|Pic Of The Day.|
( Grant, Herold, Shadrack, Andrea & Marka.)
Leopard ( Mbali Female) / Peru – Bulala Rd.
Leopard ( Ntombi's Male Cub) / Vielmieter – Albert / Vielmieter Cutline.
Rhino ( Male)
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Hippo Rocky Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / JayDee - 1st Tsharalumi Crossing.
Lion ( Maband & Xipoko Males & 1 x Mafikizolo Female) / Vielmieter – Sweetwater.
( Grant, Shadrack, Andrea & Marka.)
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Ingwelala Crossing.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Back Nines.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter - 2nd Tsharalumi Crossing.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Rhino ( Male)
Wilddog ( 13 x pack) / Kings – Eagle Owl Plains.
Lion ( Xipoko Male & Mafikizolo Female) / Vielmieter – Western Tsaharalumi.
Expecting the unexpected we set off on morning drive. Having had our fill of herbivores yesterday we were hoping for a carnivore or two this morning. I know Herold was holding big thumbs as he was on his guests last drive and he still needed to find Elephant, Buffalo and Lion, very unlike Herold, welcome to my world! Jacky and I chose to head to our Northern boundary and then drive West along the main tar road and see what it would deliver. Approaching our neighbours airstrip we found our resident herd of Wildebeest with their now four calves. They seemed a little on edge and preoccupied with something approaching from the North and paid us no attention and we were able to pull right up next to them. We then noticed why they had allowed our close approach as they kept an eye on two Hyena that were slowly making their way in their direction. As the Hyena got closer the youngsters dropped to the opposite side of the danger while some of the sub adults moved forward to face off the Hyena. Getting closer the Hyena began to loose their confidence and began pausing this was all the Wildebeest were waiting for and pushed forward driving back the Hyena. Unsure of themselves now the Hyena hovered around but then decided they were fighting a loosing battle and skulked off into the bush.
Continuing on our way it was not long before we found ourselves a nice herd of Giraffe with a youngster amongst them that kept us entertained for a fare while. While watching it, Andrea's drive was about to ignite when she found Mbali sitting up a Marula Tree.
Changing our plans of visiting a Hyena Den in the far South we slowly made our way in her direction as our guests were very keen for Leopard. With the sighting drawing a lot of attention we drove around the area waiting our turn during this time we found a nice Bull Elephant taking a sand bath that kept us transfixed.
Being called in we found Mbali now resting up a Knobthorn tree and as is usual she was fast asleep and again did not even raise an eyebrow at our arrival. Knowing her M.O. We only needed wait a while until she became uncomfortable and popped up her head to readjust her position. Not being perfect photographic conditions we could just sit back and enjoy the sighting and it was good to see that she is full bellied and looking in good condition.
While we were with her, Andrea struck again and found a large male Rhino a little down the track that we would visit after our granny visit was over. With two large male Lions being found in the far South a great number of stations made their way in their direction. Avoiding the hustle and bustle and receiving new guests this afternoon we decided to leave it for the afternoon and stuck to the North.
Our morning was not as exciting as the rest but we picked up on a number of nice sightings of the smaller things and it appeared our birds were back. The guys that headed South picked up on Buffalo and Elephant on their way to the Lions and on the way back Herold found Ntombi's cub, add to this another sighting of Rhino and a pack of Wilddog and you have yourself a busy morning in the Timbavati, as I mentioned yesterday, you just never know! You will also be glad to hear that Herold found all that he was looking for and pulled it back for his guests in overtime.
Closing for brunch under clouded skies we hope everybody is still around this afternoon.
Missing two of our guests for the start of drive we initially stuck around the lodge,hoping they would arrive soon as we had a lot to see if the morning was anything to go by. Luckily we did not have to wait long and they joined us after a couple of Buffalo Bulls we had found feeding along the Sohobele River not far from the lodge.
Wanting to head South quite quickly we avoided Argyle Dam as it is generally a hive of activity and you can spend a fair amount of time there. Our plan was thawted though when “ Eagle Eye Jacky” said lets go look at the Rhino and casually pointed to the banks of the dam where a large male Rhino was making his way towards the water. Being the same nervous male from the morning we gave him his space and he appeared good with the distance we kept and continued about his business of marking his territory and eventually making his way to the waters edge. Being out in the open we got a great sighting of him and it was a great way to start our drive.
With still lots to do we turned and continued to the South but again a detour to see if we could relocate on Mbali delayed our progress. We thought she would be resting in one of the many Marula Trees in the vicinity she had been in the morning, we thought wrong. All was not lost though as we picked up on some nice Waterbuck, Kudu, Zebra and a clan of five Hyena who were lying up in the shade. Hearing that a number of stations had headed to the Lions but had no success in relocating them the distractions were welcome and filled up our drive very nicely.
With more stations heading to the area of the Lions to try succeed were the others had failed we chose to head towards where Herold had seen Ntombi's cub hoping that he would have sought shelter in one of the trees at a nearby pan. Like Mbali we were again wrong, clearly we know nothing about Leopard behaviour, and we passed the area with no joy. In two minds on what to do next our choice was quickly made for us when we were extended an invitation to visit a pack of Wilddog on Kings. Not being far from the area we made our way out onto the open area of Eagle Owl Plains to find the adult contingent resting near a mud wallow while the pups entertained themselves by chasing one another around the open plain under the watchful eye of the adults. As we do not view Wilddogs under the spotlight we spent all the available natural light with them before leaving them still engaged in their games to head for drinks.
Shortly before stopping we received news that the Lions had finally been relocated and had come out of hiding to sit next to the road along the Tsharalumi River. Being already dark we chose to forgo drinks and head in their direction, after all it's not everyday that you get to view mating Lions. Arriving at the sighting we found the large male and female but the male companion from the morning was missing, clearly giving the honeymoon couple some privacy. The two of them sat opposite one another, head to head dozing. After about ten minutes the male suddenly lifted himself, obviously having received a message from the female that we all missed, and moved into position to mount her, as quickly as it had started it was over and he returned to resting beside her while she rolled over onto her back.
I'm not to sure how lucky my guests know they were as not only had we seen Rhino earlier in the afternoon but we had also seen Endangered Wilddogs and now mating Lions, people that visit the bush regularly wait their whole lives to see what we had seen in a single afternoon. Having run well into overtime we speedily headed back to the lodge to brag about our afternoon.