Wednesday, 4 July 2012

02nd July: Continuing Where We Left Off.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Andrea, Herold & Shadrack.)

Rhino ( Female & Calf)
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Bulala Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Mangova Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Elephant Dam.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Jacks Camp.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Andrea, Herold & Shadrack.)

Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Argyle – Argyle Dam.
Rhino ( Female & Female Calf)
Rhino ( Female & Male Calf)
Leopard ( Skittish) / Motswari – Elephant Room Dam.

Daily Synopsis.

Not getting around to everything yesterday and having not succeeded in finding our relaxed female Rhino and calf we set off into the area that we had been checking the previous evening. While we headed out West Herold and Shadrack headed to the East to see if they could follow up on the two male Lions that had mysteriously vanished the evening before and Andrea stuck to the central region along the Tsharalumi river hoping to come right with a Leopard.

Driving the identical roads we had the previous evening we once again came up with no sign of our two Rhino, we did however find tracks for other Rhino in the area but judging from the tracks they were a day or so old. Persevering in the area we eventually picked up what we thought was the tracks we were looking for and after trailing them for a while we could say for a fact that it was. They had crossed to the South and were slowly making their way towards the Tsharalumi River feeding as they went. This made the tracking that little bit harder as when a Rhino feeds it walks in multiple circles. Reaching the river we now found tracks heading in opposite tracks one set made their way to the riverbed while the other turned to the North West. While Petros checked on those tracks I headed into the riverbed hoping not to surprise a Daghaboy. Weaving my way along the edge of the riverbed I eventually found myself turning in a circle and started to head back in the direction Petros had taken off in, finding myself back at the vehicle I contacted Petros to let him know that he was on the fresher tracks and that I was going to leave him to it while we headed into the riverbed for morning coffee.

While we spent the majority of our morning following Rhino tracks, Herold and Shadrack were having the same problem in the East trying to ascertain exactly which Lion tracks were the freshest as they also appeared to be walking in one large circle. Petros was to strike gold first as he contacted me while we were still busy with drinks informing me that he had found our prize. They were slowly feeding back to the North West. Wrapping up coffee quickly we headed off in his direction but the going was tough as we not only had to negotiate many drainage lines but the bush was extremely thick and we struggled to find a way through. Going backwards and forwards, bobbing and weaving, ducking and diving we eventually popped out on a road that had them both standing on it looking back at us in dismay. The said road happened to be nearly exactly the spot where we had started our search from and we had now officially completed one fat circle. At first they were not that relaxed with our presence but I think this had more to do with the thick vegetation we found ourselves and giving them space and time to get used to our presence they soon relaxed and mom began feeding not far from the vehicle while Miss played with a fallen log. Tiring of her mornings activity she eventually dropped to the ground at moms feet and took a nap. Having had a great sighting and successfully directed Andrea in we took our leave and began heading back to the lodge for brunch. 

Our trip to camp was to be far more productive as it always seems to be after the morning has had a chance to warm up and we found ourselves a large breeding herd of Buffalo making their way to water for their morning drink. Not far from that we stumbled onto a Martial Eagle who had just caught itself a Guinea Fowl clearly also in the mood for brunch. Passing Waterbuck, Impala, Steenbok and Hippo along the way we eventually made it back to Motswari.

Unfortunately Shadrack and Herold did not have as good a fortune as us and eventually had to abandon their trailing nearly having also completed a full circle. I guess this afternoon we'll swop and see what happens.

Wanting to visit the Hyena Den we headed straight South intending to loop back to the East afterwards and try our luck with the Lion tracks that we had failed on in the morning. Not to be beaten Herold chose to forgo a sure sighting in the Rhino female and her calf and head back to the East and follow up where he left off. Hearing this I dropped Petros off with Herold so he could help while I headed off South. I moved quickly as I wanted to get back and help and arriving at the den nobody was home, surprise, surprise! Also not to be beaten I chose to jiga-jiga around the South and kill a little time and then return to the den to try again. Hearing that the trackers were still following up we could afford to check on a couple things. Herold even had time to head off and visit the other Rhino and her calf which had been found not far away. Things were fairly quit and we only found ourselves a few Giraffe and a very nice herd of Kudu.

It sounded like Shadrack and Andrea were having a little more success finding themselves Elephant and Buffalo. With time running out I returned to the den and on this occasion we got very lucky as we found both young Hyena outside and the black cub. This was very surprising as no parents or minders were present and we thought on our approach they would go scuttling for cover in the den but we were pleasantly surprised when they didn't even budge a muscle and went about resting at the entrance while the youngest climbed all over them wrestling with their ears. 

It was a great sighting and we really struggled to leave but with Difference and Petros informing us that they had found the Lions both Herold and myself now had to move to get into the area. Being some distance away we could not quite make out what the trackers were saying but knew that they had found them and that they were on the move. Herold arrived first and started the search to relocate the Lions, having now spoken to the trackers he found out that while they were tracking them in a particular dense Mopane thicket they surprised the two large males as they slept in amongst the trees. They promptly stood and charged at Difference and Petros, given the size and vicious appearance of the two of them it must have been absolutely terrifying. Having been in this situation before the guys knew what to do and immediately started to shout at the Lions simultaneously, at which they came to a stand off behind some low shrubs about fifteen metres away. Continuing to shout and clap their hands the two males turned and ran off. Being unknown Lions to us the situation must have been very unpredictable but the guys reacted perfectly and averted the very dangerous situation. Catching up with them you could see that the adrenalin was still running high but they were also that little bit shaken from their experience. All together we checked the area in which they had run but after nearly thirty minutes and having lost the days light we returned to the airstrip for a couple of sundowners and nerve settlers. Resuming after drinks we checked the area once again but with the same result so we began the long journey home. Along the way we received news that there was a Leopard calling around camp Herold and I once again moved into the area to investigate but as was with the Lion we did not have much luck. We did find the Leopard drinking at the pan next to Elephant room but on seeing us it disappeared so fast that we had to question whether it was a Leopard or a Cheetah that we had seen. Close to home we closed down after a day filled with lots of adventures and mixed fortunes.

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