Monday, 25 June 2012

24th June: Who Needs Coffee.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant & Marka.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Nyosi River Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Kings – Double Highway.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Kings – Little Ridge.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Kings – Rain Tree Plains.
Lion ( Machaton Pride: 3 x Females & 5 x Cubs) / Kings – Leisha's Link.
Leopard ( Rockfig Jnr) / Vielmieter – Vielmieter Access.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant & Marka.)

Leopard ( Makipi's Male) / Java – Whiteys Rest.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Sohobele Dam.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Borneo – KNP Cutline.
Lion ( Machaton Pride: 3 x Females & 5 x Sub Adults) / Tanda Tula – Machaton Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Hide Dam.

Daily Synopsis.

For a change of scenery and pace Jacky and I decided to head to the West and then make our way South for this mornings drive. We were not looking for anything inparticular but Zebra and Giraffe would be a bonus.

Marka chose to head to the East and see what had become of the large Buffalo herd and the Lions that were following behind. After a beautiful sun rise we set off on our mornings adventure, things were a little quite to start but the gang and I still enjoyed a picturesque drive. I guess it's hard not to when the weather is perfect and you surrounded by the African Bush with its vast vista's of open space. As things warmed the animals seemed to pop out with the guys finding a large herd of Buffalo in the South that was being followed by the Machaton Pride. Having found our Giraffe and Zebra, both of which were not great sightings and I'm not going to count them as I know we can do better, we found ourselves on our Southern boundary.

Hearing that not many stations were responding to the Machaton Pride and having received an invitation from Kings to visit, we decided we would head in their direction but first we wanted to spend some time with a large herd of Elephant we had just found. It is one of the larger herds we have seen in a while and everywhere you looked there seemed to be these grey collosel giants slowly feeding to the North through an open area. Getting sucked in by these magnificent creatures we spent considerable time with them and found it hard to pull ourselves away to respond to the Lions. With the Elephant crossing into an area of thicker vegetation gave us an excuse to eventually get back to responding to the Lions.

As per usual we should have expected that when you need to get somewhere you will undoubtedly be delayed along the way. This time it came in the form of Rockfig Jnr who was spotted by a guest of ours who called out excitedly that she had seen a “Tiger.” Stopping to investigate there stood Rockfig Jnr stalking through the long grass and scattered brush nearly seventy meters away, a great spot and had it been me I would have also thought it was a tiger at that distance. We once again headed off road to join her as she went about her hunt. Always thinking big it came as a bit of a surprise that the focus of her attention was a Dwarf Mongoose that had already caught wind of her and had sounded the alarm. Giving up on it, it was not long before something else caught her attention and she went bounding off into the thick brush. Having had a good sighting of her and with others stations now arriving on scene we left her to continue on now what appeared to have become a quest for us.

Finally arriving on the two tracks that led to the sighting we made our way to the Lions who had taken rest in the shade of the trees that lined the Machaton River. No sooner had we switched off the engine the lions rustled themselves from their slumber, stood and made their way into the impenetrable riverbed. Holding a little hope we made our way round to the opposite bank hoping they would emerge and not choose to spend the heat of the day in the cool riverbed. I guess hunger prevailed and they made their way out onto the open plains of the South slowly trailing the Buffalo herd that we could hear to the South of us. Picking up the pace they moved along the tree line of the open plains until we got sight of the stragglers of the Buffalo herd. On getting visual the Lions seemed content to stop and rest in the shade of the trees as if they were only keeping a tab on the Buffalo and had no intention on hunting at the moment. Sitting with them they became quite settled and as the last Buffalo disappeared from sight all the Lions had returned to slumber. Running out of time we headed past the herd on our way home. They had made their way to Machaton Dam, which has unfortunately dried up due to the borehole collapsing during the floods, but did provide a great place to take a mud bath. We could also see why the Lions were not that perturb as many of the Buffalo had began to sit down while the others milled about, some still bathing while others half-heartedly grased on the nearby plain. Being well past breakfast time we left a very impressive sight. Hopefully the guys get to see an even more impressive sight this afternoon.

Having had an amazing morning we were out to take in whatever there was, big or small. We first set off to Argyle Dam wanting to check if the Hippo's would be out sunning themselves but with the temperatures having risen quite high they had chosen to stay in the water, we did however find a large Crocodile out in their place. 

Finished with watching him sun himself we headed a little to our West wanting to follow up on Argyle Jnr and her two cubs that Johannes had found in the morning. Zig zagging the area we came up empty handed and eventually decided to leave the area and make our way towards the Hyena Den hoping to catch them out in the late afternoon sun. Along our way Johannes found Makipi's Male and being on route we joined him in the sighting. Having being spoilt by him the past couple of days this afternoon he made us work for our sighting with him walking us through some of the roughest bush that I've been in a while, with it being a selection of the meanest thorn trees and a very rocky drainage line that he walked us from bank to bank. Loosing him on a couple of occasions we managed to relocate and eventually he sat up on a Termite Mound allowing us a good sighting. 

Having literally been dragged through the bush backwards we were keen to take things a lot easier after our sighting with him and we slowly made our way to the Hyena Den. Unfortunately no-one was home which I think was partly due to the high volume of traffic passing the den as there were two other Leopard sightings in the area as well as the Lions further to the South. Kicking in plan B we headed off to Hide Dam to enjoy a nice relaxed drink as the sunset over the dam. As we approached the dam we caught the tail end of a massive herd of Elephant that clearly had been drinking at the dam slowly moving off to the South. Dropping off Jacky to set up sundowners we set off and joined the herd for the last of the days sunlight. It was a great experience as they were very relaxed and went about their feeding without paying us any attention and would approach within metres of the vehicle. With us finally loosing light we returned to enjoy our drinks that had been set up for us so nicely.

After dark we chose to head straight East all the way to our South Eastern boundary and then return on the Kruger Boundary to the North. Along the way we found tracks for two large Male Lions heading to the West, which I'm sure are for the two Males we had the other day. We also had a very nice sighting of a Civet but apart from that all was quit on the border until we got up North where we once again found a very large herd of Buffalo returning to Kruger after their drink at Majavi Dam, being after dark we did not spend any time with them and continued on home.

1 comment:

  1. thanks a million Grant, sitting infront of my machine with all these superb photos i feel i too have joined you on the game drive once again.And what a drive, the elephants are sublime and of course the leopards always a great favorite with me.