Monday, 30 April 2012

29th April: Ellie's And Buff Around Nearly Every Corner.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack, Marka & Herold.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam Rd North.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Shabalala Rd.
Elephant ( Kambakus) / Peru – Termite Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Barnes Post.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / DeLuca – Mpela-pela Pan.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – KNP Corner.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Mbali/ Java Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Shabalala Rd.
Lion ( 3 x Sohobele Males) / Karans – Majavi Dam.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack & Herold.)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Voeldam.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Java Dam Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Hippo Rocky Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Borneo – Sumatra North/ South Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.

Daily Synopsis.

Waking to a Leopard calling in the drainage line beside my room I was keen to get out there as it is still something outstanding on our Christmas List along with Buffalo and Giraffe. The latter two were going to be the mornings priorities but they could always wait a little while. So setting off from camp we headed directly to the North and began our search reaching the area I thought I heard it calling from we found tracks for a large male Leopard. This was not exactly good news, as the chances of finding it were very low and I decided not to expend the energy on finding it only to have it run away after a few seconds. So it was back to Plan A and we turned South but before leaving Motswari we bumped into a small breeding herd of Elephant. Never passing up the opportunity to spend time with these gentle giants we parked ourselves in the centre of the herd and sat with them for the next hour while they went about their feeding and interacting. It is the beauty of having guests stay an extended period of time, you can sit and spend time with things and actually observe their behaviour and not have the pressure of trying to find everything in a two day period.

With the Elephants eventually getting mobile we took our leave and headed in the direction of where Marka had left the large Buffalo herd the night before. With other stations in the area doing most of the leg work before we arrived we had only to check one road to find what we were looking for. It happened coincidently that we would find a lone female Giraffe on a road that we were checking for the Buffalo and while sitting with her we could hear them bellowing in the valley below us.

Our arrival to them was further delayed when we ran into another herd of Elephant, this time it being a far bigger herd. You would think we would bypass them but the Buffalo were going nowhere fast so we once again took the opportunity to sit in amongst the herd as they inquisitively approached us to within touching distance. With them being a little more mobile than the last lot they passed us quiet quickly and we got away sooner. 

The anticipation of finding our Buffalo was put on hold once more when we rounded a corner to find that we had a flat. Stopping to fix it we had everyone overboard but standing on the side of the vehicle as the Buffalo had now made themselves visible and were heading straight in our direction. Changing the tyre as quickly as possible we were all back on board as they began closing around the vehicle, they had also been joined by two Elephant Bulls who had sneaked onto the scene. They all seemed very unperturbed about us and went about their business of grazing hardly paying us any attention. It was the same impressive herd we saw two days ago and must number around five hundred. We once again chose to enjoy this very impressive sighting and did not feel the pressure to move off and respond to other sightings, of which there were a fare few. 

The rest of our morning was a chilled affair having a cup of coffee and finding a nice herd of Kudu.

Herold chose to head to the East and had himself quiet the morning, first finding a large breeding herd of Elephant, followed by a herd of Buffalo. Being in the same area as the Sohobele Lions were heading in during the night Herold figured they would not be far away and sure enough it was not long before he found them. Unfortunately they crossed into Kruger trying to position themselves to the East of the Buffalo and set up an ambush. Lets hope they get around in time and chase them back our way as it would be nice to have them around a few more days. I'm sure the guys will follow up this afternoon. It is interesting to note that between all the guys out this morning we found four herds of Buffalo, it's no wonder the Lions are back.

With the afternoons temperature reaching thirty six degrees it was no wonder that the first half of drive was exceedingly quiet. I guess it also had to do with the fact that we had so many sightings over the past week that in comparison it was a quite afternoon by our new standards. We set off in search of Leopard, although we have seen three in the last two days they have all be very brief and the one that wasn't was after dark without a spotlight. So all we are lacking to wrap up some amazing sightings is one of our relaxed Leopards that we are renowned for and any one of these would do. 

We headed to the North West and checked the area around Vyeboom Dam and when coming up empty handed we continued on our Northern boundary to Voel Dam where we were spoilt to yet another breeding herd of Buffalo. This time we watched as they made their way to have their late afternoon drink before heading off to feed until dark. While sitting with them we received news that a herd of plus/ minus a thousand had made it's way into the Tsharalumi riverbed and were drinking from pools stretching over a number of kilometres. Quite the sight I'm sure but having seen the herd in the morning and once before that, we chose to continue our search for Leopard. Our afternoon was to be relatively productive with us finding, Steenbok, Sharpes Grysbok, Zebra, Giraffe, Kudu, Civet and Waterbuck, and lets not forget, Elephant, that seem to be around every corner of the reserve at the moment. 

Checking all the usual haunts of our spotted residents it appeared they too had left the area on the long weekend as we came up empty handed. Not even a track or sign anywhere to be found. Lets hope they return tomorrow but failing finding them I'm sure there will be plenty out there to keep us enthralled.

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