once again for the elusive Kuhanya. Unfortunately she remained that way and we returned to camp content with our big game sightings for the day. Lets hope tomorrow is a Cat Day.

1 comment:

  1. I want to come there so bad! thank you for the wonderful pics and your great write ups. the y are so very uplifting to me! God bless you.