It was pretty hot last night and I think the dogs spent the night at Khayeni pan. When I arrived at first light they were already on the move heading west. And when I eventually caught up with them they were on the Chiredzi River.
The adults had killed in the reeds and the pups now found themselves with a dilemma, the Chiredzi River. They had only just started getting used to stagnant water and now they were confronted by this moving monster of a river. They could hear their parents feeding in the reeds but they just couldn’t overcome their fear to join them. They egged each other on to even just go down the river bank but couldn’t pluck up the courage.
Puzzles came back across the river and regurgitated for them. Then dad arrived but he wasn’t keen on being mobbed and stayed in the river watching the pups just dying to get to him.
Eventually they got down to the river and very cleverly dad regurgitated into the water. This helped the pups overcome their fear and soon they all followed dad across into the reeds.
I couldn’t see what was going on in there but I think they’d killed something small as the dogs didn’t feed for long and came back to rest on the river bank.
I was chilling out with them when the male suddenly alarmed desperately! 2 scouts were patrolling the river. The dogs panicked and took off. I left them as they would no doubt only go and rest up somewhere else.
When I got back to them in the afternoon they were at Khayeni pan chilling out in the cool mud on the edge of the pan. The pups were now beginning to appreciate what water was about and how cool it could be on these really hot days.
With them at the pan herds of impala and zebra weren’t able to drink and probably been waiting in the area for hours.
It was only at sunset that the dogs moved off and the animals were able to drink.
The dogs didn’t get up to much and I left them milling around not far north of Khayeni as it got dark.
The doggies are all well but they sure had me travelling through rough country trying to catch up to them. And when I eventually did they were already resting up for the day in a rocky outcrop where I could hardly see them.
I was sitting there just watching them when suddenly the pups were all up and chasing after honey badger. Luckily for them it got away, because if they had cornered it they would have found themselves up against something they really shouldn’t be tackling. Those little badgers are ferocious when challenged.
As usual the wild dogs spent the heat of the day resting up in the shade of a rocky overhang and I spent some time driving around checking on waterholes to see if any had dried up in the last couple of weeks. Actually there’s been little change and even the vegetation, although some trees are flushing, has changed little in this time. No rains have fallen either, but it seems they are imminent.
I joined them again in the late afternoon and was so excited when on my arrival the pups came running down from the hill to my car. It was just so like they were coming to say hello. Whatever the reason was, I’m going to believe they were coming to see me!
After a usual dose of play, dad took the family off hunting but by nightfall they still hadn’t hunted successfully.
(Having technical problems on the internet. So please bear with me, I will get to your comments as soon as I can.)
All set and ready to hit the long road home, back to Malilangwe!
I’ve been away nearly 2 weeks and really missing my daily dose of wild Africa.
Thankfully there were no false alarms, delays or anything making my trip back to South Africa a real non-event. No complaints there!
Will load up on my monthly supplies tomorrow and then hit the road back to Malilangwe. Feet are really itching now. Not just cos I want to get back, but I’ve been wearing shoes for the whole of the last week!!! (Didn’t think I’d get away with boarding the plane barefoot or walking around my hotel in my comfortable state.)
The joys of living in the city.
Last night around 2am the fire alarm went off in the hotel I was staying. Panic! We all ended up on the street in our various attires, thankfully all dressed! But there was no sign of any fire. Eventually after about an hour we were told there had been a power failure, which had triggered the alarm. We waited yet another hour before all was restored! What fun ☹
I leave Bristol and head back home today. Well nearly home. Back to South Africa and then on to Zimbabwe. Can’t wait to get back to my doggies!
Tambotie trees are not the friendliest of trees to have around. Their poisonous latex is a major irritation for the skin, even shavings from the wood will cause a serious rash. And just boiling water on a fire made with tambotie logs will give you incredibly bad diarrhoea. It’s really not a wood you want to have around. But it’s probably cos of these properties that tambotie wood is extremely resistant to termites and posts made with it last for 10’s of years.
But for some animals the tree is almost a delicacy. When they drop their leaf towards the end of the dry season, the antelope will spend hours delicately sifting through leaf matter just to pick up the fallen tambotie leaves. And porcupines will often ring bark tambotie trees they love the bark so much. Black rhino too love feeding on the twigs.
But man just has to keep away from it.