Happy New Year everyone!!
I can’t believe I have been back in South Africa only a couple of days, it feels like I have been away for so long and yet it feels it hasn’t been a day since I left! Confused? Me too! My head is all over the show so if this doesn’t make any sense I do apologize now, it will still be the effects from the 35ish hours of traveling! (Luckily this time there was no running involved!)
I have no news to tell you all as yet about me, but hope to have in the next week or 2. I am at Djuma for a visit and thought everyone might appreciate hearing about the love of our lives while I was here, so without further ado here we go!
I could swear I saw Teddy run off as I drove in to camp on the 13th after a long 6 hours on the road. It was small enough and dark enough for it to have been, although I was quite exhausted and it is possible I could have miss identified our short furry friend. Sadly he/she didn’t come back out to say Hi, but I had a huge smile on my face as I felt I had just been welcomed home by Djuma! Although I didn’t realize what a welcome back I was about to have, in more ways than one! (Just a note on the side, if ever you leave a fridge for a while, you might want to make sure the door is wedged open!) After a major clean up operation and a much needed sleep, it was time to go and see who would come out to say happy new year!
Jacco hadn’t been out on a drive in a while, so he came with me to check out the hyena den on Zoe’s road, but as I expected, nobody was home and it looked like it had been a while since there had been anyone there. I did wonder if the den off Phillamon’s cutline was in use again instead and after Jacco told me the cubs were seen often by the bush braai site on the open area, I thought it was worth investigating.
I am so glad we did! As we pulled in we noticed one of the adult hyenas lying in a tunnel entrance! She kept looking over shoulder into the tunnel, which gave the impression there were cubs behind her, so we sat for a while and waited hoping to see which cubs were there. Sadly there was no sign of the little terrors, but we did receive a radio call about Karula not too far away at Tree house dam as we were heading to the den earlier. We wanted to delay our approach to allow the other vehicles with guests to see her first and have time with her. As we realized we would not have luck with the hyenas anytime soon, another call came to tell us her daughter, Xivindzi was on Weaver’s nest road close to the junction of Gowrie main.
Her mother was evidently calling, but it is hard to say if Xivindzi could hear her, as she was taking her merry sweet time about responding if she had. She may have just been waiting around for Karula’s return, looking for her own dinner and it was just by chance she was heading in the right direction towards her mother!
With the rain that Djuma has had, the vegetation has expanded 10 fold and unfortunately Xivindzi was quite happy to sit and be just out of sight of my camera! When she did eventual move, the greenery swallowed her up as quickly as a rain drop dissolves and becomes part of the sea.
Luckily by this time there was space for us to join our lady and we did so, just north of Tree house dam, as she continued to call her wayward children, which came to no avail except for the appearance of a hyena, possibly the one we had seen a bit earlier. No doubt she heard Karula’s calls and came to inquire if there was a free meal on offer!
You can imagine the queen of Djuma was none too happy about the uninvited guest, but the spotted cousin kept a respectful distance and eventually comprehended there was nothing to be had and left. Karula gave up her own search for the time being and took a load off atop a termite mound! Some of you might remember the day she called the boys for hours with no answer from them. The calls she gave for Xivindzi and Xivambalana were not as loud and she didn’t seem too concerned at having no response from them. With the cubs being around 14 months old, they are more than likely still relying on her for food and it could be she stopped so they wouldn’t come to find her while the hyena was in the vicinity.
With the setting of the sun, we returned to the hyena den to find, who I think were floppy ear’s youngsters curled up together and Teddy; full of energy as always! Sadly wrong lens for the light, but it was too light for the spot light to work, but at least you can see them! Teddy would be around 5-6months old now and has the spotted coat like that of the older hyena, but it is still quite dark and is more fluffy than even floppy ears 2!
Teddy caught our scent and looked like s/he wanted to come over, but seemed a bit intimidated by the vehicle. It is hard to say if there was some recognition or just general interest, but s/he took a few steps closer each time while sniffing the air and when I spoke s/he did venture closer still. Evidently though something else more important came up that needed urgent attention and Teddy’s focus was drawn away from us! We left the young clan members as they scurried off into bush in answer to an adult calling and with night drawing in, it was time to check on Karula and her daughter again.
A lap around Tree house dam brought nothing, but as we approached elephant skull and weaver’s nest junction for a final lap of the dam who should stroll out in front of us? The ladies of Djuma, Karula and Xivindzi! They gave us a royal walk by right next to the vehicle and continued down weaver’s nest towards Gowrie Main! Xivindzi seems to be a typical teenager, leading the way and showing she is all grown up, but every so often needing her mother’s attention! It was a perrrfect end to a wonderful day!
This morning I joined Texan and Lotts of drive and for the first time I saw the Manyeleti boundary, more of Buffleshoek property and the first rock at torchwood!
It was great to see the places we have heard mentioned so often on the radio!
We had a beautiful sighting of elephants, a quick glimpse of 2 rhino (not sure who they were I doubt it was any of the ones we used to see on drive),
the male giraffe with a patch missing on his neck, showing us his sense of humor so early in the morning!
There has been a return of a crocodile at Twin dams…I thought you might like to know about that!
The wildebeest herd has had young, I saw 3 but there could be more! This little one can’t be more than 2 months old!
The baby impala look to be doing well and are in enjoying the protection of the large creches!
I even had a buffalo bull blocking my path on the way down to the lodge this morning! This last picture is of the weaver birds who were making the nests at tree house dam.
If you remember there was only a couple of males who were busy when we left with very few nests that had been built, as you can see it is no longer the case! The sound was deafening!
I hope you enjoy hearing about the residents. If I head out again or if I have any news of the residents of Djuma or about what I am doing I will be blogging!
Until next time take care and keep smiling (everyone will wonder what you are up too!)
Written by Tara