Monday, 22 October 2012

21st October: Boating About!

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Herold & Shadrack.)

Rhino ( Tshangula Male)
Rhino ( Juvenile Male & Female)
Rhino ( Female & Calf)
Lion ( Xiapoko Male, Mabande Male & Female) / JayDee – Ndlophu Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Scholtz – Kudu Pan Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Herold, Shadrack & Marka.)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – Old Closed Rd.
Rhino ( Male & Female)
Lion ( Xiapoko and Mabande Males & Female) / JayDee – Albert/ Vielmieter Cutline.
Leopard ( Makipi's Male) / Peru – Concrete Crossing.

Daily Synopsis.

It is a little disturbing how it only seems to rain while we on drive but when we back and resting it stops. Yet again morning drive got under way in wet conditions lucky for us we were looking for Elephant and Rhino, two species that rather favour these conditions so we headed out positive that we would be successful. With a few of the properties still closed and off roading being very limited due to the wet conditions added to the challenge. With the heaviest raining falling at the onset of drive very little was seen initially but as things lightened so the animals began to show themselves. First up was our two male Lions that have moved into the area. There was a report that they had spent the entire night around Java, Motswari's self-catering camp, where one of the males had found himself some female company and they were seen mating at the camps water trough, while his brother spent the night calling a little distance away. Herold found himself in the area where they were tracking and was in the right place at the right time as all three came running in his direction after seeing the trackers on foot. With the sight settling the guys got to enjoy a nice sighting of the large male as the other two chose to head into some thicker vegetation for a little privacy. We chose not to head in their direction and kept out in the East focussing on our objective. Hearing that they had found two adolescent Rhino down South both Shaddy and myself headed in their direction.

Shaddy managed to relocate on the two Rhino who had been left unattended but while sitting with them a third larger male joined and chased off the younger male and pursued the female. It did not look like it would be our morning as they all ran in opposite directions and into the nearby Machaton River, not an easy area to relocate anything. We chose to take a chance and head to the West were the large male was last seen heading. While we continued our search the two juveniles regrouped and where again located on the Eastern bank, backing ourselves we continued to look for the larger male and when Jacky noticed a scuff mark on the road it did not take him long to locate the large male in the thick vegetation next to us. Initially it was a difficult sighting but following him a little he lead us into more open areas and we got to enjoy a great sighting of him. 

Still needing Elephant we turned back to the North wanting to follow up on tracks that had been found earlier in the morning. On our way we bumped the other two juvenile Rhino who had now crossed to the West and were following a very similar path as the large male. When Herold visited the sighting later he found the large male and our relaxed mom and calf, no sign of the other two. Nice to have them back in the area as they have been missing a few days. Our Elephant search had us running around in circles and eventually after all our work they crossed into a property that is closed, hmm................................... guess you can't have everything your way. With time up we headed back to the lodge a lot drier than we had started off and not to jinx things but it looks like we could be in for a dry afternoon and hopefully an afternoon filled with activity.

So I think I spoke a little prematurely as it was not long after we set off on afternoon drive that we were once again reaching for our poncho's being seasoned professionals at this now it did not take us long to get them on and back on the road, alla Formula One style. Our objective for the afternoon was to find Elephant as we don't want another set of guests leaving without seeing Jacky and my favourite animal, like we had this morning, which by the way is our first time ever and very disappointing. Lucky for us they are off to the Sabi Sands and should have a good opportunity there. Having been up and down the Eastern side we chose to try our luck in the West and headed to our “ go to” road when in need of Elephant. This would have us winding along the Tsharalumi River South normally a good place but given the emergence of abundant new growth they could be anywhere.

Think the weather may have finally got to Patrick, Diff & Jacky.

Heading further and further South the rain became heavier and heavier and it had a few stations running for the shelter of their lodges knowing that the bigger animals enjoyed this weather we stuck it out and it was not long before the rain eased and then stopped completely. Finding ourselves in the region of the two large male Lions and their female friend we chose to respond to them hearing that they were relocated. Along the way though two Rhino were found in between us and the Lions so we pulled ourselves from the sighting and joined the Rhino thus allowing things to flow a little smoother. Well that was until the two sightings came together and things went a little haywire, lucky the Rhino's did not hang around and trotted off while the Lion now had raised himself from his slumber and sat up and called for his brother. We stayed with the Rhino holding onto them until the next station was able to join and we could hand over and head back to the Lion.

We found him still sitting up waiting on a response from his companion, after a short while and no response he flopped back down. Having had a good sighting and hearing that a herd of Elephant had been seen in the East earlier in the afternoon we headed off in that direction hoping that our luck would continue and we would bump them. 

Travelling all the roads in the vicinity that they were reported to have been seen we only found signs of their presence but we did not find the elephant themselves. With light failing us once again we headed off for a sundowner were our guests toasted missing friends, and ELEPHANT! Jacky and I now have one drive in the morning to make amends, lets see what happens!

Highlight Of My Day.

Seeing a Lion in his prime is always a great thing but I think today's highlight is a toss up between the Chameleon Jacky found me or the appearance of the sun shortly before it slipped below the horizon. I think I'll go with the sun as this holds promise for tomorrow.

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