Wednesday, 8 August 2012

05th August – I think the Word is “Lost”?

Photo of the Day

Makepisi male leopard near Argyle Dam
Morning Drive

(Chad, Grant, Giyani and Herold)

1 x leopard (Makepisi male) – Argyle, Xinatsi Dam Rd West

1 x leopard (Xindzuti male) – Mbali, False Marula

3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Northern Access

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Herold and Giyani)

2 x lions (Ximpoko males) – Jaydee, Khona Bobesi

2 x leopards (Machaton Male and Makepisi male with impala kill) – Argyle, Argyle Dam

2 x rhinos (male and female)

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Mbali River Rd

9 x elephant bulls – Karans, Bottom Rd

1 x elephant bull – Peru, Mbali River Rd

Daily Synopsis

Well, in fairness to me, I had been pretty good keeping up to date with blogs until these ones!!!  Hahaha, so sorry for the delay in posting them, but as my dad always says to me: there are urgent things in life, and then there are important things!  I did have a few other important things to attend to (like getting “unlost”, in more ways than one!), but now I have time to sit down and rack my brain to recall what on earth I saw all those days ago!
Firstly, having had leopard in camp last night, we were keen to try find her, and Grant picked up tracks for a female on the airstrip heading towards Argyle Dam – so when another station said he had leopard calling right at the dam, Grant jumped ahead and left Jacky on foot on some leopard tracks – it took him a matter of minutes to find the leopard, but it ran off on approach, and the presence of a hyena eating some of its kill probably explained that!  Luckily though, there was still some of the large impala up in a knobthorn tree on the banks of the dam.
Grant persisted in the area, and found tracks for at least three leopards around there – so it is a puzzle as to what happened, but eventually, Grant did locate on a leopard we didn’t expect to find!  It was Makepisi male, and he was further east than he had ever been!
I had, until then, spent the morning in the east looking for any sign of life, but barring a two hippos and a steenbuck, there was just nothing about!  I was moving into the area to help look for the female leopard whose tracks carried on south when Grant radioed to let me know that he had found Makepisi male not far from my position, so I moved in to join him.

Hippo and Makepisi male far out of his usual range
It was not an easy sighting as the leopard was always moving, fuelling our suspicion that it was not his kill, and that another leopard was around.  We followed as best we could before parting company with him as he entered into some very thick bush!

Makepisi male making his way back to the kill
One hippo was out the water at Argyle dam, so we stopped to watch it and the large crocodile there before enjoying a big fight between some rival Egyptian geese!

Egyptian geese fighting, hippo and crocodile at Argyle Dam
Coffee called and we went to enjoy some warming brew on the Sohebele River before going back towards camp – I almost achieved the impossible of a game drive without an impala (well, a complete one anyway) until a small herd popped up at reception!  Still, it was a bit quiet for my liking, and with new guests in the afternoon, I was hoping it would pick up!

The new guests were very keen to see some leopards, so I was mildly disappointed when Herold and Giyani relocated on only Machaton male near the kill and he moved off into the thick bush – still not too happy having us around in the middle of the day.  I started off slowly checking the area for the female leopard, and enjoyed a lone wildebeest, impalas and some steenbucks before checking on the leopard myself.  We could see that he had eaten much of what little remained of the carcass, but didn’t see him until we checked the drainage line and found him resting behind a bush.  he lay there comfortably for a short while before getting up and sauntering off into the thicker stuff, and I chose not to pursue him with the intention of checking up after dark.

Giraffe and Machaton male leopard resting near the impala kill at Argyle Dam
I then moved towards the Nhlaralumi where a herd of elephants was found near Mbali Dam, and we got to enjoy them feeding on the banks of the riverbed proving for some good viewing.  About a hundred metres away, we also had a small herd of zebras drinking from one of the water puddles still littering the river.

Elephant herd and a dazzle of zebras near Mbali Dam
I carried on a few kilometres to try relocate on two rhinos that had been found earlier in the afternoon and managed to get there just before it got too dark – they stood around watching us for a while before walking off slowly, leaving us in a nice place to have a late drink.

Pair of rhinos
After drinks, my plans for a leisurely drive back north to check up on Machaton male who had now chased Makepisi male, his son, to the upper most branches of a leadwood tree close to the kill were put to pay by some excellent tracking from a neighbouring lodge that had managed to locate on the two Ximpoko male lions!

As they were found late, there was still a bit of a line up, so I bumbled about and found a white-tailed mongoose and a genet along the way.  My turn came to join the sighting, and it was already late. Getting into the sighting was not so bad, but they were deep in the block, and a thickly vegetated block at that!  The visual was alright, but a bit challenging due to the trees.  We did our best and had a good viewing of them, but as I should already have been at the camp and was some distance away, we had to make tracks....and that is where things got interesting!

Two Ximpoko male lions back in the north

We followed a two-track that took us nowhere, and then on attempting to cross a small drainage line, found that it was almost impossible, so we had to find another way out...we drove, and drove, and drove...........................................................................................................................................
..................................................................................................................................and drove, and drove AND drove!  About 25 minutes after leaving the lions, we found our road – it was not that we were lost (no, I refuse to use that word!), but it was just such an awful block (and in fairness, I was following someone else so that we could be “disorientated” together!) that it took us forever to get out!!!  But we did....and it was now 7:30PM, and we still had to get all the way home...which we did...a tad late!

The drive home didn’t produce much as you could expect, but, at least the guests were delighted with what we had seen this afternoon, so no complaints I guess!

But you can be sure, tomorrow morning I won’t be driving far!!!


  1. Lost, disorientated - whatever ... still worth every moment.

  2. You're only (really) lost when the trackers have to come looking for you.

  3. I'd love to be lost if that meant staying in the reserve longer !!