Tuesday, 26 June 2012

25th June: Walkabout!

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Marka & Shadrack.)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Jack's Camp.
Rhino ( Tshangula Male)
Leopard ( Ntombi & Cub) / Vielmieter – Elephant Dam Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Elephant Dam Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Long Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Marka, Shadrack & Godfrey.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Hide Dam.
Leopard ( Ntombi & Cub) / Vielmieter – Elephant Dam Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

With the gang staying seven nights plus and us having seen a whole bunch of wonderful things both big and small we decided that we would head out on foot this morning and enjoy the bush from a different perspective. Truth be told it is my favourite way to enjoy the bush and I'd walk over drive any time. There is something magical about being on foot as it allows you to really appreciate the smaller things and puts all the systems at work into perspective.

Our choice of mornings was a good one as it got off to a very fresh start and sitting on a vehicle would have been somewhat cool, add in the light fog and we had ourselves the perfect conditions to be working up a sweat. Choosing an open area in the East we slowly made our way from the KNP corner down towards Majavi Dam, where Jacky would meet us with coffee all set out and waiting.

The beauty of walking is that when there is not many mammals or birds about you can turn to the vegetation and get an idea how they are all interlinked to one another. So we spoke about Mopane, Maroela, Knobthorn and Russet Bush Willow Trees, and looked at how you could make fibre or a toothbrush, also what to use when in a bind for toilet paper. We tried our hand at luring out a Baboon Spider from it's den but with it still being a little cool it did not accommodate us and remained hidden in its tunnel. We looked at the art of tracking and how the guys go about finding their quarry. If that was not enough in itself we then had audio for a herd of Buffalo off to our East that we headed off to see if we could find and approach. Unfortunately we reached the Kruger boundary before we found them and they must have still been resting a little way into the National Park so we turned towards the dam hoping they would join us before finishing up our coffee. Once again they disappointed but we were not that upset as we were enthralled by the interaction of two male Hippo's in the dam that clearly didn't want the other there. With coffee done we slowly made our way back to the lodge for brunch. 

From the sounds of things Marka and Shadrack had themselves a busy morning finding Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant and responding to Ntombi and her cub on an Imapla kill, which is great news as they should be there for our afternoon drive.

With Leopard in our sights for our afternoon drive we set off straight South knowing that we undoubtedly would get distracted along the way and should hopefully arrive late afternoon in the perfect light. We thought we could afford a stop in at the Hyena Den and try our luck once more but yet again the little blighter's alluded us, I think we were a little early and it was still a tad warm. Not being a train smash it put us ahead of schedule, this was going to be a first.

Making our way around Hide Dam we once again caught the tail end of a very large herd of Elephant that had just finished off drinking and were slowly making their way South along a drainage line feeding. With time on our hands we drove from small group to group immersing ourselves in the herd. Getting a little distracted we spent a fair amount of time with them as we would always go “ just one more look.” As the sky turned that perfect golden colour it was time to make our way towards Ntombi and her cub.

Pulling out the sighting we drove over a large Bushwillow tree that was lying hidden in amongst the thick grass and on reaching the road a could feel the car was labouring to go this was shortly followed by the smell of burning wood. Switching off immediately both Jacky and I hopped under the vehicle to find a massive log that had wedged itself between the drive shaft and the exhaust pipe. This was preventing the drive shaft from spinning freely and hence the burning smell. With very little space to work with Jacky and I spent the next half hour trying to dislodge our cars splinter with a rock, eventually succeeding we were back on the road but unfortunately the sun had now hit the horizon and we had lost the light. We arrived at the sighting just as mom and cub roused themselves from their slumber and slowly made their way out from underneath a bush. Having rested the cub was now in a playful mood and set about stalking and pouncing on mom at every opportunity. She seemed relaxed with the game and would entertain her youngster in between keeping a watchful eye. Slowly gaining momentum they made their way towards the nearby dam and along the way even tried their luck in catching a Guinea fowl mid air as it came in to roost. On reaching the dam they took a drink of water and then the cub proceeded to climb a massive Leadwood Tree while mom stood vigil below. During the day this all would have made for amasing photography but occurring after dark we could only sit back and enjoy this amasing sighting. I guess arriving a little later happened for a reason and had we arrived earlier as planned we would have missed out on it all. Descending from the tree cub joined mom as she slowly made her way back South.

Having seen the best of it we took our leave and headed off to enjoy a sununder and reflect on our afternoons adventures. Lets hope tomorrow is just as good!


  1. I thought you walked the Aussies today? Please share with them the greatness of the African Bush and wildlife missed it so much from rocksee

  2. Hello Chad,

    As usual what fantastic pictures - may I ask what time was the leopard sighting and what ISO were you shooting them at ?

    Many thanks in advance