Pieters still looking for the big grey ghost of the bush. It has been almost four weeks since we’ve seen any Elephants – looks like they have had their full of marula fruit- and the guides say that most of them have tracked east towards Kruger because the Mopane trees are busy fruiting. The Mopanes carry fruit during the winter months up until the end of June, but its the leaves that they are after, which are in their peak round about now. Rex mentioned a couple of drives ago, that Elephant find the large shiny and young leaves and twigs of the round leaved Teak very palatable – and its about time for the Teak to reach that stage … so I think WE can all look forward to some amazing Ellie sightings. Hopefully Somalie an her family comes back into the area.

I’ve just spoken to Rex and he is feeling great, over the weekend Rexon fell ill – and the possibillity that he might have had malaria arose. WE immediately had him checked out at a medical clinic nearby … luckily no malaria. He is back to being his good old self, finding us the great Big 5 sightings to enjoy. WE spent a couple of days with him and Mafufunayne, the male leopard, at an aardvark kill. With a glowing face Rex truly enjoyed the time spent with his favorite leopard … it was a good welcoming back from the ‘sick bin’!

Looking at the waterhole, (Gowrie) between and during game drive, WE have noticed that the remaining water is rapidly disappearing. The animals are leaning deeper and deeper into the waterhole to get a sip of water andit’s getting trampled more and more. With the fast approaching winter comes a number of different variables that WE have to take in to account when thinking about Gowrie waterhole. First of all in South Africa in this particular region we’re not part of the winter rain fall area, so with every day passing so does the hope or chances of rain! Secondly, when last have WE seen any big buffalo herds? … in winter time the Buffalo form big herds of up to hundreds. Such large numbers can change the state of a watering hole in mere minutes, especially Gowrie with it’s receding water levels! Lately WE have been starting the morning drives in the dark. In the winter the nights become longer and the days shorter therefore WE start in the darkeness. With all the other things that are changing due to animal movements and climate changes WE will also soon be changing the GameDrive times but WE will let you know before hand.

A new member has been welcomed to the WildEarth team, its a member with a hard outer shell … as usual. It’s a lean green mechanically sound driving machine. WE got a new run around vehicle (not game drive vehicle, yet!) that Pieter has been lovingly customising. With it’s 2.8i BMW engine our new Landy is great- its a pleasure to drive, and it looks cool too! The other day, while standing with Pieter in the workshop, we talked about what WE could call this new addition to the team. Everyone is still thinking about names and when we have decided on one we will let you know.

Our comforting, soothing and narrating voice over Gowrie during drive time, Director Sue, is currently on leave. She looked forward to her leave, jumping into the deep end here at WildEarth, only directing for a couple of days with not a lot of time to catch up, she did so well and deserves a good long leave with a lot of shopping and good rest at the seaside! Alex just returned back from the Congo where he was filming chimpenzees in the Lawiro Sanctuary – close to Bukavu in the Democartic Republic of the Congo – I picked him up at Oliver Tambo International airport- and with his large bright welcoming smile he explained that he just had the best time of his life in the Congo and some of its neighboring countries, Rwanda and Uganda. I’m also really excited to be back in the bush it’s really like coming home … Once you have lived here in the WildEarth camp for a while if you go on leave you frequently find yourself missing the naughty vervet monkeys stealing your toothpaste from your bathroom. You miss Karula and you wonder how her cubs are. You catch yourself dreaming of theMapogos and what their next move is going to be … and are constantly worried about the Kahuma’s well being … You wake up thinking you have to start the drive in 10 minutes and … smile, and wish you were on the Tank or in the Final Control, it truely is an honour working here in the bush and to bring to you Live Game Drives from Djuma in the Sabi Sands.

Written By Jan Harm Robbertse