Tuesday 4, A heavy overcast morning to start which slowly clears and becomes very hot, no rain of any major consequence. Another morning with very little to report, no big five sightings this morning and even the general game is scattered about. what little rain that did fall managed to half fill natural pan, turned the mud bath that was in double to some visible water and there were quite a few puddles about. From the garages down the airstrip to warthog, just the odd impala about, mostly rams, along the palm and up the short cut, at the top I find 5 zebra and 7 kudu, so down kudu drive, idube, zip and on down to the causeway and then along pels, find impala with a number of babies. I stay with the river all the way along madrid to unit 56, finding the odd impala and a couple of
waterbuck, I take natures valley road to wild dog pan and I find a couple of jackal, so along to the cutline with drifters and down to the tunnel and find what remains of a buffalo killed early in the week, just vultures in attendance. Head for sable, first down the single pylons, yes impala here and there then along the new road molope drive, nothing about, across to rhino along mashatu, also all quiet.I continue onto the 4 pylons, kink right and then left onto klaserie link then all the way up the cutline to mpizi drive, here I find a herd of impala with plenty of youngsters, right wozani dr. for natural pan and then down to double, stop here for breakfast and just the odd impala comes into drink. Decide to take badger blvd and then left down msimbi dr. and then right along bateleur dr. to double, again the odd impala about, 4 pylons, jackal plains and hide, impala, across to nkhonkoni, all quiet, through warthog once more, home. Quiet on the animal side but some nice birds, the martial in particular and at big, two vulture one tagged, and the woodlands kingfisher has returned.
Thursday 6, Last evening and night a huge build up of clouds over the mountains and plenty of flash bang but sadly no rain. so this morning when I set out for Olifants it’s heavily overcast but as the morning progresses it once more clears away. Another very slow morning, very little to report, from the top of the airstrip I take the E/E to the short cut and then make my way back along the palm to warthog , impala and a couple o giraffe, up parallel clearing road, down hippo way and onto pels, impala and a troop of baboon, I back track up red duiker drive along the E/E once more past the top the airstrip and down through mike’s crossing and onto molope dr for sable, finding only impala, more impala around rhino, take wildebeest dr for sand, zip so across to big, where I stop for breakfast, hoping something will come into drink, zip once more. Find a few impala along bateleur and some more at double. Up to the 4 pylons and along red crested drive , just impala once more, at the single pylons, bump into Callan he tells me the apu’s saw lion on mala lane earlier on, where it crosses under the single pylons, so go in search, check out all the way to hide then across to nkhonkoni, on buff plains one, 2 zebra, 5 giraffe and a herd of impala, and finally back down the single pylons to mala lane once more, no luck. I head for the office, fuel, back to the garages and home.
Thursday 13, Beautiful clear morning, not a single cloud to be seen, now in the week we have been away Olifants has had around 60 mms all told and of course the transformation is amazing, from bone dry bushveld to lush green with water everywhere, the dams full of course and all the various wallows and waterholes full to the brim, just beautiful and and of course the low veld cluster leaf ( Terminalia Prunioides) is in full flower and full scent, some don’t like the smell at all but for Morag and I it’s synonymous with the bushveld. So with so much water about the game was very spread out, after the usual car swop we head down to warthog and find impala on the airstrip warthog and along the palm, at the third crossing we pick up fresh lion tracks but no sign of them, we stay on the palm all the way to the office before backtracking along the railroad and then off along mala lane and at the single pylons, a troop of baboon, more impala around hide plus hippo with a small calf and besides the usual fish eagle and gypo’s a lone spurwing goose. We take the road to nkhonkoni, finding a few impala and a couple of giraffe, and in the water just a mass of barbel, who seem to be in a frenze feeding along the bank. We continue up along buff plains 2 then down snake alley and onto mashatu drive for rhino, just the odd impala about, 4 pylons, klaserie link and then down mpisi dr, here we a find a large herd of impala and 3 hogs, nothing around sand so we continue onto bongani’s road then left and then right msimbi rd, more impala here and a giraffe, stay on this road all the way to the junction with badger blvd and tamboti link, go right and down to big, where we stop off for our breakfast, nothing comes into drink but across above the wall, a fish eagle is keeping eye on things. Then onto double, chock-a-block, a few impala about, up to the 4 pylons and then all way along red crested drive to the office crossing, we pass the odd impala and another giraffe and from under the single pylons, looking across the valley, we spot 3 elephant, pop in for a moment at the office then back along e/e to the garages, then head for home and just before the the mahlabetzi station area a herd of buffalo, some lying up under a dense bush right near the railway line. That’s the morning.
Friday 14, A heavy overcast to start the day but clears up during the morning. Not a great deal to report, the spot of the morning a herd of 13 wildebeest, one being a calf, great to see, just south of sable dam. Around tambothi link, near 2 trees picnic sight a very large herd of impala, a couple of giraffe amongst them, 2 more giraffe at big, impala at warthog, buff plains 1,2&3 and down snake alley 3 giraffe, no kudu this am, not as easy to see as they have been what with the green flush.
Wednesday 19, A partly cloudy morning to start which soon clears up and mid morning it’s already in the high 30’s.We are just heading down the runway road when Callan calls
in the EE pride crossing the office road at the palm loop, having not seen any lion for sometime we hurry down and are just in time to see them moving up stream and becomes a sort of cat and mouse game, see them, lose them but eventually they all appear in neil’s link and unit 41 and 1 enjoy some good viewing before they continue
onto serengeti plains. We continue our drive over to hide and are in time to see a herd of elephant just moving away form the water a fair amount of impala are about as well as a couple of giraffe, so across to sand, more impala and then down wildebeest drive for rhino and where you meet zebra way a herd of 18 zebra and a couple more giraffe. Plenty of impala around rhino and the same for sable with 4 more zebra and a lone wildebeest bull. We continue along molope dr. find more impala and another giraffe and finally meet with the Cesare’s for a delicious breakfast.
Now on our way in this morning we were passed by a train going extremely fast, well over the designated speed limit with the end result is that last evening another young elephant was killed. Very sad, although as Mario said the train didn’t seem to be going that fast, still there are too many animals in general on this line, being killed, very sad to end this year.
Finally this is the last Drive for this year. Once again we Thank all of You who have supported it with your kind words and encouragement, very much appreciated. Sorry that it has been a bit erratic at times, but hopefully in the new year, it will be more constant.
So we wish You all A Blessed and Peaceful Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year, and may you continue to enjoy the magic that is Olifants. You all take care now.
Roars and Trumpets, Neil & Morag. 🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘