Greetings from Biyamiti
Jazil – after 16 years in the hospitality sector I have learnt that the word “please” goes a long way (a bit of clapping the hands helps as well – nothing like and elephant that thinks he is getting applause!
The spotted cats eventually came to the party yesterday afternoon just before gate closing. On the S25 towards Malelane about 5km from the camp one of our guests had the good fortune of seeing one. Not sure whether it was male or female.
At about the same time another of our guests saw another leopard about three km to the other side of the camp – 18km side just other side of the look-out. A very dark male (I think) right next to the road.
I was out on a morning walk this morning at 05:30. Unfortunately I could not take pictures, was carrying a rifle, but would nevertheless like to relate the following sightings to you.
We drove to the Biyamiti Bridge on the S25 and parked the vehicle there. There were waterbuck downstream from us, green-back heron and giant king fisher next to the bridge and three buffalo lying on the sand upstream from the bridge. We decided not to bother the buff as it would have been very difficult to approach with too thick stuff on the back side and nothing to protect from the front. Instead we made our way away from the river into the bush.
At first we looked and listened to birds spoke about plants and other small things. The relative calm of the bush was suddenly broken by the trumpet of elephant in the valley to our left. We listened and realised that it was a big herd spread over some distance and decided not to approach as the area was too thick. Instead we concentrated on the small things and saw garden-orb spiders (about six times), bark spider and more trees and flowers.
While still looking at some of the vegetation Elias made me aware of a rhino passing by at about 25m. As the wind swirled he picked up our scent and stood turning radar scanners in all directions. I picked a retreating spot should the rhino start to run in our direction, but he decided to move off away from us and we silently watched him crushing through the bush.
We continued our walk looking at spoor and small things and listening to the elephant moving in the valley to the left. We basically circled the elephant herd and got to an open spot in the bush where our patience was rewarded. First a bull crossed the clearing about 30 m in front of us. Then the rest of the herd started moving into the opening a little further away. As it was a big herd spread over some distance we decided to take a break while watching the elephant. What a lovely experience watching the herd interact.
Eventually we decided to move on and made our way through the widely spread out herd. One cow paid some attention too us and then moved off as we stared her down, but the others just ignored us flat (probably keeping a look at us while pretending not to notice).
We had more dung and prints to look at and got three fresh black rhino markings as well. About 1km from the vehicle we had buffalo in the thick bushes, but decided to pass them by. We saw a family of warthogs at close range (8m away just looking at us before putting up their aerials and went off into the bush).
By the time we got back to the bridge the three buffalo from earlier moved to an easier spot and we had a good view of them. As we got to the vehicle a guest in one of the vehicles watching the buff told us about two lionesses that went into the bush on the opposite side of the river. We went looking!! And found them!!
Only a quick view, but a view on foot of the lion nevertheless!!
We needed the leopard to complete the big five – but had to settle for a tortoise of the same description.
Just another great day in the bush.