Just before sunset we arrived at Nduna dam for the last of the days shooting - and a sundowner of course. I had my eye on an Elephant bull pulling a few branches down and rubbing himself on a tree. He led me up the road to a herd of Buffalo hiding in the shadows.
They were making their way down to the water, so I was quicker on the draw this time and set up for the approach of the Buffalo troops. We enjoyed watching these guys for an hour or so as they waded through the water. A lonely giraffe was not phased by their great number and imposing distance.
We left Nduna in search of Manyari to find them on the move. Sjambok and Chahwihwi were looking a little under nourished and, I’m sure, were only too happy to have Manyari back leading the hunt. We didn’t stay long, but Manyari pounced on a Francolin that flew “towards the light.” This was all the cat like behaviour we needed to sustain us for the evening.
We are now well into summer and many Impala are with newborn foals, they don’t take any chances with their young and do not stick around for the photo session. Every now and then you get a group of impala who are in it for the glory. Anyway, I like these little guys, they bring a little cheer to the bush and of course when there is nothing else to see – they’re everywhere.
I thought I would check up on Manyari and their ongoing saga; to my surprise, my thirst for something to see was quenched when I saw a Cheetah running south from Banyini Pan. I knew I had recognized that light footed trot and I followed him for a minute or two before he dashed into the Mopane trees. What a moment! This is Mark loving it; when he is on the attack! I’ll quit speaking about myself in the third person. Unfortunately no Photo, I wasn’t quick enough on the draw. Oh, Manyari and the pride have been taking it easy for all those working too hard in the blazing sun. I hope to see some action later.
A few days ago Kim and I went up in his microlight to get some aerial shots, it was quite a bumpy ride with the wind blowing and it left me feeling a little queasy. This was sorted out when Kim dipped into the river bed to strut his low flying ability. Check out the video clip, the buffalo we flew over did not know what kind of bird, eagle, dragon or… UFO was trying to take on a buff.
As the sun was beginning to set I saw some Spotted Hyenas on the road. It wasn’t long and I was lying on the gravel taking photos and interacting with the creatures. They have some real personality, that is until the lady of the clan staggers out the bush, then its time to fall in line.
They dashed off into the bush and I drove to Sosigi dam nearby – there they were not wasting any time, wallowing in the water.
What I found interesting was that a different clan of Hyena arrived from the opposite side of the dam and there was no interaction – or defending of territory. It was like a neutral ground agreement. After watching them clown around, the sun set and the mood changed – it was time to hunt. There were two impala close by totally oblivious to the Hyena being there. The hunt was on and I tried to get on film what I could.
This morning the scandal had ended when I tracked down our Lion pride. It was time for a heart to heart, put the past behind us, kiss and make up for Manyari and Sjambok.
I was up early and hoping to find the Wild Dogs to see their progress. Thankfully they returned onto the property after crossing the Chiredzi river 2 weeks ago. However, again it was not to be. At Banyini pan we ran into Manyari drinking, obviously she has still been at that zebra carcass. It was like we had arranged a meeting time and as usual she was not phased by us always in her hair. During the window of her drinking and moving into the shade, a jackall came trotting along not knowing Manyari was around.
He was a little skittish about us being there and he was distracted. On seeing Manyari he stopped dead in his tracks, wondering how to tackle this problem of a lion being in his path. Not to take any chances, he swiftly took the long way round with Manyari giving him an unfriendly glare. When I first arrived on the park I would often do the same when we were heading for the lion, although, this was because Kim had taken a shortcut before I could see him take the turn. So there Mark would go driving along with Kim on the radio, “why you at Banyini?” “Are the lion Banyini?”
Well thankfully now this is a less often occurance. We took a long drive to Nduna dam on the east of Malilangwe with only a few unhappy buffalo to show for it. On Nyari pan a little visitor popped his head up, which is the first time I’ve seen a turtle in any of the pans. It is kind of difficult to tell what type he is as there are over 250 different types of turtles and terrapins in the world. Enough time for one picture and he eased his way back into the pan.
The warthog were also at Nyari lined up like three little pigs. They were brave enough to wallow for a little while with us being nearby. All in all, a quiet day in the wild, but I’m hoping to find the Dogs soon and catch up on the breading heard of Elephant.
Kim is away and my wife Kylie and I were on an early morning drive looking for something interesting to film. I heard the call on the radio, I guess you could say I was frequency poaching as not to miss out on anything, there was a cheetah kill near Chibi. So of course Mark went on the attack, dug the spurs in and headed to the position. We were disappointed when we didn’t find the cheetah; however, all was not lost because as we were leaving the area we stumbled upon a heard of Sable Antelope.
They didn’t seem as shy as usual and helped us out by posing for the camera. We were now on our way to seek out the lionesses Manyari and Magwaza. I’ve never seen a confrontation, but they say that even lion show respect for the Sable Antelope. There have been numerous instances where the big cats have been gored to death by the Sable bulls. Not surprising though, considering that their finely crafted weapons of mass destruction reach over a meter in length.
On reaching Manyari at her kill from 2 days ago, we found her gnawing away at the hind quarters of the zebra. The smell was starting to get out of hand now; however, Kim has seen her feeding off a kill for 4 days. The vultures knew not to interfere and perched themselves nearby. The males were calling for the females in the morning; needless to say, this game of hide and seek seemed too beneficial for the Lionesses to give away their position, so silence was the name of the game.
Hope you enjoy the next few days with me bringing you stories straight from the wild.