Sunday, 2 December 2012

30th November – Who Let The Dogs Out?

Photo of the Day

Chad's Picture of the morning

Grant's Pic Of The Afternoon.

Morning Drive
(Grant, Marka, Herold, Chad and Shaddy)
19 x wild dogs – Jaydee, Tamboti Pan
2 x leopards (Machaton male and unknown female) – Argyle, Mangova Rd
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s boy) – Argyle, Buffalo Pan
3 x rhinos
1 x rhino
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Great North
1 x elephant bull – Jaydee, Civet Rd
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Argyle, Oppikoppie Rd
2 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, 2nd Sharalumi

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack, Herold & Marka.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Buffalo Kill Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Marula Overhang.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Crossing Below Java.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – Western Cutline.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Rhino ( Male, Female & Calf)
Wilddog ( 19 x Pack) / Jaydee – Tamboti Pan.

Daily Synopsis.

Waking up shortly after having just closed my eyes, I really could have done with more than 3 hours sleep but awaking to a cloudy day and beginning the morning with a bush walk, I guess I couldn’t complain...especially as, as usual on any cloudy day, we joked that “this is perfect wild dog weather”...and I told the guys I expect the wild dogs to be found by the time I finished my short bush after seeing some of the smaller things, including a lovely baboon spider, waterbuck and hippos, I got mobile again to hear that not only had Shaddy and Marka found a small herd of buffalo, a rhino and a leopard in the north, but that no fewer than 19 wild dogs were located in the Nhlaralumi River a bit further to the south...bonus!

As my guests had specifically asked for wild dogs, I had to ignore the sightings in the north and made my way straight towards the dogs, passing impalas and waterbucks as we went, as well as a welcomed crash of three rhinos – the same ones from two days back, and once again I was amazed at how relaxed they were for new rhinos!

Our new relaxed rhinos

We then carried on towards the dogs, and for once, there was not much to slow us down and we arrived to find the pack resting on the banks of the riverbed, already well settled for the morning.  There was a bit of life from time to time, but not their usual level of activity, but hey, it was a pack of wild dogs, so no one was really too fussed!

Wild dog pack resting in the Nhlaralumi

Leaving them, we went to see a couple of buffalo bulls that were a few hundred metres further down the riverbed before making the trip back north where Shaddy and Grant had been kind enough to sit with the leopard for us, and we arrived to a lovely sighting of Argyle’ Jnr’s young boy.  He was between bouts of resting and moving, but eventually went into a little thicket and we could no longer see him, so we headed back to the lodge for some breakfast and my guest’s check-out!  Shaddy was also making his way back to the lodge when he found another two leopards, sadly though they were not the most relaxed and moved into a very difficult area and he left them on their own.  Im not on drive this avie, so Grant will continue with the blog for the next two drives and I will be back tomorrow afternoon :)

Buffalo bulls and Argyle Jnr's male cub
So there appears to be no getting rid of me as I take over the blog once again for this afternoon and tomorrow morning, when Chad will resume drive. Needing both Rhino and Lion for our guests with two drives to go and having not found any sign for Lion in the morning Jacky and I decided that we would try follow up on the two different sightings that they did have of Rhino. We didn't think they would move far as the mercury had risen to a balmy 37C and headed into the area pretty confident. The first half of drive was a quit affair especially for those that drifted away from water. Heading straight to where they had left the Rhino in the morning Jacky and I checked all the roads in the vicinity but found no signs for them what-so-ever. Thinking with the heat they may have changed direction and headed for the Tsharalumi River or one of the many wallows on it's bank we widened our search. Nearing the river we started to pick up on the herds of Elephant that seemed to be everywhere and we continued to run into them throughout the afternoon. Ok, so Jacky and I have a small bias towards these pachyderms and we were easily distracted but how can you not spend time with a herd of Elephant that have a number of young with them, especially when they all crowded around a waterhole and then proceed to walk out into the open space of a airstrip.

Getting back to the matter at hand we continued our search but still not finding anything we decided we would head in the direction of where they had the other Rhino in the morning. Shortly after our decision I was informed of three Rhino approaching the dam that we were on our way to check, perfect! Accelerating our approach we arrived just as the Rhino reached the dam and we sat back and watched as mom and calf drank from the dam. The male hung in the background and every time he approached closer the female would turn and snort at him warning him not to come any closer. She would not allow him anywhere near the water and her calf. Patiently he stood back and waited his turn. 

 With the sun fast approaching the horizon we took our leave and left them to their squabble, heading West we wanted to stop for drinks before heading to our Western boundary that we would check for Lions on our trip back North. Resuming after sundowners we received news the Wilddog were on their way in our direction and no sooner had we pulled away from our drinking spot did they arrive and sit down on the exact embankment that we had just used as a vantage point. Having had a great sighting of them in the morning we did not stick around and headed off in search of the king of the jungle. It would appear though that we had used up our afternoons magic and our drive home was to be a quit one. Lets hope our Lions return for morning drive as they will complete a great two day's safari for our guests.

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