Wednesday, 23 May 2012

22nd May – The Good Going Keeps Going!

Photo of the Day

Martial Eagle - The King of the Skies!

Morning Drive

(Chad, Peter, Shadrack and Grant)

2 x lions (Jacaranda subadult lionesses) – Peru, Sohebele Dam

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Woza-Woza Cutline

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Antheap Corner Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Nyosi River Rd

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Peter, Shadrack and Grant)

4 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam

1 x leopard (Makepisi male) – Java, Terminalia Rd

1 x rhino (Nhlangula male)

6 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Pan

2 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Crossing Below Argyle

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Hanger Rd

2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Long Rd

1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Jan’s Rd

Daily Synopsis

Continuing on from yesterday evening’s chilled, but successful drive; I opted to head east looking for more solitude, buffalo and maybe a rhino or two.  The morning had a real winter chill to it, and even the African Hawk Eagles remained fluffed up as the sun started to rise above the African Bush.

African Hawk Eagles and an African Sunrise

Finding tracks for a herd of buffalos from last night, we followed up, but sadly the tracks arrived at Majavi Dam, and then headed back to the Kruger, leaving us with only a solitary hippo and a few impalas to watch.
Hippo at Majavi Dam

Looking for zebras on the open areas in the east produced nothing, and this became a tad annoying as the sightings on Vielmetter started racking up; but, I knew I could head there in the afternoon, so decided to ignore things, even when the Mafikzolo Pride popped up as some stations were watching a herd of buffalo and attempted to catch one – they came close, but the buffalo herd arrived to chase the lions away and rescue their herd member.

After a warming cup of coffee, Goodman spotted some fresh tracks for the Jacaranda lionesses and eagerly asked to follow them.  Being one of our new trackers, I was pleased to see this and let him try, not expecting much luck as the area the tracks were heading into was thick and rocky.

I proceeded to go see a herd of elephants that Grant had found, and bumped another small group along the way, but left them in favour of Grant’s larger herd.  I managed to relocate them no hassle and spent a bit of time with them feeding near us before Goodman called me to let me know that he had indeed managed to find the lionesses!  Feeling very proud of his efforts, I told the guests and we left the elephants and made our way towards Sohebele Dam where we found them still resting in the shade on the riverbank; it wasn't the most exciting sighting, but still always special to have our tracker showcase his skill for the guests. 

Elephant herd
We then left the lions, and passing Argyle Dam ticked off hippos, impalas and waterbuck before closing down for a welcome breakfast, and for the umpteenth time this cycle, I managed to do an entire drive without seeing another person, even at the sightings!

Jacaranda lioness, waterbuck and impalas between Sohebele Dam and Argyle Dam

The afternoon was sadly not as productive; we chose not to go south as the group that Pete and I were driving wanted to be back at camp just after sundowners; Pete missed out on the lions this morning so was trying to see them again this afternoon, so we stuck in the north.  As if to spite us, the south suddenly came alive; Grant had Makepisi male in a marula tree, and Giyani later found Shindzuti male in the same tree in our central area; further south, the Mafikizolo Pride were resting behind Elephant Dam, a herd of buffalos was just east of them, Nthombi was on Kings with an impala kill, and Nhlangula male rhino was even found spending the afternoon in a nearby waterhole with buffalo bulls in attendance too!  Fortunately Grant and Shaddy were down there to enjoy these sightings.

We ignored these and tried to track the lionesses around Argyle Dam, but sadly had no luck – Pete had some buffalo bulls and I saw a couple of separate elephant bulls, and after dark a breeding herd of elephants, but besides a wonderful Martial Eagle and a very relaxed herd of kudus, my drive was frustratingly quiet.

Martial eagle showing us what he thinks of our presence!
Tomorrow morning I am also out for a short drive, but hoping that it goes a bit better J

1 comment:

  1. Been a while since I commented ;-)
    Great photos as alwyas Chad. Love the Martial eagle shot(s)... Good luck for tomorrow (today) and thanks for all the updates.