Sunday, 26 August 2012

25 August: Beautiful Day.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Chad & Herold.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Xinatsi dam Rd North.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Long Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Peru Entrance.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Motswai Soccer Field.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Argyle – Hennies Rd.
Leopard ( Shongile Female) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Rhino ( Male, Female and Calf)
Lion ( 1 x Unknown Male) / Argyle – Argyle Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Chad, Herold & Andrea.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Long Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Flooded Crossing.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Broken Dam.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Ingwelala Crossing.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Argyle – Argyle Dam.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Vielmieter – Phiva Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Mbali – Western Cutline.
Rhino ( Male, Female & Calf)
Leopard ( Shindzuti Male) / Mbali – Mbali River Rd.
Leopard ( Makipi's Male) / Peru – Klipgat Crossing.
Leopard ( Mbali Female) / Peru – Apple Leaf Rd.
Leopard ( Rockfig Jnr) / Java – Crossing Below Java.
Lion ( Mafikizolo Pride) / Argyle – Klipdrift Crossing.

Daily Synopsis.

The beauty of drive at the moment is that you can never take the wrong road as there is so much about that you are bound to find something along the your way. After the excitement of yesterday it was going to be difficult to match it again this morning and it's therefore often referred to as the “ Hang Over Drive.” The way our drive started definitely did not indicate that it would be as we started right were we had left off, and I don't mean Reception for all you wise guys! There is no better way to start your morning than with a relaxed herd of Elephant which we did when we found the herd that had been in camp during the night not far from it. We sat with them as they went about their morning feeding and we eventually had them surrounding us feeding on all sides of the vehicle. With them slowly moving off we could to, our intention was to follow the same plan as the morning before and head swiftly down to the Hyena Den and then head out West to follow up on the Buffalo and Rhino. 

The plan was quickly changed when Johannes on his way back to Motswari picked up on Shongile on our soccer field. She had obviously not drifted far from camp after walking through it during the night and both Herold and myself promptly turned around and headed in her direction. Arriving at the prefect time she popped out a drainage line and was about to make her way across our airstrip, a stark contrast to the sighting we had the previous evening. With her interest peaked at something on the far side she made her way across the airstrip quickly and into the cover on the far side. There she paused and contemplated her next move. With her moving towards our traversing boundary and having had a great sighting we chose to make space so that others could get a chance to see her before she crossed. 

With us loosing the early hours we gave up the idea of the Hyena Den and headed off to the West to follow up on the Buffalo and Rhino. As was with yesterday we ran into plenty of general game and we could have spent our entire game drive on one road. While sitting with a herd of Giraffe and Zebra we could hear Hyena's hysterically giggling to the North of us accompanied by the plaintive bellows of a Buffalo. Contacting Herold we both set off in the direction of the calls which had become less frequent as we got closer and closer. Driving around the area we could still hear the grunts of the Buffalo but the calls of the Hyena had now moved further to the North and sounded like they now were coming from our neighbours Ingwelala. Continuing to check the area we found male Lion tracks running to the North and Herold found female tracks on our Northern boundary heading across into Ingwelala he also saw one Hyena in hot pursuit of another giggling as it went. I'm not to sure of exactly what happened or whether a Buffalo came to it's end and is still in the block that we were circling with other Lions that may be present as it all is pretty confusing with the tracks not adding up and the origins of the noises not coinciding with them. To add to the confusion one of our mystery males was found on the tar road to the North of where we were looking already through Ingwelala property. As I said none of it made sense so instead we chose to save our energy and head South to our intended Rhino that had been found not far from their position of the previous evening. 

With temperatures once again sky rocketing the drive South turned quit until we arrived at our three Rhino who also now were seeking the shelter of shade. While sitting with them mom fed in the shade of a Knobthorn Tree will baby took a nap, the large male that has been present of the past few weeks was also present but kept his distance from both us and mom. Every time he approached to close mom would chase him off huffing and puffing. As they all settled for the day we turned our attention to our grumbling stomachs and headed back to camp for brunch.

Our afternoon was to be a very chilled affair and if you look at the sightings list above you would think it was an amasing afternoon but truth be told the majority of the sightings were a one off being lost very soon after being found or the visibility was very poor. Having said that though a select handful were top draw stuff and I think we all had at least one of those per vehicle. We chose to stick around the North and very slowly drove around looking at anything and everything but not responding to any of the sightings. Our afternoon was to be a casual affair and we spent time with everything we came across from the birds, to lizards, to both mammals great and small and by the time sundowners came were were little over two kilometres from camp. 

Our highlight for the afternoon was a herd of Elephant that we found shortly before the aforementioned drinks. In particular was a couple of members that were taking a swim in the deep pool below Lovers Leap. With the day being as hot as it was I sat there envying them as they frolicked in what looked like cool refreshing water. It was a great sighting and we sat with them the entire duration of there swim as the play fought with one another and then playfully chased all the birds from the waters edge as if proclaiming it as their sole property. Needing refreshment ourselves we chose to take drinks at the top of Lovers Leap this gave us a great view of the sun setting as well as of the herd of Elephant feeding in the riverbed below. To top it all off we were serenaded by the Hippo and the Fish Eagles at Argyle Dam and a Scops Owlet somewhere in a nearby riverine tree.

It was only after sundowners that we got caught up in trying to respond to nearby sightings, the operative word being tried. First Andrea found Mbali, her third Leopard of the afternoon, but she unfortunately lost her as she made her way through a very thick region West of the Tsharalumi River. Trying to relocate we received a message from Herold that he had found the Mafikizolo Pride nearby but by the time we arrived on scene they had made their way up a rocky inaccessible riverbed that only afforded a distant view of a couple of the members, I think the three second sighting of two honey badgers was more of a highlight. So the end of our drive was spent eating dust the complete opposite of pre drinks and in hind site we should have never got involved and continued with our own thing, lesson learned.

Well its been a whole bunch of fun the past week but the time has come to hand back the reins, so I think Andrea will be taking over the blog from tomorrow. Thanks for the support and we'll catch you next time. Take care.


1 comment:

  1. Stunning leopard shots, Grant. Cannot wait to hear Chad's comments. The baby Ellie's just stole my heart. Till next time.