Wednesday, 11 April 2012

10th April: Falling Into Place.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Herold, Andrea & Chad.)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / DeLuca - Mpela–Mpela Pan.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Motswari Northern Access.
Rhino ( Female & Calf)

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Herold, Andrea & Robin.)

Leopard ( Makipi's Male) / Peru – Jacks Camp Crossing.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / DeLuca – Drongo Drive.

Daily Synopsis.

With one of my family's choosing to sleep in on their last morning, having seen some incredible sightings over the last three days, Jacky and I could concentrate on fulfilling another families safari dreams. On our radar for the morning was either Rhino or Lion with a number of general game to occupy the time in between. Having seen Buffalo from camp at morning coffee we chose to head to the West in search of Rhino but on hearing that a number of other stations had, had the same idea we quickly re-routed and headed off South towards were we thought the Mafikizolo Pride may pop up.

Herold headed off to the North East to check if the Lions that we had tracks for yesterday leaving our traversing area had, had a change of heart and turned around. Although he did not get lucky there he did relocate on the camps Buffalo and later found himself and his guests an impressive Bull Elephant as well. Andrea chose to head to the North West were she was in search of Zebra and Giraffe and it did not take her long before she found both in the same spot. Chad, well hmm...... all I'm saying is he and his guests were stopping for coffee within forty five minutes, and that is being generous, of their delayed start.

While others seemed to be having success we seemed to be choosing the routes of everyone else and had to once again deviate from our plan as we heard the area's we were heading had already been checked. Our luck would change though while sitting watching a very nice herd of Zebra taking a sand bath out in the open on Java airstrip. We received news that our relaxed female Rhino and her calf had been located and not very far from where we were, I guess all the re-routing was fate.

We arrived at the sighting to find mom and baby feeding in amongst a thicket surrounded by tall grass, not the greatest view ever but it looked like we would catch another break when mom headed in the direction of a clearing to the West. Rushing around we positioned ourselves in a good spot and waited for them to break through unfortunately baby decided this cool thicket with its long grass was the ideal spot to take a nap and it promptly lay down and disappeared. Mom proceeded to feed in a circle around it and also did not offer up much of a sighting. With not that much interest being shown in the sighting and the next station being some distance away, we decided to sit tight and hopefully they would move on. Shortly before we pulled out the sighting mom continued her journey into the clearing as she had now run out of feed in the immediate vicinity of her sleeping youngster. Not wanting to be left behind baby was up and following rejuvenated by it's power siesta it became very playful and began running about the place like a spring lamb, at one point even charging to within ten metres of the vehicle. I'm not sure if it was the increasing size of the approaching vehicle that stopped her in her tracks or the noise of the shutters of all our camera's going crazy as this cute youngster took us on. We continued to follow them for a while as both of them were very unperturbed by our presence and we had ourselves a great viewing of the two of them. With Andrea having also made her way down to view them we made space so that she could also enjoy the spectacle. 

After stopping for morning coffee we were very content with our mornings sightings and we made our way slowly back to the lodge taking in some of the smaller things on the way home.

Our afternoon started with myself and Herold heading off to the North of camp to follow up on Kuhanya who had been seen earlier on in the day lying in a Maroela Tree on the entrance road to Motswari. True to form she was no longer there when we arrived so Herold, myself, Goodman and Difference hoped off and tried to locate tracks so that we could get a direction to begin our search. Having seen a Jackal sniffing around in the area shortly before we arrived and then heading off to the East we were pretty sure she had headed that way. This was in fact confirmed by the tracks we found thirty minutes later. Knowing the direction we could now check the roads in the area to try speed up the process. With Herold checking the roads from the South and myself the ones from the North we both met up not having found any tracks crossing a parallel running road. So either we missed the tracks, quite probable, or she was still in the block. Returning to the last tracks we had Herold, Difference and Goodman set off on foot while I headed off in search of other game in the area. It was not long before I received a call from Herold informing me that they had heard Kuhanya calling while they were walking and had located her on foot and were now trying to relocate her with the vehicle. Not being far I joined them and together we drove the entire area trying to find her, stopping every couple of minutes to hear if something would give away her position but alas not. Having covered the entire area and not having anywhere else to check we decided to take sundowners in an area that she was last heard calling hoping that she would give herself away during our break. Drinks came and went and apart from a large Bull Elephant that joined us to drink in the nearby riverbed we found nothing else.

Needing a change of scenery we left the area back to the West once again given the slip by our resident female. With a little over an hour to drive Goodman and I decided to drive a loop to Vyeboom Dam see if we could get lucky with something else. Just as well we decided to head in that direction as it was not long before we received a call from Robin saying that he had found Makipi's Male along the Tsharalumi River. Andrea joined him as she was in the area as they both had travelled South to visit a breeding herd of Elephant a little further along the river. While the two of them kept hold of the sighting we made our way there hoping he would not disappear into the thick riverine vegetation. Luck was on our side this time as we arrived with him slowly making his way along the riverbed and although it was a distant visual by our standards we did get to see him clearly. Unfortunately it was not long lived though as he wove in and out of the surrounding bushes having us crossing frantically from East to West and back again. Eventually he too gave us the slip when he walked South onto Mbali Dam wall. Not that we could have followed him much longer as our time had now run out and we headed back to Motswari for dinner.


  1. I love the rhino pictures, with all the poaching going on you relise what a special sighting that is, and she is so cute.
    Thanks for the updates

  2. Wonderful! Baby Rhino is very special! look after it! Inge*