Rangers Diary: 15-21 January

Rhino bull drinking
Rhino bull drinking by Phillip Wessels

Sunday

This morning we saw a large rhino bull, and then another group of three, consisting of a male and a cow with her young calf. The mother was not very happy about the male being in such close proximity to her little one though, and grunted and charged at him a couple of times. We also saw two male cheetahs resting on the edge of a large open plain in the south-eastern corner of the reserve.

We found three buffalo bulls lying in a small dam this afternoon, and we also ran into the same three rhinos from this morning’s drive. The persistent bull was still being kept at bay by the vigilent female. Shortly before sunset we found Mvula sleeping at a dam. He eventually got up and went to rest on a nearby termite mound, which gave everyone ample opportunity to view this gorgeous male leopard.

Monday

Buffalo bull relaxing in water
Buffalo bull relaxing in the water by Phillip Wessels

Soft rain fell throughout the morning drive, but in spite of this we still managed to find a small herd of buffalo bulls and a lone rhino. They were all hanging out together on one of the open areas, making the most of the fresh short grass.

The rain let up for a while this afternoon, and before long we happened upon a couple of buffalo bulls resting on the open area. Next we found a small breeding herd of elephants taking advantage of the soft soil and uprooting small trees with ease. From there we went to see what the two young Kahuma male lions were up to. At first the boys were just lazing about, but when some other males started roaring in the far south they quickly responded. The healthier of the brothers becoming increasingly vocal as the pair headed in the direction of the roaring. It was strange to see, as they were obviously either offering or accepting a challenge from these unseen rivals. We ended off the drive by finding Ntima curled up in a tight ball, enjoying the last bit of light before darkness fell and the rain set in again.

Tuesday

The morning kicked off with a light drizzle, which we immediately assumed would make for some difficult game viewing. We headed off in search of rhino, and as luck would have it we came across a cow with a young calf. Mom and baby were soon joined by six buffalo bulls, but unfortunately at that point the rain returned so we had to head back to the lodge before we got completely soaked.

The wet weather then dug its heels in, making game viewing impossible. We didn’t go back out again on Tuesday, and were subsequently stuck indoors for Wednesday, Thursday, and much of Friday, as torrential rains flooded the area.

Friday

We were finally able to head outdoors for a while to assess whether or not any of the main roads were driveable after the floods. It was also an opportunity to take the three guests still stuck in camp out on drive. We were very lucky enough to find the two Kahuma males north of the lodge on one of the main roads. The general game was also hanging around the main roads, as the rest of the bush was just too wet for them to walk on. A herd of elephants surprised us, and we watched in awe as they slipped and slid their way along in the mud

Saturday

We were enjoying a cup of coffee before drive this morning when some Vervet monkeys sounded the alarm. We looked in their direction and spotted Shadow crossing the dam wall. The female leopard scent marked the large log on the wall, before crossing the still overflowing causeway. From where we were standing it looked as if she was walking on water.

This afternoon we found two groups of elephants with youngsters of varying ages. Close to sunset we also found Shadow again, and on this occasion she was walking down a road and marking her territory vigorously after the heavy rains had washed away any sign of her ever being there. We were very excited to notice that she has suckle marks, a clear indication that she’d recently given birth. Hopefully we will see the cubs in the next two to three months.

And that brings to an end yet another spectacular week! Remember to visit our Facebook and Flickr albums to see more photos from our game drives.

Until next time,

The Arathusa Team

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