Tuesday, 6 March 2012

05th March: Coming Unstuck.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant.)

Rhino ( Unknown Male)
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Scholtz – Scholtz River Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant & Marka.)

Leopard ( Machaton Male) / Peru – Broken Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Whitey's Rest.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Tchwala Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Java – Java Dam.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Mbali – Buffalo Kill Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

There is not much I can say about this mornings drive except that the weather was good and that it was a pleasant drive. Jacky and I love being out no matter the conditions or whether we seeing anything or not, naturally we want to show all of our guests the splendours and wonders of the area we work in but one must realise the the quiet periods are all part of the splendour and wonder and when you do see something it makes it all that more special. We are generally spoilt and I think we have come to take things for granted, the floods changed all that and given us a clean slate to start over and look at things through new eyes. Jacky and I certainly have come to appreciate the area and all the small things that it offers which we now try include on all our drives.

We started drive this morning giving Kuhanya one more chance to reveal herself and checked the wedge North of camp. As was with yesterday she remained elusive and on this occasion we found absolutely no trace of her. I guess we will have to wait and see when and where she pops up again, as they say, “ A leopard only allows you to see it if it wants to be seen.”

Having not been to the far South since being back on drive we decided to head in that direction for a change of pace and scenery. I'm not sure why it took us that long to get down there as we saw very little along the way but by the time we arrived two thirds of the morning was gone. Up until then we had only a moggy herd of Zebra and Wildebeest, that were running backwards and forwards on Java airstrip for no apparent reason, to show for our effort. We had contemplated responding to a sighting of our female Rhino and her very young calf but when we heard they were not that relaxed and kept moving from the vehicle we decided against it, not wanting to put any pressure on the two of them.

The most excitement of our drive came after coffee when we ventured to the far South East corner of our traversing area. We had not been here since the floods and when we came to a river crossing which we thought we could cross easy we quickly found out that we couldn't. This was even after Jacky checked the stability of the soil and gave me the go ahead, I guess he is not quiet as heavy as a Land rover, yet! Sinking down to the axils and planting the undercarriage firmly on the riverbed we were going nowhere. Trying our luck several times in reverse and then again forward we only succeeded in embedding ourselves further. Deciding to off load everyone we all set about collecting rocks and tree stumps to place under the wheels. To do this we had to jack up each individual tyre, which was a challenge in itself as the jack kept sinking into the soft river sand. A combination of the jack and digging away from under the tyre we were able to get sufficient rocks and logs in and under the vehicle to get traction. While the vehicle was up we also dug out the axils and sump so no drag would pull us back down. With everyone pushing from the front we reversed with relative ease out, I don't know what everyone was so worried about, it was merely a temporary delay. Ok maybe the fact that it was late and no one else was left out driving and that we were in the middle of no where had something to do with it, but you can't buy adventures like this these days!

Winning no friends in the kitchen we rushed back to camp. Marka and Patrick will be joining on drive this afternoon, this should make things a little easier with more eyes out there. Lets hope they bring their magic with them as well!

We were in for another scorcher on afternoon drive the only difference being that the wind had picked up and this made it somewhat more bearable. It also seemed to have an effect on the animals as there were far more of them out and about. Don't get excited yet, although they were out it did not mean they wanted to be viewed and the wind made them very weary. Should you even think of getting close they would move off into thick vegetation, so the majority of our sightings for the afternoon were at a distance.

We once again stuck to our tried and trusted formula of checking the Dams in the North followed by heading down the Tsharalumi River to the South. We were all keen on finding some form of cat or other, tell you the truth I would take a domestic one at this stage! Our trip around the dams yielded us some nice antelope which would include, Impala, Kudu and Waterbuck, add Hippo and Crocodile and it was pretty productive.

Along the Tsharalumi we were looking for our spotted friends but instead found a small group of Dagha Boys who seem to have taken up residence in this one particular spot. Having now said this the next time we need a Buffalo they sure not to be there. Heading further South we found ourselves a nice herd of Elephant who's tracks we had been following for some time. Unfortunately they were the skittish of the lot and being in a Mopane thicket did not help matters. Every time we moved into a position to view them they would turn in the opposite direction and move off even though we gave them plenty of space. This eventually became comical and we eventually must have looked like a sheep dog herding it's flock, it certainly felt like it. Anticipating there next move we drove a wide arc and then sat some distance off waiting for them to approach us. This seemed to work well, with some of them at least, the matriarch still avoided us and kept to the thick Mopane but some of the herd approached and fed around us. Not wanting to unsettle them any more than we had already we sat there until they all had drifted off and only then did we move off from the sighting, hopefully instilling a little confidence in us and the vehicle.

We continued to the South West corner and checked extensively along the Tsharalumi in a region Ntombi likes to frequent and where she has used now on both occasions to den her cubs. Unfortunately we found no signs for her and eventually drifted off for our sundowner at the nearby Elephant Dam. The rest of our drive was to be a quiet one only finding a Chameleon after dark.

Marka's drive was very similar to ours except he had travelled South down the Eastern side. On his return home however he did find himself a large male Leopard sleeping on a dam wall. This however did not last for long, well not long enough for us who had turned around from the Motswari reception and made our way all the way back in the hope of seeing him, as he woke and then wandered off into the riverbed that was inaccessible to man or beast, beast being the vehicle!

This now leaves us with a lot to do in the morning as all our guests check out lets hope our animals all come out to bid them farewell.

1 comment:

  1. After all that rocking, and pushing and pulling you and the guests certainly deserve to see a leopard tomorrow, lets hope Kuhanya will emerge from wherever she is hiding!
    Sue and John