Friday, 27 July 2012

26th July – Grey Beasts on a Grey Morning!

Photo of the Day
Hyena cubs at the den

Morning Drive

(Chad, Andrea, Peter and Marka)

2 x rhinos (female and female calf)

2 x rhinos (female and male calf)

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Boolala Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Kings, Hyena Rd

1 x elephant bull – Peru, Tawny Eagle Rd

Afternoon Drive

(Chad and Marka)

1 x leopard (Umfana male) – Vielmetter, Crossing Below Entrance Dam

1 x elephant bull – Mbali, Syringa Shortcut

Daily Synopsis

Well, the day started off grey and after drive got a bit greyer for me when I formatted my memory card thinking I had downloaded the pics from morning drive...well, I hadn’t!  So please forgive the lack of photos of most of my sightings this morning, but I guess we live and learn!

It was a wonderfully misty morning that added a totally different atmosphere to the bush, and it was quite something to have herds of elephants just disappear in it!  We started off at Argyle Dam, catching one hippo as he headed back to the water from the north.

Hippos, hornbill and giraffes in the mist
Carrying on we joined Pete with a herd of elephants, but we could only see a few as the others were well hidden by the denser mist on the crest of the hill.

I then went east, hoping to get lucky with rhinos or the lions that Johannes was tracking into the area; I could well feel offended that after a coffee break (a bizarre one at that; had the most relaxed Egyptian goose walking around our feet for the whole of the coffee stop!!!) four rhino sightings had been established...all at the other ends of the reserve! 
I opted to head for Andrea’s rhinos (yes, she had found more sightings today!) as it was the relaxed mother and calf; they were not all that active, but the baby sucked some milk before the two of them fell asleep and we parted company.

Heading home, we saw a few smaller things like slender mongooses, pearl-spotted owls, black-backed jackal (fourth drive in a row we have seen jackal!), but it was a sighting of about a dozen giraffes and a herd of zebras that was the most enjoyable – the sun had come out and we watched as the herds went about feeding...oddly, we even saw the zebras browsing on an appleleaf tree – something that is rather unusual for a grazer!

Kudu, zebras and giraffe in the late morning
Apart from them, we saw a couple of herds of kudus, impalas and waterbucks, along with steenbuck and warthogs as we headed back to camp.

The afternoon was a quieter affair with only Marka and I out; I tried the east for the Mafikizolo Pride, but despite finding fresh tracks, not having Petros and the density of the bush in that area made tracking difficult – we did enjoy some zebras near the lodge, impalas, and multiple steenbuck sightings.

Hippos and zebra
The hyena den was active, with only the three bigger cubs being out, along with two adults – and while they began just sleeping, eventually, they all got active and began their typical playful behaviour.

Hyena cubs at the den
Leaving them, we headed in the direction of Entrance Dam to where Marka had found Umfana male leopard; sadly, I got there as it was getting dark, and we had no sooner pulled in when he began stalking impalas, so we couldn’t follow closely behind, nor could we shine the light on him – as a result our time where we could actually see him was probably less than a minute, and not quite how I had hoped the sighting would turn out.  We opted to leave him hunting in peace, and will check up on him tomorrow to see if he got lucky.

Umfana male watching some impalas

The rest of the drive was cold and quiet, with only one genet and several scrub hares making always, I hope my luck changes tomorrow!


  1. So sorry about your memory card, Chad. You still gave us a magnificent drive.

  2. Hi Chad,
    I did that once after our holiday in India, I was devastated but discovered that even though the card had been formatted the still pictures can be retrieved with specailist equipment, ie. for me at 'Boots the Chemist'
    PS. As usual John and I have enjoyed your recent blogs.

  3. Enjoyed the misty drive - noticed too that there's still lots of colour in the bush - late autumn or this the all round norm for these trees/bushes?