Monday, 25 February 2013

22nd and 23rd February – Cats and Dogs and Then Some!

Photo of the Day
Mabande male ad a Mayambula female roaring in the late afternoon

22nd February Morning Drive
 (Chad, Grant and Shaddy)
14 x wild dogs – Argyle, Leadwood Airstrip
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s boy) – Peru, Snare Rd

22nd February Afternoon Drive
 (Peter, Grant, Robin, Shaddy and Chad)
2 x lions (Mabande male and Mayambula female) – Tanda Tula, Little Serengeti
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s boy) – Peru, Snare Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – De Luca, Drongo Drive
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Hide Dam Northern Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Kings, Sibenjwane Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Kings, Rockfig Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Karans, Western Cutline
4 x buffalo – Argyle, Western Sohebele
2 x buffalo – Karans, Western Cutline

23rd February Morning Drive
(Peter, Andrea, Grant, Robin, Shaddy and Chad)
14 x wild dogs – Argyle, Argyle Dam
1 x leopard (Nthombi’s boy) – Vielmetter, Steep Sharalumi
3 x rhinos
2 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Back Nines

23rd February Afternoon Drive
 (Peter, Andrea, Grant, Robin and Shaddy)
14 x wild dogs – Motswari, Camp
1 x lion (Ximpoko male) – Vielmetter, Vielmetter-Albert’s Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Camp
1 x elephant bull – Java, Airstrip
1 x rhino

Daily Synopsis

Im getting there!  Tomorrow the blog will be back up to date, at last!  But as ou can again see, it was a rather good couple of days this weekend!

Friday started out as a cloudy day, and in the coolness of the morning we began with hippos, waterbuck, impalas and a troop of baboons playing on the cliff face of Lover’s Leap which was very entertaining!

As another station was following up on the leopard kill, I went to check on the wild dogs – as tracks headed north, I suspected that the pack would go towards Buffalo Pan and told this to Petros, so it was great to arrive at the pan and find two of the dogs running around in the area, half-heartedly chasing the impalas around!

Not too far off we found the other twelve dogs resting on an airstrip and stayed with them as they played around before they headed down into the Nhlaralumi and we left them.

We carried on to where Xiviti (Argyle Jnr’s boy) was resting in a mopane thicket, totally fat bellied and without a care in the world!  It wasn't the best visual, but we got to see him as he rolled around uncomfortably from eating too much!  After coffee we headed back to the lodge, not ticking off a great deal else besides impalas and waterbucks and another troop of baboons.

I had done 4 drives with no elephants, so was quite desperate for some this afternoon, and they must have known, as they came out the woodwork and we saw five different breeding groups!  The first was with my favourite long-tusked cow, not far from the lodge; sadly a bull popped up and they ran off, so we left them and moved south.

Arriving at Java we didn’t find our usual abundance of game, so we carried on south looking for rhinos; we found impalas and another herd of elephants, but no rhinos.  We also needed lions (basically we needed a lot!), and it was while sitting with the elephants that we were invited south to go and see Mabande male and a female on Little Serengeti, an area I had never been to before!

Passing the many open areas in the south, most of them were full of impala and wildebeest, and it was just so lovely down there.  Moving to Little Serengeti was also a treat, as there are hardly any areas that I haven’t been to before, and this was one of them!  We arrived to find the lioness awake, but the male fast asleep.  She kept roaring softly, and we knew it was only a matter of time before a full roar crept in...

...and sure enough, it came!  What a wonderful sound to hear from 10m away!!!

Moving back north, we stopped for a toilet stop as the missing Ximpoko male roared about a kilometre from us, but despite checking the area, we didn’t manage to find him...we did find three herds of elephants though to round off another wonderful day!

Saturday morning was a slightly shortened one for me, and I needed rhinos.  We began with impalas, waterbuck, zebras and giraffe on Piva Plains, and then ore giraffe and duiker as we went along the Nhlaralumi...we also found our rhino tracks, so Petros began tracking, but his radio had accidently been turned on, so the battery was dead...he was going solo, and I planned to meet him at a spot a bit later after coffee. 

After some driving around, another vehicle found Petros and let me know that he had already tracked down the rhinos, so after coffee we went to look at them before making our way back to the lodge.

Andrea had a great morning finding wild dogs near Argyle Dam – she watched them chase impalas into the dam and then attempting to go after them!  After that hyenas arrived to chase the dogs that then ran up to Motswari airstrip and went after impalas and zebras, only to be chased by the zebras!  The dogs moved into the camp and disappeared...later that afternoon they were found resting in the staff village and trying to catch an impala right amongst our houses!  The joys of living in the bush J  My afternoon drive consisted of driving back to Johannesburg, but fear not, I will be back in the bush tomorrow!

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