Photo of the Day
|Wild dog pups in the rain!|
(Herold, Chad, Andrea and Shadrack)
7 x wild dogs (2 adults, 5 pups) – Jaydee, Airstrip
2 x leopards (Nthombi and cub with impala kill) – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Northern Access
2 x leopards (Argyle Jnr’s cubs) – Motswari, Bush Braai
2 x rhinos (sub-adult male and female)
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Hippo Rocky Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Peru, Lily Pan Rd
(Grant, Chad, Herld and Shadrack)
2 x lions (Sohebele males) – Motswari. Bush Braai
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr Femle female) – Motswari, Bush Braai
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s male cub) – Motswari, Bush Braai
4 x rhinos (semi-relaxed)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Buffalo Kill Rd
5 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Motswari Dam
As my guests were only at Motswari for one night, I knew that this morning there would be no turning around, and just as well, as it turned out to be a superb morning!
My intention was to head south for the hyena den and to then go and track down some rhinos, and if all went well, there would be some wild dogs around.
Heading south along Western Cutline in the light drizzle was surprisingly productive with giraffe, impala, kudu and zebras all showing themselves before we reached a partially active hyena den; there was one adult suckling the two biggest cubs and the middle cub out, but when the mother and big cubs moved off, the little one returned to the den and that was the end of that!
|Giraffe, zebras and hyena cub|
Nthombi and her boy were found with an impala kill in the same spot Giyani had located them last night, and I was heading in that general direction, but more to look for rhinos; failing that, two leopards was always a good back-up plan!
We saw more good general game including a nice herd of wildebeest, a mother and baby bushbuck, plenty of impala and more giraffes.
Checking some of the usual rhino haunts didn’t produce an awful lot, but we soon found tracks for two rhinos and Petros set off to do what he does best; and then Herold did what he does best...found me animals!
This time, it wasn't the rhinos, but something even better – wild dogs! Best of all, it was less than a kilometre back on the very road I had just driven! I raced to join the sighting and was soon sitting watching the pack of seven dogs come running down one of the old airstrips – two adults and five pups!
|Wild dogs!!! Pups much more relaxed with the vehicles today :)|
While watching them, Petros radioed to tell me that he had found the rhinos, but the wild dogs were too active to leave and we carried on watching as the pups chased one another around in perfect wild dog conditions before eventually settling down, and so we left them and moved towards Petros.
Petros had found the sub-adult male and female rhino and we sat watching them as the rain started coming down again, putting pay to the idea of having any coffee, so after a nice sighting, I made my way back campward; passing the wild dogs that were still active on the airstrip!
We did carry on seeing animals along the route home – kudus, impalas, zebras and even a large breeding herd of buffalo as we went.
|More zebras and buffalo herd|
Grant then radioed me sounding out of breath, but when I eventually got to the top of a hill, I could hear him more clearly – he was out on his usual daily run and radioed to tell us that there was a leopard sitting up in a mopane tree just off the airstrip watching him as he ran, and it seemed to not have any concerns with him being there! This sounded like Kuhanya to me, but he mentioned that it looked small, so possibly Shongile...you can imagine our surprise when Andrea was the first to arrive in the area and find not one but two leopards – Argyle Jnr’s cubs – right at the site of our “bush braai” (barbeque site). The female cub ran off, but the young male remained his unbelievably relaxed self and climbed another tree and waited there until we arrived to a gorgeous sight of a gorgeous leopard to round off a wonderful morning!
|Argyle Jnr's relaxed male cub|
In the afternoon, Grant had new guests and went to see if he could find this young male leopard again as I headed south hoping to see Nthombi and her cub and maybe even the rhino and calf.
Grant soon located on Argyle Jnr herself at our bush braai, but she was always mobile and didn’t make it easy on Grant – luckily she went static on a termite mound for Herold, and both guides were sure that they had a meal close by. Leaving that area, Grant then found the young male leopard way up in a small mopane tree right by the bush braai – a bit odd, but when a lion sneezed about 80m away, it all made sense! The lions were the two Sohebele males and they appear to have stolen the kill and finished it off and were now just resting nearby. On hearing about all this, I left the kudus, giraffes and impalas I had been watching and made my way back towards the camp.
|Giraffes, kudu and brown-hooded kingfisher posing for us!|
As the leopard was more awake, we went to view him for a while as he walked around and posed on a dead log before going to climb up the same knobthorn tree he had been in in the morning.
|Argyle jnr's boy still hanging around|
The lions then got our attention, but both brothers were very lazy and didn’t do an awful lot, so we left them and went to look for some elephants.
|Sohebele males resting near Bush Braai|
This took a while, but we stuck to the riverbeds as the rain started to come down, and logic paid off and we eventually found ourselves a breeding herd of these giants and enjoyed a lovely sighting of them feeding near us before the rain stopped; the threatening clouds however made us head for camp without drinks and we got back dry at least – only during dinner on the verandah did the rain start falling again, so we shall have to see what tomorrow morning brings!