Monday 12, A partly overcast morning, cool breeze from the south but like every day this last week or so, big fluffy white clouds move in and if you’re very lucky you might get the odd drop or two, have included a pic of what most days look like in the am and by this evening, most of this would have burnt off. General game today pretty slow, from the top of the airstrip we head down to warthog, finding just the odd impala about, we cross at
vetsak and make for nkhonkoni, find 5 spoonbill and 9 yellow billed storks, we continue
down to hide, all quiet here so round hide loop and onto kudu loop for sand and just up from sand towards the 4 pylons we find a pride of lion, these were seen here yesterday, we had expected them to have moved but they are still at sand and the reason is easy to see, all 3 lioness’s are hurting and not looking in great shape, all are limping with plenty of cuts, ribs showing etc, the 2 cubs both have full bellies and are full of fun but they lioness’s not looking great, after a while they all go down to sand to drink and then ly up in the thick bushes that are close to the water, the cubs enjoy themselves on the cool sand. We take wildebeest drive for rhino, finding impala and when we take the link road
onto the 4 pylons a herd of 6 zebra and more impala, but from rhino on towards mashatu and then the the whole of the sable plains area just the odd impala about and one giraffe at the dam. We head back up snake alley and past sand once more, unit 11 is parked there and the lion are just we left so we continue down to big and are just in time to catch, what we are pretty sure is one of the E/E pride females and the now almost 2 full grown cubs, just leaving big, we follow them all the way down to double and then they cross into rusermi. Where the pride at sand are looking pretty desperate, these 3 are in pristine condition. So up to the 4 pylons, impala here and there, on their way down to hide, where we stop off for our breakfast, make a call at the office before heading up mica and the e/e for the garages
Tuesday 13, The usual overcast morning, have included a couple of pics to give you an idea,
during the day, with evenings calm and virtually cloudless. There’s a cool breeze blowing
this morning and at one stage I thought that the drive would mainly be on birds, seeing the usual flock of both spoonbill and yellow bill at nkhonkoni, then down to hide a greenbacked heron and a jacana, over to big for a saddle billed stork and finally at sable, squacco heron. Animal wise the drive saved by the wild dog pack at sable, 15 in all, called in by Caroline (39) chasing impala towards the dam, but no success, they all looked fairly full anyway, great that at the moment we have 2 packs off and on, on Olifants, the other smaller, 10 dogs and the alpha female has a collar, this pack have a den down on
Jenjane and a while back we found them hunting along the rwlr and we followed them all the way upto our cutline with Venice before they moved off so it’s good to see them
coming up even further north. Up to that point, 6 zebra at nkhonkoni, 2 impala at hide, nought at double and a duiker and 2 steenbok along bateleur drive, zip at big, nought at sand, a herd of 6 impala at rhino and then the dogs are called, so for the next while we enjoy some good viewing of them all at sable. That’s the drive.
Wednesday 14, The usual weather pattern of the last few weeks, bit cooler though. To start very little about but as it warmed up, more and more appeared out of the woodlands. Opposite rhino pan on the river road, flush a martial eagle from behind a large bush and he/she is carrying a huge branch in it’s talons, obviously nest building time, try to see where the nest maybe, but no luck. Find a nice herd of 15 wildebeest on wildebeest clearing, bump into that wildebeest calf on the 4 pylons, still searching, just a pity that he/she can’t see the herd on wildebeest clearing, because she’s only about 500 metres from them, find a lone kudu bull drinking at sable and there are more and more
of impala come into drink. I have just arrived at big and parked and got my breakfast stuff out and looking around find the 3 lioness’s of the E/E pride have just come into drink right at the outlet pipe and almost immediately push off again in the direction of the 4 pylons, they seem to be walking parallel to the road but they slowly drift further away and I lose them. Past sand once more, small herd of impala as there are at hide. Across to the office for petrol and a chat etc before heading for the car park and home.
Friday 16, The usual overcast morning, a spit and a spot over night, always looks so promising but just fades away to nothing. You will know that we have lost another rhino to the poachers, between the rwlr and members way, just heart breaking to lose any of these magnificent animals, seems no matter how vigilant and watchful the anti poaching teams are some how they slip through, a very tough time for all those involved in the continues vigilance in trying to keep these animals safe. For every animal we lose many and I say MANY incursions are intercepted and the poachers turned back by our APU’s.
Life goes on and one can only put this loss behind one and give it your best shot at foiling any further attemps. Anyway enough said and back to the game drive, another fairly slow morning, first up a hyena on members way, jackal on the airstrip, 2 giraffe on the single pylons, another hyena and a jackal trailing after it on sable plains, they both take a
quick drink and disappear in the direction of the venice cutline. Plenty of impala and a couple of kudu cows at sand, we stop for breakfast at big, nothing about to start but as it warms up more and more impala come into drink, and along mala lane 2 kudu bulls, more impala under the single pylons and on both warthog and parallel clearing the odd impala dotted about. The birds this morning, the usual mixed flocks at nkhonkoni, spoon billed, yellow billed and a couple of heron, still in the trees this am, then a flock of spoonbills working the shallow water at double and finally a flock of yellow billed stork, soaring above hide dam.
Saturday 17, The best news this morning 75 mms fell on Olifants last night absolutely
fantastic, dams all full to overflowing water running in the palm and in the various
drainage lines and within days mother nature will transform the bush once more. First sighting this morning are 16 hyena on members way, we think 2 clans as there was lots
of drama, unfortunately most hidden in thick bush, what we thought was, that the hyena were holding off because of lion on the rhino carcass, turned out to be another clan who made sure the clan waiting on the road never got anywhere close and of course
hundreds of vultures waiting in the trees for turn. Not much else to report on the drive, with so much water about just the odd impala, while we changing cars heard a lion calling off towards the road down to pels, two different things hearing a lion and finding him, so no luck there but we did instead find herd of waterbuck, some impala
and a troop of baboon, back up red duiker and down mamba lane for warthog, again impala here and there. At double we caught a water monitor enjoying the flying ants which had hatched out in their millions and birds of every description were enjoying the feast too. Close to hide along mala lane 3 kudu bulls and on the e/e on our way out 3 kudu cows and a calf.
Sunday 18, A hot, muggy, cloudy, overcast day to end the week, no more rain. Away this coming week, next post, maybe, Sunday March 04. You all take care now.