This morning our intentions were to head out to the West along the Tsharalumi River and follow up on Makipi's and his brother Shindzuti with their Impala kill which Herold had found the previous evening. Starting a little later than the rest we had to take a detour as the initial part of our intended route had already been checked. It was on this detour that we found ourselves three very nice Tawny Eagles and on closer inspection we found a couple of White-backed Vultures in the same vicinity. This raised our alarm bells as the two different species only seem to congregate when something has died.
( Grant, Herold, Andrea & Chad.)
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / DeLuca – DeLuca/ Luttig Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vilmieter – Lucky's Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Klipdrrift Crossing.
Rhino ( Female & Calf)
( Grant, Herold, Andrea & Chad.)
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Wisani Crossing.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Peru Entrance.
Leopard ( Makipi's Male) / Peru – Mbali River Rd.
Leopard ( Mbali) / Peru – Simbavati Access.
Greetings and salutations, I'm back. I'm, being Grant . Actually been here nearly a week, after an amasing holiday in the Drakensberg Mountains, but returning to blogging duty for the rest of this week. Hope you are all well and enjoyed yourselves over the Easter weekend and that you have been keeping up with Andrea's and Dave's posts. Thanks to the both of them for stepping up to the plate and keeping everyone up to date on all the goings on, sounds like you had yourselves a busy time filled with lots of great moments.
Since being back on drive people would say that things have been quiet in comparison to the previous couple weeks but Jacky and myself have not had ourselves a bad drive yet, always finding something to keep us entertained whether it be big or small.
This morning our intentions were to head out to the West along the Tsharalumi River and follow up on Makipi's and his brother Shindzuti with their Impala kill which Herold had found the previous evening. Starting a little later than the rest we had to take a detour as the initial part of our intended route had already been checked. It was on this detour that we found ourselves three very nice Tawny Eagles and on closer inspection we found a couple of White-backed Vultures in the same vicinity. This raised our alarm bells as the two different species only seem to congregate when something has died. With the calling of Hyena's further to the East the temptation was too great and Jacky and I decided to abandon our Western dreams and headed off East to investigate. Being in an area of very few roads it is difficult to check the area you would like, so we checked what we could.
Initially we only found tracks for a very large herd of Elephant that were moving to the East and continued to do so as we moved further and further to the East with them finally crossing our Eastern boundary out of our traversing area. As we sat at the junction heads down pondering our next move, salt was rubbed into the wounds when we noticed fresh Lion tracks for two females. They too headed across the boundary and away. Who knows how long they have been sitting up here in the North Eastern corner and if they had anything to do with the collection of Raptors and Vultures, they possibly have been here all weekend feasting on one of the many Dagha Boys that frequent the area. I guess it will remain one of the bush's mysteries.
As if sensing our disappointment we were thrown a life line when our Elephant herd decided to do an about turn and we found them whilst travelling South along the boundary towards Majavi Dam. Finally a small success for our efforts and a reminder that you never know what surprises may wait around the next corner, so never give up hope. I think we were pushing our luck when after our visit with the Elephant we now continued South in search of the Lions.
The rest of our morning was to be fairy quiet with scattered sightings of general game throughout the drive, the highlights being of the young Zebra and a very young Kudu. The rest of the gang had themselves a mixed morning with Andrea and Herold heading South. Herold tried following up on the Mafikizolo Pride, who had abandoned their Giraffe kill, although he had success on foot they were unable to relocate in the vehicle with his guests. Guess this prides habit of running from being tracked has not changed. Herold then went on to visit the female Rhino and her calf which ran him into overtime and he now finds himself in the same box with the kitchen as myself and Chad. Andrea took over following up on Makipi's but he and his brother had also disappeared after their meal. She did however have what sounded like a great Elephant Herd sighting to make up for the disappointment. Ele's to the rescue once again and I think they made it a triple when Chad visited a herd that was feeding along the Tsharalumi riverbed saving him from also a uneventful drive.
Afternoon drive found us receiving new guests so it was back to the drawing board for Jacky and I. As has been with a couple of our previous guests of late Leopard was the first request for the Christmas list. Oddly enough this was the second request we had for Leopard from guests who had been on Safari in Tanzania and Kenya before in as many days. Not having any other immediate requests Jacky and I decided to head off to the Tsharalumi River and check if we could find our regular brothers who spend a fair amount of time there.
Whilst waiting to set off on drive a couple of my guests mentioned they saw Elephant approaching the dam wall in front of the lodge as Herold was heading off I mentioned this to him and he followed up to find a small breeding herd drinking from the pools below the dam wall. We joined him to watch as they cooled themselves off and slowly fed along the river bank. It was interesting to see how the older Elephant helped the youngsters up the steep bank, pushing them from behind with the front of their leg or trunk. With them moving off into a particular thick area of Mopane we decide to take our leave and head West.
No sooner had we formulated a plan we received news that Makipi's had been found along our route. Not needing a second invitation we headed in his direction. As we made our way there the sighting was on and off as they guys struggled to keep up with him as he made his way along the river bank. We did however get lucky as he came to rest on a rocky outcrop and we accelerated our arrival in the hope to get a glimpse of him. Arriving at the sighting with him still static we could see why everyone else had struggled with us being having to perch ourselves on a steep sandy bank between rocks, thick vegetation and a metres drop off into the river below. Makipi's played along though and sat out in the open grooming himself. Spending some time with him we eventually decided to make our way out the sighting which was an adventure in itself and try squeeze in a visit to our female Rhino and calf, who had been found further in the South.
Chad had headed straight South towards the Rhino's but unfortunately shortly before getting into the sighting they were lost as they made their way across the Machaton River in an area the vehicles could not follow. Chad then spent the rest of his afternoon trying to relocate but it would appear a fully grown Rhino and her calf are pretty elusive and evaded his efforts successfully. Finding ourselves at Elephant Dam with the sun going down we decided to leave the Rhino's for tomorrow and stop for drinks.
Resuming after sundowners we headed to Hide Dam to check if the Mafikizolo Pride had made their way to the water after dark. Chad was also in the area checking the surrounding roads but once again they evaded the both of us. So heading home we had to be content with the many Chameleons that seem to be out and about at the moment.