Andrew Reports from Elephant Plains:
When we woke up this morning we heard that lions had been roaring toward the southern boundary, so off we dashed. We did see all types of animals, including impala, Steenbuck, kudu, and duiker,and giraffe in the lovely morning light …
… but not a sight or a sound or even a track of said lions.
We watched an elephant next to the road for some time. It was really interesting to see how he broke a branch in one direction, then pulled it in the opposite direction, and how he used his tusks so deftly to rip bark from the a tree.
We were having our coffee at big dam, where the hornbills came to join us, when we received a call that Wild Dogs were not too far away. It was not or morning for predators and by the time we reached the spot, the dogs had evaporated into thin air.
We tried to find the Wild Dogs again this afternoon … and delayed on the way to photograph 15 buffalo on an open plain. They had their attendant Oxpeckers, and we focussed on buffalo faces with the birds in attendance.
There was a lot of interaction in the group, as different males challenged others in ongoing disputes over dominance.
Again, there was plenty of general game, especially some warthogs that were digging for roots and as they tossed sand into the air with the sun behind them we captured some outstanding shots.
Big Dam is always a good spot for sundowners, and who should we find there but Lemoela, the large male leopard. He was lying on the dam wall, surveying the area, and in the most perfect position for photography. When he decided to stroll the few feet for a drink, we were more than delighted. Scent marking and a patrol of his territory was next on his agenda. Of course we remained with him until he disappeared into an inaccessible but of the bush.
After sundowners we found a young male hyena lying peacefully next to the road, and shortly after we saw a gripping sight.
Two Side-striped Jackals and a mongoose were having … ummm, nit quite a showdown … definitely a confrontation of sorts. They glared at each other and then the mongoose stood up on its hind legs, raised its tail and puffed it up, trying to intimidate the jackals. The jackals just stared and stared. So the mongoose did it again … hind legs, big tail … again the jackals just stared. They seemed unsure what to make of this strange creature. Then a third time – hind legs, tail up and bushy. Again, the jackals stared, and this time they gave up and trotted off into the darkness, leaving the mongoose to resume its scrubbing around for insects.
Tomorrow we want to search for the dogs – or maybe the lions – or maybe both …