28 March 2017

I think the less said about Tuesday morning, the better. To say it was quiet would be an understatement, but we still managed to tick off some nice sightings, even if our main objectives to find rhino and buffalo were left completely unsatisfied. We began with a cracking sunrise before finding tracks for the three lost members of the Western Pride walking past Geiger’s Camp towards the northern boundary, and although we could hear contact calls coming from the north, we still gave it a go and tracked until they crossed into Ingwelala. Some alarm calling baboons to the north let us know that they were gone, and in fact, Robynne got to see the young male lion on the tar road briefly before they moved back north into Buffels Bed. We spent time with another troop of baboons having a fight with one another before chatting on ticking off impala, nyala, waterbuck, kudu and a couple of nervous zebras that moved onto Piva Plains and disappeared west. We went to follow up on some buffalo seen yesterday afternoon, but found only tracks for males, and not the big herd that was supposedly seen – i think their herd size was grossly over estimated!!! We carried on checking buffalo haunts, but came up empty handed on all counts. After coffee, we moved much further south to check on some rhino tracks that had been seen earlier, but we couldn’t even find the tracks to begin our search, and the south was so quiet that we only ticked off impala, kudu and a few more zebras…it really was dead out there! On our way home, we barely even saw impala and it was a morning of wild goose- (read buffalo and rhino) chases that led to much frustration. Elsewhere, the “Timbavati Pride” of six lions were found much further south than they have been on a buffalo kill, and at least that gave me something to look forward to in the afternoon. A couple of elephant sightings were also recorded in the west, and Duma male lion was still on his kudu kill.

I had a guest going our group for one night, and we ended up doing rather well – some elephant bulls as we left main lodge to go to Geiger’s Camp, and when we started drive, we ticked off nyala, impala, kudu ad baboons before seeing another three young male elephants feeding away from Giraffe’s Nest. Ntima male leopard had been found close to where he was yesterday, in the heart of Tshwukunyana’s territory, and we slowly moved in that direction with some impala as company before getting a buffalo bull at last! The best part of the sighting was when we accidentally flushed a civet from its hiding spot and had a daytime glimpse of these beautiful creatures. We then made our way to Ntima, as the sighting we were hoping to see of Tshwukunyana male leopard had sadly dissipated, and arrived to find the gorgeous cat fast asleep up a marula tree where he remained until after dark. By that time though, we were already down south watching the six lions feeding on their buffalo kill as about eight or nine hyenas waited in the wings. It was a long drive home, but so much less stressful than when I drove the same route this morning! We didn’t have nocturnal luck besides a well-spotted chameleon, and ended it all with a stunning bush braai with my guests before closing down under a blanket of stars.

I am off drive until 2nd April, so I will resume with my updates then…no doubt, with me off drive, I will be missing out on some great action!

Until then

Chad Cocking