Tuesday, 17 April 2012

16th April: Following Up!

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Andrea & Shadrack.)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Vielmieter Access.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Java – Buffalo Kill.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Mopani Link.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Vielmieter – JayDee Access.
Rhino ( Female & Calf)
Lion ( Machaton Pride) / Umlani – Donga Lookout.
Leopard ( Machaton Male?) / JayDee – Makulu Plains.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Andrea & Shadrack.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Sharalumi Access.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter - 2nd Tsharalumi Crossing.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Rhino ( 2 x Males)

Daily Synopsis.

Having had a very good afternoon the previous day it to took a lot of pressure off for today, and we could afford to bumble around and try fill in the gaps. Still needing Rhino and Buffalo they were on the periphery of our radar. Hearing Shadrack was heading straight South to follow up on the Buffalo we had seen after dark, not that he needed Buffalo, it was more to see what had become of the male Lions we had been tracking the other day. See if they had not perhaps picked up on the Buffalo and were now maybe following them. We chose to head out West and then turn South along the Tsharalumi River eventually trying to get where they had left the two Rhino from the previous afternoon.

Our journey had us finding Wildebeest, Hippo, Impala, Steenbok, Waterbuck and Zebra all before the river. Turning South we picked up relatively fresh tracks for a herd of Elephant but they crossed the river to the West where we have no crossing so it would have been a major detour for us to continue to follow up. Trying not to get distracted to much we continued towards the Rhino tracks. Two more distractions would delay us, the first being a Dagha Boy who sat in amongst some raison bushes clearly resting after a recent mud bath. 

The second was a large male Leopard, who at first we thought was a lioness due to it's sheer size as it sat atop a termite mound in the open area of Makulu Plains. We were not to sure who it was so kept our distance and viewed him for a while, it was only when we tried edging closer that he stood and began Leopard crawling off the back of the mound. With not to much shelter around he was a little exposed and we were able to relocate, he allowed us to get fairly close but was always wary of the vehicle and once given the chance he moved off. We followed him a short while at a distance, not so much to view him but rather to try habituate him to the vehicle and show him that we are no threat to him, maybe over time we can get him to relax. 

With time now being against us we had to push a little bit to try locate on our Rhino tracks. Finding the tracks was very simple and we thought to ourselves all we need do now is follow them. Should have touched wood as shortly after following the tracks West across the River we located on what looked like another set of tracks for a single male heading to the North West, while our two headed to the South West. Both set of tracks looked of similar age. To add to the challenge while checking the tracks on foot we found a third set of tracks, this time for a female, they were heading to the West and yet again looked of similar age. Feeling a headache coming on we decided the best way forward was to leave Jacky on foot while I checked the surrounding area with the vehicle. See if we could speed things up a little and maybe clear some of the confusion. While I drove around I located on the male track heading to the North but chose to ignore it and head further to the South West, where I know found tracks for two Rhino's but know heading to the North as well. Meanwhile Jacky had walked himself in a complete circle with his females tracks and now found himself following what we thought was the male tracks North. If none of this makes sense to you, don't worry, it didn't to us either! A certain migraine was saved when a message came across the radio that our relaxed female and her calf had been found. Receiving an invitation from Kings both Jacky and I decided rather go with the safe option. It was just as well we did as along the way we relocated on a breeding herd of Buffalo that had been found by Shadrack earlier in the morning and then we found ourselves a nice herd of Zebra and a lone male Giraffe. Guess things do happen for a reason.

Spending a little time with them all we finally made it to the female and her calf. It is amasing how relaxed this little one has become in so short a period. With a little patience and positioning yourself correctly both mom and baby will walk right up to the vehicle feeding. The calf will charge up to you but once she feels the distance between herself and mom is to great she will turn and run back to mom's side, once gaining confidence she will venture forward again in a replay of her previous action. 

Never having enough time on game drive we eventually had to leave to make our way home for brunch and maintain our friendship with the kitchen.

With Jacky and I having travelled some distance in the last two drives we were very keen to stick around the North and have a relaxing afternoon with our only concern being to find Giraffe. Hearing that Shadrack had found a massive herd of Elephant whilst on walk it gave us further reason to stick in and around Motswari.

Shadrack himself wanted to follow up on the two Rhino we were unable to find in the morning, while Andrea headed West in search of Makipi's and his brother who again had been found in the morning at the site of their kill.

Checking all the roads to the East and North of the camp we did not find any sign that the Elephant had crossed that way. We did find tracks for them coming from the East to the West though, so figured they would continue in that direction and headed off to the West to continue our search. We thought all was lost when we found tracks crossing to the North and out of our traversing area but while sitting there contemplating our next move we noticed these great grey objects milling about on a hill near the horizon. Moving closer they took on the distinctive shape of our herd of Elephant. We were in luck as they must have looped around and re-entered our area. Making our way towards them we found them all huddled in separate groups with a number a large males present. One of which was in musth but he appeared very calm and payed us no attention as we moved from group to group. While sitting with one of these groups we found out why our Elephant had returned. Apart from the other males and the one in late musth there appeared another massive bull that had all the Elephant running in all directions as he directed his wrath at the other musth bull. Not being as big and also being at the end of his musth period he gave flight and we watched as the two of them went crashing over and through the bushes towards the horizon. We chose to try relocate the rest of the herd who had gone in the opposite direction but no sooner had we found them, the two bulls came crashing through the bushes in our direction and once again we had elephant heading all over the place. Having spent considerable time with the herd before all the excitement we decided to move on and see what else we could find.

The rest of our drive was very relaxed as we took in anything and everything around us, we even took the time to watch the sunset, which is rarity for Jacky and I. Shortly after sunset we had a great herd of Zebra and after dark we found ourselves a Chameleon and a couple of Hippo's out the water thus ending the relaxed drive we were looking for.

Shadrack had a relatively busy afternoon all be it finding everything shortly before sunset. He located on the two Rhino and also a herd of Elephant, fifty strong, both these sightings came together and must have been something to see. Andrea was less fortunate as Makipi's and Shindzuti evaded her but she was driving a beautiful area and no doubt picked up on lots of smaller things.

I'll be handing over the blog for the next couple of days to Andrea, so as you can get a different perspective and will be back on the weekend. Till then, take care.

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