Sunday, 22 April 2012

21 April: Off To A Big Start.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive

(Shadrack, Herold & Andrea)

Elephant (2 Kambaku) / Peru – Timbavati/Umbabat Cutline
Rhino (2)

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack & Herold.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Vyeboom Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Hippo Rocky Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Tchwala Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Java – Java/ Mbali Rd.
Leopard ( Umfana Male) / Java – Back Of Java Link.

Daily Synopsis.

My guests were leaving early this morning, so I only had two hours. This certainly limited my route options. John had heard leopard calling on the airstrip last night, so we checked there first and came across a hyena, which bolted off into the thicker vegetation. We tried to follow for a bit, but she soon disappeared. Male leopard tracks headed north and so we began to track them instead until they wandered off onto Ingwelala! We did come cross two giraffe though which was another animal on the list of ‘want to sees’. We then headed to do one last check around Giraffe Kill where one of the Simbavati guys had seen fresh leopard tracks. 2 bull elephant were feeding along the way. With little time, we rushed around the area but unfortunately the leopard eluded us and we had to turn home in time for early guest pick up.

Grant is taking over from this afternoon as I move off drive and Grant starts. Thanks again for reading and following, it has been a pleasure!

Well hello there folks, long time no speak. Yes it's me Grant, back on drive, well at least for the next three days or so. Although I was only off drive yesterday afternoon and this morning I missed it and was keen to get out there and see if my lucky form of late would continue. No sooner had we headed out on drive than we received a message there was a breeding herd of Elephant North of Vyeboom Dam very close to our boundary with Ingwelala. Hearing they were static feeding both myself and Herold took a chance that they would still be around in the fifteen minutes it would take us to get there. As is usual this would be the time that you would run into a number of things to distract you and fifteen minutes would turn into thirty. The culprits on this occasion were warthogs and waterbuck for us, and for Herold a number of birds. We did however catch a break as the herd changed direction and started to feed South, more into our traversing area. We arrived to find some of them still in the riverbed feeding on the lush vegetation while others chose to roll around in the sand and playfully chase one another around. At first we could only view them from above as there was no way into the riverbed but as they slowly drifted South we were able to get in amongst them. With them totally ignoring us and going about their business Herold and I stayed there and watched this very special sighting. They eventually made their way out the riverbed right beside our vehicle as if we were never there and started to feed on the trees that were pressed up on our vehicle. We could have literally reached out and put our hand in their mouth. It was incredible how relaxed they were especially as there were a number of young in amongst them yet mom's totally ignored us while young were intrigued with us. I could have easily spent my entire afternoon with them but after an hour it was time to move on in search of other exciting creatures.

Planning a trip to the West on roads lest travelled I received a message from Shadrack who had headed South for the afternoon, he informed me that he had found Umfana Ingwe, Ntombi's youngster, down on Java. Talk about throwing a spanner in my relaxed afternoon in the North. Knowing how the guys had struggled with Leopard over the last four days, I thought it best to head in their direction and see if we could get a glimpse of him before it got dark. Remembering what happened the last time when we had made our way South and he had been lost shortly before we got into the sighting did not instil me with any confidence especially as he was in a very tricky area along the Machaton River. The guys did very well to keep him though and even better when they had to relocate him when he crossed a drainage line only a Leopard could. Our timing on this occasion was spot on as we arrived he moved into the open and proceeded to keep to the open area sniffing the occasional tree. The sighting was perfect, well near perfect, as we had lost the sun and with that any chance of a decent picture. Sometimes I think this is a blessing in disguise as you then enjoy the sighting for what it is and are not looking at a very small part of the picture through the camera's lens. Spending a fair amount of time with him we eventually left him with Herold as he went into hunt mode. It's interesting to see how far this young male is starting to push to the North East venturing into territory unknown.

Once again missing sundown and twilight come to think of it now, we stopped in an open clearing and enjoyed our drinks under a carpet of stars, not a bad alternative. The only excitement returning to camp was finding a Chameleon which are becoming harder to come by these days with the temperature starting to drop.

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