Wednesday, 21 November 2012

19th November: Half & Half.

Pic Of Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Chad, Herold & Shadrack.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Buchner.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Buchner.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Vielmieter – Sweetwater Pan.
Lion ( Timbavati Females & Cubs) / Buchner.
Leopard ( Mbali ) / Mbali – Woza Woza Cutline.
Leopard ( Ntombi's Male Cub) / Vielmieter – Elephant Dam.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Chad & Herold.)

Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Wedge River Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Ekhuvukheni Access.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Buchner.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Wedge River Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Ekhuvukheni Access.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Buffalo Kill Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Mbali – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Mbali – Mvubu Crossing.
Rhino ( Male & Female)
Rhino ( Male)
Rhino ( Male)
Lion ( Timbavati Females & 4 cubs) / Buchner.
Leopard ( Ntombi's Male Cub) / Vielmieter – Jiga Jiga Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

Well hello there all! Due to circumstances I've managed to sneak my head in again and will be bringing you the blog for the next couple of days, exciting stuff, although it is going to be hard to match the wonderful blogs Chad has been posting while I was away.

So without further a due let me get right into it. Morning drive had us all in search of different things, well nearly, Herold and myself were both keen to follow up on the Wilddog that the guys had yesterday afternoon. Chad was heading North to visit the Lions and their buffalo carcass while Shaddy was heading towards Umfana Male and his Impala Kill. Not that he was that interested in the Leopard but more looking for Hyena and was hoping that they would be present at the site.

Moving directly in the direction that the guys had left the Dogs in the evening before we hoped to get to the area before they decided to move off to far as it is a notoriously difficult area to track with a combination of hard soil, thick Mopane and a multitude of drainage lines to contend with. Shadrack's and Herold's trip South was a little more productive than ours as they both viewed one of our beautiful big herds of Elephant that have come to frequent our traversing area of late. Not becoming distracted, makes a change, we continued into the area and it was not long before we picked up on our objectives tracks, unfortunately we did not pick up on one set heading in a single direction but instead the entire packs heading in every direction on the compass. No sooner did we start following up on one set in a direction than we would have to turn around and follow it back where we had just come from and then it would suddenly change direction yet again and set off at speed. From the tracks we could make out where all thirty were together and then suddenly they would all be heading off in every direction chasing game before regrouping and then once again setting off. Driving around in circles Jacky and I were utterly confused and had no real place to start. Herold joined us at this point and we both drove around in circles still not finding a clue as to a definite direction to start following up in. Eventually having found ourselves at the same point for a third time Jacky and I decided to head onto foot and see if we could decipher this mess. At first it appeared that the only difference now was that we were walking around in circles as opposed to driving but sticking with it we eventually found where the pack rejoined and they all ran off on a front to the East. Herold decided to head back West and see if he could have any luck tracking down Umfana Male as he and his kill were both gone from the previous nights position as he now believed we were trying to follow up on ghosts. Shaddy had not followed up on the Leopard and had continued South to the Hyena Den on Umlani as it would appear that our Hyena Den has been relocated elsewhere. Collecting the car Jacky and I continued to the East checking the roads and favoured spots but came up with nothing and eventually stopped for a cup of coffee at a pan where we first found this pack of Dogs almost a year ago, needless to say they were not there either, pity! Having checked all the roads East and not finding anything they must still be hidden in the Mopane forest but with it being a huge block as well, it would be like finding a needle in a haystack, possible but improbable. Resuming after drinks and having seen literally nothing else living apart from one another we chose to head back North hearing that Johannes had found Mbali resting in a Weeping Wattle. At about the same time Shaddy found Ntombi's young male cub at Elephant Dam, with Mbali being closer and kind of on the way home we continued in her direction. Arriving on scene we found that she had moved from the branches of the tree to the base where she had fallen fast asleep, well we hoped, cause from the inactivity she could also have been dead. Choosing to sit with her a while we noticed her chest heaving up and down, so there was life and this urged us to sit a while longer. Our patience eventually paid off as she lifted her head and then eventually got up and began eating the long grass around her. Sticking with her she made her way out from underneath the tree and set off to the South all along the way stopping to feed on any broad, long leafed grass.

Getting great views along the way we eventually left her to her grasing having saved our morning. Chad had himself a little adventure North and relocated on the Lions and their Buffalo. Not far away there was a herd of Buffalo that became aware of the Lions and chased them off their carcass to investigate their dead compatriot. Establishing they may be a little late they moved off and the Lions returned to feed. You'll have to ask Chad about his drive home, all I'm going to say is now I know why GPS was invented.

Receiving new guests in the afternoon a decision had to be made whether to head North back to the Lions and their Buffalo or stick around the South and take a chance they would be there the next morning. Jacky and I came to an agreement that if we found the Buffalo and Elephant that had been hanging around the lodge the whole day than we would head off North. With three of Herolds guests not arriving yet he was forced to stick around in the North and it was not long before he picked up on the Buffalo we were in search of. 

While sitting with them we could hear the Elephant trumpeting to our East so it appeared our decision had been made quickly for us. Making our way around to the Elephant we bumped into another small breeding herd of Buffalo that also were taking shelter from the afternoons sun in amongst a Mopane thicket with the Elephants dominating the shade of the bigger Marula's in the area. The afternoons heat had everything static and we could approach nice and close, more to join them in the shade than wanting to reach out and touch them. Enjoying our close encounter we eventually pulled ourselves away to head North hoping that we would arrive late afternoon when it would be a little cooler and hopefully the Lion's would be active. 

Our trip North was uneventful but that does not really matter as the pure beauty of the region is enough to keep you captivated with it's wide open vista's of uninterrupted bush to the horizon. Nearing the area we could smell the carcass before actually seeing it and it would appear the Buffalo was fighting back. As was with the day before we arrived to one adult feeding with her three cubs while the other female and her cub lay under a nearby large Apple-leaf tree. Having them to ourselves we sat with them the rest of the afternoon watching the antics of the pride. Loosing light we headed off to Kruger Corner for sundowners, which for a change we actually took at sundown.

Resuming after drinks we began our long trip back South were Jacky once again worked his magic and found us two Chameleons. We also had a very nice sighting of a Small Spotted Genet which brought our evening to a wrap. Both Chad and Herold also had themselves a good afternoon and found themselves Rhino, three different sightings, and Ntombi's Cub to mention only the highlights. Tomorrow Jacky has promised our guests Zebra, Giraffe, Rhino and Leopard, guess he is going to do a fair bit of dancing tonight.


  1. And Grant is back! Stunning pics and humorous report. What a treat. Thank you.

  2. Grant I love your style of reporting and great pictures - thank you for bringing Timbavati alive