I’m sitting listening to the sound of thunder and the rain pelleting the corrugated roof. Early rains help squelch the penetrating heat and this is always a blessing when people are screaming El Nino from all corners of the globe. The direct sunlight can really tire you out when you’re working in it everyday, it feels as if someone opened the fridge door to bring relief to the scorching heat. I attempted to track down the lions, but was unsuccessful; however, Kim caught them at Nduna Dam on a kill. What a surprise to find Manyari with cubs! She has been AWOL for months now, this would explain her keeping a low profile, and the cubs are already around four months old.
I managed to run into a nice herd of Buffalo at what is left of Bandama Pan. Again this heat dries up the pans very quickly, but the Buffalo don’t seem to mind doing the mud wading thing to lap up what little water remains. The only problem is that invariably one of the youngsters get themselves stuck in the mud.
This time the little guy was rescued out of the brown glue by Chitimela the research technician, but not all are as lucky. On the way back to base camp I came across a crash of eight white rhino, they were looking like they’d also braved the muddy Bandama waters.
Two hyenas were lying around on the edge of Manyuchi at first light catching the cool morning breeze. It was not long before they returned to the communal den and collected all the little guys except the youngest and marched single file back past Manyuchi and into the hills. These guys are moving around now, I wonder what they’re up to. The ellies had trampled their way past the den a few nights back according to the tracks I found, maybe this spooked them. I was pleased to find all six of the older cubs as I was beginning to think that Chops was missing. So all is well in hyena land, while the wild dogs are showing signs of itchy feat and are exploring a little more East of Nyamasikana Pan, if they end up at Nduna looking for the lion’s share of the Impala, they could be in for a surprise. However, for now they seem to be returning to the fence line where they funnel the impala in between the fences and make light work of what would normally be a strenuous hunt.
Back at Manyuchi pan I caught the sunset with a few cubs in the water and as I was sitting on the ground reviewing my photos, I heard some breathing other side the vehicle. When I looked up I noticed a young black rhino challenging “Dozer”. What an awesome time, the young rhino spent fifteen minutes playing around the vehicle, charging and exploring the metal lump! One older hyena cub was still around and tentatively came to test the prehistoric looking creature. Black rhinos have so much character, I had to wait till dark to see if he would drink. After he crept up to the water I let him drink and then flooded the pan with light to catch him on camera, he was spooked and ran off.