Saturday, 29 December 2012

28th December: Five For Five.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack, Giyani & Pete.)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Scholtz – Black Rock Crossing.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Lily Pan.
Rhino ( 2 x Males & Female)
Leopard ( Rockfig Jnr) / Kings – Mafikizolo Rd.
Wilddog ( 26 Pack) / Tanda Tula – Old Bush Breakfast.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd)
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Voeldam.
Elephant ( Female) / Vielmieter – Vielmieter Camp.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack, Pete, Andrea & Herold.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Peru Entrance.
Elephant ( Female) / Java – Back Of Java.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Lily Pan Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) /
Rhino ( Male)
Rhino ( 2 x Males & Female)

Daily Synopsis.

Desperate for Lion we all divided the reserve up and headed towards our respective boundaries in hope to find tracks crossing into our traversing that we could follow up on. This was not just a Motswari initiative but a collaboration of all the lodges as we all were in search of this elusive cat. We took one for the team and headed to the North East where we would turn around and head South along our Eastern boundary. An area that delivers up the most amazing sightings but it can also be the quietest place on earth. This would be the case for the first hour of our drive as we found no other living thing and the lack of tracks confirmed this, not that it was that busy around the rest of the reserve with only a herd of Elephant being called into date. Cutting into the Central Eastern section things livened up and we picked up tracks for a herd of Buffalo. Ageing them we thought they were from late yesterday afternoon or early evening. Hoping that Lions may be following we proceeded to follow up. Initially the tracks were confusing as they had us going in every direction but following Jacky's advice we picked up their movement to the South. Not heading to far in that direction they turned to the West. Knowing that there was a waterhole in that direction we sped things up and headed straight there were we again picked up on their tracks, we then found where they had spent the night sleeping in the open area of an airstrip. We were getting closer. After a little more confusion we ascertained that they had then moved back to the East, heading back to where we had just come from we found that they had in fact crossed their own tracks and headed East of the Sohobele River. Heading down into the crossing we came across them now heading back to the West, and here I thought I was direction less! It was not a particularly good spot to find them in a steep banked riverbed with thick Mopane on either side but we did get a nice view as they crossed the riverbed from one side to the other. They seemed a little agitated but we found no tracks of predators anywhere along the way, it may of just been that the were uncomfortable in a vulnerable position or that they were a herd out of Kruger and not that used to people.

Our find seemed to kick start things and nearly immediately another herd was found on our Western Boundary they too had no signs of Lions behind but hopefully with two herds of Buffalo in the area and numerous Dagha Boys it will draw them in. Being invited down to Wilddogs on Tanda Tula we decided to take them up on the offer and end John and Val's trip on a high. 

Although we had seen dogs on one occasion it was not for very long and it would wrap up their trip very nicely. Little did we know what surprise lay ahead! Making the long way to the sighting we rounded a bend and their in the Marula Tree in front of us sat a Leopard. What made this incredible was the fact, and I'm not one to brag, this would be the fifth Leopard that Jacky and I had found in as many days and a new personal best for us. It would also bring a total of eight sightings for John and Val in seven nights of seven different Leopards. Talk about luck and being in the right place at the right time but then again Val always seems to draw the animals out when she visits. We stayed with Rockfig Jnr until she descended from the tree and another station arrived to take over the sighting. It looked like she had recently eaten as her belly was swollen and her breathing was very laboured, all in all she looks in great condition.

Continuing on our way we eventually made it down to the Wilddog who had now taken up shelter in the Tsharalumi Riverbed in the shade of the large riverine trees. We could not see the entire pack but all the adults lay out on the open sand while the pups seemed to prefer an island of vegetation and we could only hear them yelping as the excitedly played with one another in the cover of the shrubs.

With a long way home we took our leave. With John and Val now unfortunately heading home it will be interesting to see what Jacky and I find, if things quieten there may be a job for you after all Val.

Setting off in scorching heat afternoon drive was a hot and uncomfortable affair. Not thinking that much would be moving around under these conditions we set off towards the Tsharalumi River in hope of finding Elephant. With new guests on board we also wanted to head West and follow up on the Rhino and herd of Buffalo from the morning, if we could accomplish that we would have a great afternoon. Checking the roads in and around the river we did not find our Elephant herd although we could hear them. Not quite going our way we left the area and continued out to the West. 

It appeared our luck was to change as we received a message that the three Rhino had been located at the same spot we had the one male Rhino the previous afternoon, all lying in the cool mud. Making our way in their direction we arrived at the site to find that the station that was with them had lost them. Hmm........................... maybe that luck had not changed. Setting Jacky on the tracks it was not long before he got a direction and he was even quicker to find them. They had turned and headed in the complete opposite direction to that that we were told they had headed in. Finding Jacky and them in quite a thick area we sat patiently in a nearby clearing and waited for them to relax with us and eventually move out and around the car. The two males did not take much notice of us but the young female is always weary and constantly pulling the males on. 

Having a good sighting and hearing the Buffalo had been located not far away we moved off in their direction. As was with the Rhino we found them in a thick area and the visual was made worse by the fact that they were still sitting down resting. Weaving in amongst all the vegetation we managed to get into a good spot were we could view a portion of the herd. When they decided to get up and begin moving off for their evening feed we decided to head back North. 

While trying to decide on a sundowner spot we heard that our Elephant had come out into the open and shown themselves. Unable to think of a good drinking spot in our immediate area we chose to head onto the Elephant and then take drinks afterwards. As is usual on your way to something, something else will pop up to delay you. This time it came in the form of a beautiful Waterbuck Male and then a Chameleon out and about before dark. Stopping for both our arrival at the Elephants would be in the last light of the day and not very good for photography but none the less a great sighting as they slowly moved across an open plain, made more impressive by the pursuit of the herd by a very large male in musth. On reaching a Mopane belt the slowly melted into the thicket and we thought it best to continue on our way for a drink, celebrate the success of our afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. What can I say, we were very very lucky, but I'm more than happy to come back as an "animal Magnet" anytime just let me know when...