Wednesday, 18 April 2012

17 April - Beautiful!

Photo of the Day

Morning Drive
(Shadrack, Grant & Andrea)

Lion (2 Jacaranda sub-adults / Peru – Hamerkop Rd)
Leopard (Shongile female & male) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam Northern Access
Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Mbali – White Seringa Rd
Elephant (4 Kambaku) / Arygle – Argyle Dam
Rhino ( 2 x Females & Sub Adult)

Afternoon Drive
(Shadrack & Andrea)

Lion (2 jacaranda sub-adults) / Motswari – Hangar Road
Elephant (breeding herd) / Motswari – Motswari airstrip
Elephant (4 Kambaku) / Motswari – Bush braai
Leopard(Kuhanye female) / Motswari –Motswari airstrip
Hello again! So, while Grant is off drive for a day or two I am going to fill in blog duty. This will be my last stint of blogs as my time here at Motswari is sadly coming to an end, a fact I am choosing not to think about at this point and instead just enjoying being out there.

This morning was a very successful one. Within the first ten minutes of drive, Grant picked up fresh leopard tracks of a male and female. As I started on my way to help follow up on tracks, Grant found the two leopard. The female was Shongile (meaning beautiful), a small leopard and I was thrilled as I had not seen her yet. The male was a lot more skittish and kept moving, while Shongile followed as she picked up his scent. It was very much a mobile sighting and we all bounced along in the Landy trying to keep up with her. At one point we lost visual altogether and it took us a little while to relocate. We suspect that the two have been mating which hopefully means more leopard cubs in the Timbavati.  While following the leopard, one of the Simbavati guys found lion tracks on Peru Cutline. Myself, Shadrack and Grant all checked the area and Tiyani and Jackie did so on foot as well. After locating the lion on foot, they took fright and ran off so once again we all re-checked the roads in the area, As I was looping around for a second time, one of my guests spotted an elephant crossing the road behind us. We quickly turned and made our way to the breeding herd of elephant. It was rather thick bush, so a little tricky for viewing but we were still able to see them slowly feeding east. As we happily watched the elephant, Jackie found the two-sub adult lions. They were resting up in the shade of a tree, only giving us an occasional head lift.

With some guests leaving, some staying and new ones arriving I pretty much had to start a clean slate for drive this afternoon. There had been an enourmous herd of about 30-40 elephant that had come down to the river to drink in front of camp. They had been swimming and playing and had crossed the river to the eastern bank. I started there, checking around although the elephant had already crossed over the road. Knowing how thick the mopane is in that area, I did not want to push it. Most of my guests had already had an amazing elephant sighting right in front of their rooms! I looped around, looking mainly for leopard tracks and once back on our airstrip bumped into another breeding herd of elephant. We watched them out in the open for some time and witnessed some beautiful interaction.
Jimmy from Simbavati had tarcked the two aub-adult lion all the way to just west of the airstrip and I was conveniently there. The two felines were fla-cat on an open rock with golden light from the afternoon sun shining down. It was a great visual, even though the lion were not active.
Moving on passed Argyle Dam, we visited the local hippo raft. A few yawns later we bumbled along towards Lovers Leap for a drinks stop. It was a beautiful still evening. With the sun down we headed along with just a chameleon to view. Shadrack then called to let me know he had found Kuhanye on the airstrip. She was mobile directly towards camp. Despite my efforts to get there quickly, she unfortunately disappeared in a drainage line. For the rest of the drive we tried in vain to relocate her. Shadrack mentioned she was full bellied but didn’t think she had eaten and is suspected to be pregnant. Hopefully some leopard luck tomorrow!

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