Tuesday, 9 October 2012

7th October – Feline Frustrations!

Photo of the Day


Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant, Andrea, Peter and Shaddy)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Ndovu Rd
5 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Argyle Dam
2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Argyle Dam Link
2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Airstrip
1 x elephant cow – Motswari, Camp
2 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Andrea, Peter and Shaddy)
1 x leopard (Nthombi female) – Jaydee, Ndlovu Rd
2 x leopards (unidentified skittish male and female) – Java, Buffalo kill Rd
4 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Jaydee Access
7 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Argyle Dam

Daily Synopsis
This morning was my last morning with my guests, and as we had had some pretty good viewing the last few days, I actually didn’t have a plan, but I knew I wanted the hyenas at the den, and a herd of elephants, so naturally, I headed straight south, well, after enjoying three elephant bulls right near the lodge.

Elephant bulls at the camp

The trip south produced impala, zebras and giraffe, but no photo opportunities, so we moved on.  Arriving at the den, I thought that we had hit gold, but as it turned out, it was just one of the older cubs and he vanished into the hole as we pulled up, leaving us looking at an empty den site.  Luckily we found two adults and the sibling at Hide Dam.

Some hyenas and a fish eagle at Hide Dam

We found tracks for Rockfig Jnr near Entrance Dam, so Petros went on foot to track her down as I carried on; we had a beautiful nyala bull, as well as another big herd of zebras as we went along before coming across a herd of elephants.

Nyala and zebras

The light was not great for photos, but as we had discussed last night at dinner, just being in the presence of an elephant herd is a magical experience, so we stuck with them for a while before heading for a cup of coffee at Elephant Dam where we got to see two buffalo bulls leaving the mud.

Elephant herd and vultures on their nest

Petros had sadly had no luck with the leopard tracks, so I picked him up and headed back north; while that might have been a bit frustrating, it wasn't as frustrating as the drive that Andrea and a few northern stations had had trying to decipher all the lion tracks in the north!  It appeared that the Mafikizolo Pride had returned, tried to catch a buffalo (and got close), but the sounds drew in the two Ximpoko male lions that then chased them around before moving off the Western boundary, and leaving the trackers with no idea where the Mafikizolo’s were!

My afternoon saw me getting a new group of guests, and as a result, I spent the first part of the drive taking it very easy in the north; we enjoyed sightings of impala, steenbuck, a group of buffalo bulls, hippos, crocodiles and a host of birds between the lodge and Argyle Dam.

Buffalo bull

At Argyle Dam, we also had a group of seven large elephant bulls feeding right in the open before coming to the water to splash some mud on themselves, so we stayed and watched them before going to check to see if there were any fresh signs of the Mafikizolo Pride.

Elephants at Argyle Dam

It was then that Nthombi was found right in the northern part of her territory near Makulu Dam, so we slowly headed in that direction, seeing more impala and waterbuck as we went, as well as a giraffe that popped out while enjoying some waterbuck.

Monitor lizard, giraffes and waterbuck

We eventually joined the sighting of the gorgeous leopard and were treated to a sighting of her as she stalked towards a herd of impalas, but not wanting to interfere, we couldn’t get to close and eventually left her still stalking.

Nthombi stalking some impalas

We enjoyed a wonderful drink stop at Leopard Rock Hide before making our way home; we ticked off a genet, but didn’t have luck with the two leopards that Andrea had found earlier in the afternoon – but besides a myriad of stars above us, we didn’t see much else – still, for a first drive, we were all delighted!