Photo of the Day
|Umfana male chilling up a tree - one of the animals that wasnt hiding from us today!|
(Chad, Grant, Giyani and Herold)
3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Northern Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Java Dam Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Russet Rd
(Chad, Herold and Shadrack)
1 x leopard (Umfana male) – Vielmetter, Big Nigrescens
1 x leopard (Xindzuti male) – Peru, Madash Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Simbavati Access
My promise to not stray far this morning almost came true! The morning started with a lovely sunrise followed by checking up on the leopard’s kill – sadly though, only a few bones remained with no sign of the leopards – we did however see a lone hippo coming back to the water and sat and enjoyed a pod of hippos near the shoreline.
|Sunrise and hippos and egyptian geese at Argyle Dam|
On Piva Plains we spent time with a group of male giraffes as they engaged in some play fighting and then became friends and all went and ate off the same tree together.
|Giraffe herd on Piva Plains|
Further along the road we enjoyed some nice kudu bulls, tawny eagles, impalas and steenbuck. Giyani had tracks for Makepisi and Xindzuti male leopards, so I dropped Petros off to see them before I went looking for that large group of buffalo bulls near Lily Pan, but besides waterbuck and impalas, it was very quiet in the west.
|Kudu bull and elephant bull|
Shortly before a coffee stop, we had another nice group of giraffes and a lone elephant bull, and could infact watch both whilst sipping on our coffee in the rivered.
Petros hadn’t had luck with the leopards, so I went to pick him up, but only saw more giraffe and impalas on the way home.
The afternoon needed things to pick up, so I decided to head south, especially as Grant and Andrea had found three rhinos there while doing some bushwork. I passed Argyle Dam and enjoyed a lovely group of kudu bulls below the dam and the hippos out the water, including a tiny little baby!
|Tiny baby hippo and crocodile around Argyle Dam...but no leopards|
After giraffe, steenbuck, impalas and waterbuck on Piva PlainsMoving south was quiet, and again only impalas, duiker and steenbuck showed up until my guest said “stop, leopard!” Helen had spotted a leopard resting up a marula tree about 70m away from us, and we quickly identified the short-tail of Umfana male, and got to spend the next half an hour watching him as he tried to get comfortable in the tree above us!
|Kudu bulls, waterbuck bulls and giraffe bull on Piva Plains and around Argyle Dam|
I did have to laugh, as Herold had promised me leopard this afternoon; our trackers had followed a drag mark from the camp for about 1.5km through some tricky bush before eventually locating the site where the leopard had dragged her kill to! It was a stupid distance to drag the kill, and annoyingly, it was a kill of a cane rat (or Vhondo) – a large rodent that we hardly ever see! The leopard had eaten most of it, but was nowhere to be seen. Failing this, I had moved out the area and gone south.
I had been sitting with Umfana in his tree for a few minutes when Herold radioed to casually tell me that he had found me a leopard...Xindzuti male at Madash Pan! I could happily refuse his invitation to go see his leopard as I had my own, and as it turned out, it was Herold that came to join me with my leopard!
|Umfana male leopard resting up a marula tree|
I left the area and went to see the hyena den and had a wonderful sighting of one adult and the three bigger cubs! Even the middle black cub was bold enough to come up to the vehicle this afternoon – the first time I had seen her with such courage!
|Another amazing sighting of the hyena cubs at the den site|
We then moved on to drinks at Hide Dam before chancing the east once more; I drove all along the southern boundary to the Kruger Cutline and then back north; we ticked off side-striped jackal, genet and both spotted and giant eagle owls, but generally, the night, much like the day was a bit quiet...but at least i didnt get lost!
|Spotted and giant eagle owls on the drive home|