|Pic Of The Day.|
( Grant, Herold, Andrea & Pete.)
Lions ( 2 x Mafikizolo Males & 2 x Females) / Peru – Wild West.
( Grant, Herold, Pete & Shadrack.)
Lion ( 2 x Mafikizolo Females) / Peru – Hippo Rocky Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter - 1st Tsharalumi Crossing.
Elephant ( Female) / Peru – Mbali River Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Ndlophu Rd.
Happy New Year all, wishing you all the best for 2013! A little more sluggish than normal this morning we set off South hoping to follow up on the Cheetah from the previous afternoon. With the wind having picked up during the evening and receiving a sprinkling of rain around midnight the roads were clear of all old tracks and we started the New Year with a fresh canvas waiting to be autographed. After the legendary day we had yesterday it was going to take a lot to get anywhere close to equalling it and both Jacky and I were very well aware that days like that are rare and few and far between but a Cheetah would go a long way to help. Taking a leisurely drive to the South we checked the normal areas that Cheetah tend to frequent when they enter our traversing area. Not only did we not find any track or sign for it but we found no track or sign for anything else living and our canvas remained blank for a great deal of the drive. Even Impala were a scarcity and at one stage I thought we had taken a wrong turn and had mistakenly ended up out in the East. We were not the only ones having a very quit morning as sporadically someone would test their radio to make sure it was in fact working, apparently silence is not golden. Closing for a coffee break our sum total, apart from a few Impala, for the morning was our herd of Wildebeest on Java airstrip, a far cry from our morning yesterday.
Returning after an extended break there was a little more life on the radio as the guys picked up on the Mafikizolo Pride. They had been found once again on our Western boundary with signs of a Buffalo herd in the area as well. With them being far more relaxed than the previous day and nothing else happening we decided to visit them on our way home.
Arriving somewhat later and still having not seen much we were pleasantly surprised to find the one dark maned Lion out in the open for us to view. He had also not yet entered into the world of slumber and sat up, eyes open for us. This was not for long though as the Sandman slowly took his grip and he drifted off into the land of Nod. While lying there he looked very much like I felt and I guess last nights festivities took it's toll on all of us, animals included. Here's hoping we all a little more alive and active this afternoon.
Afternoon drive didn't quite get off to the start we wanted it to with us first breaking down at Argyle Dam and once we got ourselves going again with the help of a tow from Shaddy we met up with Andrea to swap vehicles. It was only after she had left us on the way back to the lodge that we realised that we had left our spotlight in our old vehicle, so turning around once again we had to chase her down to fetch it. Eventually getting our act together we could actually begin drive. Our plans for the afternoon had been to return to the central section in search of the Cheetah which we believed must be still in the area but after our dodgy start we changed our minds and stuck to the North in search of Leopard and anything else that came our way. A herd of Elephant would have been nice to settle the shaky start but as was with the mornings drive it appeared to be very quit and we only picked up on large herds of Impala. Receiving a sprinkling yet again the roads were blank canvasses but they remained that way for the most part of drive as we picked up on little more than we had in the morning. Shaddy and Pete headed off to relocate on the Mafikizolo Pride and after a little bit of a run around they managed to only find the two females who did not offer up much of a sighting as they rested/ hide in some very thick Mopane. Herold was in search of Elephant and Buffalo and as is his way he found exactly what he was looking for with both of them being nearby one another. Our highlight for the afternoon was finding the very old female Elephant that travels around solo. I mentioned her a couple of months ago after which she seemed to disappear but in the last couple of days there have been reports of her drifting about the reserve. She seems in great condition and quite at ease being alone. I'm sure she must have run into one of the many herds we have had in the area the last week or so yet she chooses to be alone. We accompanied her while she fed along the riverbank until she crossed the Tsharalumi River to the East.
Also heading in that direction we turned a little to the North and headed off to Lovers Leap for sundowners. Not that there was a sun present as it slipped below the horizon behind dark thick threatening clouds.
Choosing our drinking spot wisely, when the rain began we were able to pack up and head a short distance to the lodge. A slow start to the New Year but looking at the positive at least it will only get better.