( Grant, Herold, Shadrack & Andrea.)
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Mbali – Western Cutline.
Rhino ( 4 x Crash)
Leopard ( Umfana Male) / JayDee – Peter Pan Access.
Leopard ( Unknown Male) / Vielmieter – Dizzy Drive.
( Grant, Herold, Shadrack & Andrea.)
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Wedge river Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Motswari Camp.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Sandy Crossing.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Mbali – Buffalo Kill Rd.
Rhino ( Female & Female Calf)
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Reception Link.
Getting off to even a fresher start than the morning before we set off to follow up on our Rhino from the previous evening that we did not get around to seeing. Our mornings mission was to find Rhino and Buffalo in any form. Patrick and I headed straight in the direction they were left the evening before hoping to pick up tracks early and get the process under way. Both Herold and Shaddy joined in and checked the areas to the immediate East and West. On our way we were fortunate enough to bump into a lone Dagha Boy making his way out of a drainage line and into the early morning sun seeking heat and a meal. Joining him we followed as he headed into an open area where we thought he would feed but I think our presence made him uneasy and he continued to move further West. Having had a great view we left him to go his way and return to our now primary objective.
It was Shaddy who located on the tracks first and both Herold and I joined him in the area trying to ascertain their direction. While I checked South, Herold checked East and Shaddy followed up on the actual tracks. He got a direction and found the spot where they had crossed to the North East, funnily enough on a road that all three of us had driven but had not picked up on the tracks. Getting a general direction we all converged to drop off the trackers and then head off our separate ways to look for what else may be out there while the trackers once again worked their magic.
I headed down to Java to check around the airstrips for general game that like to collect in the area but I think I was still a little early. Continuing on we did not pick up on anything and decided that we would once again try the Hyena Den, but this also proved fruitless and we found only one adult that was West of the den moving further to the West. Andrea had made her way to Umfana Male who had a small Impala kill near Palm crossing. He was a little temperamental this morning and the sighting was on off, on off, it depended a lot on your timing. We decided to take a chance but as is normal when you on the way somewhere things pop up to distract you. First a herd of Zebra drinking at Hide Dam and then a large herd of Giraffe not far North of them kept us occupied. Finally getting back on track I noticed the familiar shape of a cat sitting off in the distance. Reversing we found ourselves a large male Leopard but on seeing that his cover was up he high-tailed it to the East, never to be seen again. At the speed he disappeared I thought Chad could possibly have been around!
With some time having passed since Andrea left Umfana and our arrival he appeared to have settled a bit and allowed us to approach and get a good sighting of him but after sitting in the sighting a while he again became uneasy and would move off into deeper and deeper bush. With Herold and Shadrack still responding we took our leave as we did not want to upset him and ruin it for the others.
On pulling out of the sighting we received news that the trackers had located on four Rhino, there timing could not have been better and we made our way in their direction. Arriving at the sighting the trackers pointed out the four Rhino resting in amongst a thickish Mopane belt. With them being not that relaxed we kept our distance as the terrain would have spooked them should we have tried driving off road. Slowly moving around the road we found a gap that they could be viewed nicely from and where relaxed with our company. Having had a good sighting we made space for the rest of the gang as we kept it to a one vehicle sighting as not to disturb them.
Time once again having escaped us we set off back to Motswari to enjoy brunch. With the pressure of the expected “ Big Five” now off we can go about showing the true beauty of the bush on afternoon drive.
Well my words could not have been any truer with us choosing to head to the East on afternoon drive and we really got to see beautiful bush pity there were now animals in all of it. The beauty of heading East is although you often don't see much the drive itself is very scenic and you are guaranteed solitude and we did not see another vehicle our entire drive, just the way we like it. On many a drive to these parts we have received comments about how picturesque the drive is and our guest never seem to notice that we have not seen anything.
The liveliest our drive got was when we arrived back to camp and found that a breeding herd of Ellies had taken up residence in the camp. As I write this now I can hear the low rumbles of the Ellies and see there gigantic shadows as they pass my bedroom window. Another highlight of our drive was our sundowner spot where we chose a magnificent spot in the Tsharalumi River where you look North and South as far as the eye can see on the sandy riverbed.
The rest of the gang were still after Buffalo as they had missed out earlier this morning but they no sooner had left camp than they ran into a couple of Dagha Boys that were running to the West clearly unsettled by something. Although there sighting was short lived they all got to see Buffalo. They then spread out on the Western sector and made their respective ways South. By the sounds of things they had as quite an afternoon as ourselves but they did manage to view a relaxed female Rhino and her calf shortly before sunset to salvage an otherwise uneventful afternoon. After drinks was to be no better and everyone returned to the Elephant welcoming committee back at camp.
Lets hope they can find a couple relaxed Buffalo in the morning while we head off in search of mom and calf.