Wednesday, 16 May 2012

15th May: The Timbavati Comes To Life.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant & Chad.)

Rhino ( Male, Female & Calf.)
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip Rd.
Leopard ( Ntombi) / Kings – Ridge Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – EnMkombi Pan.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant & Chad.)

Lion ( 3 x Sohobele Males) / Ekuvukeni – Ekuvukeni Access.
Elephant ( Kamabaku's) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam Rd West.
Rhino ( 1 x Male, 3 x Females & Calf)
Leopard ( Unknown Male) / Peru – Argyle Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

Still needing to find Rhino, Diff and I decided to head out West. This would also allow us to check on Argyle Male and his dead Kudu and see what became of them overnight. Chad also had similar plans as ours but he chose to head to the East and try his luck with a Kruger Rhino or two. Shortly after leaving camp we picked up on fresh tracks for two Rhinos and decided we would dedicate our morning to finding them. Sticking to the road we continued to the West before they turned and headed South. Trying to relocate on the tracks we received a message that tracks for two Rhinos were found a lot further to our South West. Believing they were the same tracks we decided to skip ahead and try close the gap. Picking up on the tracks again we followed them to the West yet again but on this occasion they turned to the North. We then proceeded to follow them in a complete circle and nearly found ourselves back at the exact spot that we had been half an hour earlier. During all of this I received a message from Chad informing me that he had this almighty noise coming from the bush not far from him and that he was off to investigate what it might be. While he homed in on his quarry we continued with our tracks which now had turned to the South East. Following them I received news that Chad had found the origins of the noise that,“ he never heard quite something like it in the bush before,” to quote him exactly. There in front of him in a Mopane thicket was one of our relaxed female Rhino's with her calf and with them was a large male that was busy fighting with the female. The noises Chad had heard were the horns clashing and the high pitched squeals of the calf. It appeared mom was trying to fend off the males advances and had come in for quite the beating as she had blood oozing from a number of cuts and piercings on her body. Luckily the male was a little shy and with Chad approaching he retreated into the thick surrounding Mopane allowing mom and calf to recoup. With our tracks now turning directly East we thought there maybe a chance that they could be the same Rhino that we were tracking but from the size of the tracks we did not think so, so we pushed on. Now crossing into our Eastern section the tracks turned directly South and we followed them kilometre after kilometre until we reached our Southern boundary were they crossed out without even hesitating. All in all I'd say we tracked between fifteen and twenty kilometres, a record for me but unfortunately without any prize to go with it! Finding ourselves so far South and hearing that Argyle Males dead Kudu was now the property of three Hyena we decided to head to Ntombi who was still on her kill on Kings and then pass the Hyena on our way home.

Chad had left his Rhino and had now started to help on some Lion tracks that were around the area that we had the two Jacaranda sub adults the night before. Johannes had briefly seen a Sohobele Male in the area as well but had lost him when he crossed the river. From the tracks it appeared that at least two Sohobele Males were chasing their younger counter parts.

Our visit to Ntombi was a good one with us being the only station with her as she lay next to her large Male Impala kill. We spent some time with her hoping her youngster would show his pretty little head but I think they had both recently fed and it was now nap time and by the time we left he was no where to be seen. We turned back to the North West and headed to Enkhombi Pan for morning coffee which was nice as shortly before packing up we were joined by a small breeding herd of Buffalo that came down to the pan for their mid morning drink. Back on our planned route for the morning we stopped in at the dead Kudu but found neither Argyle Male or any Hyena, there was a whole lot of meat still left so a trip there this evening is in order.

By the end of drive Chad and the guys had no luck in tracking down the Lions but with things heating up considerably they could not have gone far and I'm sure we will follow up first thing from camp.

With Johannes having followed up on Lion tracks that he found on the way back to camp in the morning and finding the three Sohobele Males we did not have to work hard in the afternoon. We were a little concerned that they would move during the day as they were very close to our Northern boundary but we need not have worried as the temperatures climbed into the low thirties thus hindering the brothers immobile.

Setting off from camp we headed straight in their direction and found them resting in amongst the tree's sheltering from the days heat. It is always great to see them no matter what state they are in, unfortunately this afternoon they were totally comatose and barely lifted a head to acknowledge our arrival. We sat with them a fair amount of time hoping they would rouse from their slumber but to no joy and we eventually left them after forty five minutes with not as much as a full head lift.

Our intentions for the afternoon were to head to the East to continue our search for Rhino but with time being short we changed plans and headed West wanting to check on the dead Kudu. These plans were once again very quickly changed when Marka called in that he had five Rhino's not very far from where we were. Not the most relaxed Rhino's but they were fine to approach on foot. Arriving at the sighting they seemed to be ok with the vehicle today and given their space they would stand in amongst the brush listening for the source of any disturbance. Getting a good viewing from the vehicle I decided we should still go on foot as it is a completely different experience and one to be do. Pulling the vehicle a little way off we got ourselves downwind of them and approached slowly and cautiously. They were in the ideal position as they were in a clearing but there was enough cover around them that we could approach fairly close. With everything in our favour we got ourselves in a great position and spent the next thirty minutes in total awe of these great creatures. Without disturbing them we eventually made our way out of the sighting leaving them to go about their business.

With time running short we still made the effort to get across the reserve to check on the Kudu carcass and it was well worth our troubles as when we arrived there were a couple of Hyena sitting in the road with a couple more at the carcass, exactly what we had come to see. They were not the most relaxed Hyena though and while we were there a couple bit off chunks of the carcass and headed off into the surrounding bush while others milled about not quite sure what to do. While following one back onto the road Jacky checked the surrounding area and calmly pointed out that there was a Leopard sitting in a nearby Weeping Boerbean Tree. Taking a closer look we could see that it was not Argyle Male who had been here for the past two days feeding on the carcass. This male was younger and not quite as big but none the less a very impressive Tom cat. We were not sure where to look as we had the Leopard on one side while we had a Hyena dragging the carcass on the other, it was a bit of a sensory overload. With the Leopard making his way down the tree and the Hyena dragging the entire carcass, still cant believe the strength of these creatures, off into a nearby Mopane thicket, we had seen the best of the show and took our leave to head home.

We chose to head home via the North of camp and hopefully bump into the Sohobele Males who had eventually raised themselves from the dead and headed North. Fortune was to favour us once more as we caught them as they crossed the road to the East. A short way in they stopped and began smelling the air that was now blowing into them clearly wanting to orchestrate a hunt, they stood there a fair while, but eventually sat once again heads pointing into the wind. It was enough for them to redeem themselves and show what impressive creatures they are and the ideal way to wrap up a superb afternoon.

Already cant wait for tomorrows drive.

No comments:

Post a Comment