Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back in SA at Djuma - 1 month on!

One of the baby impala on the open area!
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!)

Young elephant we saw today on drive!
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!

One of the zebra herds on the open area  this morning!
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!

Water monitor from this morning's drive.

Jaco 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 Jaco told me the cubs were seen often by the bush braai site on the open area, I thought it was worth investigating.

Hyena adult from yuesterday afternoon.
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.

Our lady of Djuma, Karula

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 Kaula'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 apperence 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! 

Karula keeping a very close watch on the hyena!
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.

Floppy ears cubs are on the left and Teddy is standing!
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 I had the 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 seeing something more exciting in the bush!
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. 

Karula on the right and Xivindzi on the left.
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!

The 2 ladies strolling down the road, Karula on the right her daughter on the left.  
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! 

First rock!
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 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!

These last pictures are 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


  1. WONDERFUL, TARA! Thanks so much! Glad you had great sightings and got to see Karula! Keep staying in touch & be well & happy. Love you, El -

  2. Wow Tara, thanks! Brilliantly observed and written as usual! Loved hearing about the lady cats and especially THRILLED to hear that a crocodile--perhaps NSpike himself--is back patrolling in Twin Dams! How wonderful to hear about our creature lovies, especially Teddy.

  3. Thanks Miss T, nicely written and really nice to be brought up to date with some of our four-legged friends.
    Looking forward to news of what lies ahead for you.
    Please give our regards to Marc, Seb and anyone else that you may speak to or bump in to.
    I'll be watching ;-)
    Brian (Mr B) XXX

  4. Thanks so much for the update Tara! Fantastic to have you around for a visit and to know you're well :)


  5. Aw thanks Tara. Great to have this lovely update on everything. Really excited about the crocodile at twin dams. That could cause some fun lol
    Lovely to hear from you too. Take care.

  6. Have my fingers crossed and with great hope that your forthcoming news will be what we all want to hear! Welcome back Tara!

  7. Oh my, Tara it is so good to hear from you and see all our old "friends". I have missed safari and all of you sooooo much. Thanks for the pics and news. Keep us posted!!

  8. Thank you so much for such a wonderful update of all of our favorite animals. This makes me realize how much I miss the Safari Drives. Wishing you continued good luck in your job search.

  9. What a wonderful report of your first drive back at Djuma. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. It was wonderful to see the animals again.
    Thank you for that gift, Tara.
    Liv Haasper .. Firefly

  10. Geesh it's difficult to type with tears filling my eyes. Tara you are so thoughtful, loving and so very kind. your blog is beautiful to say the least, your words filled with love and excitement with what feels your heart...DJUMA! Thank you for taking time out of your life to write this blog to give your followers of love for Djuma an update on all that we have missed so painfully. The picture of Karula had me crying hysterically. I wish you happiness,joy,love and success in whatever or wherever you may go. Your next employer will have a pot of richness with you at his/her side. Thank you so very very much for caring about all that love you and for this beautiful beautiful blog. I miss you terribly and hope to be able to follow you on to your next adventure. God Bless you and keep you well. Hugs and love to you Dear Tara

  11. Thank you, Tara! Glad to hear you are doing well! Also, happy to hear, and see, that our other old friends are well! Stunning pictures, and beautiful descriptions of your drives. I have to admit they made me cry, but mostly of happiness to see the beautiful Ladies of Djuma, and the rest. Thank you so much for sharing them with us once again. Take care and God bless.
    Rachel Glover (rg0101)

  12. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I loved seeing pictures of our friends at Djuma! I have always enjoyed your blogs. You write as though we were all sitting right there with you and you are describing what you see. It is so good to see Teddy, my how he has grown! And the ladies of Djuma are as beautiful as ever. God Bless you Tara and my you find just the right position for You. You are a very special young woman who deserves just that! Thank you again and again for this lovely gift of pictures!

    Virginia Garcia

  13. Awesome Tara to here from you and for you to takes us with you on your drive ! It was great to see Teddy and the group of our critter friends , Thank you , and for being my friend ! Deana YAHOO ! let s get our drive back ! GOD BLESS

  14. Welcome back Tara! The pics are wonderful and it is so nice to see everyone, both animals and people alike. Happy New Year to you and may your dreams come true. I look forward to hearing what you plan to do in the new year as I know you will do wonderfully at anything you set your mind to. Say hello to everyone and the animals too. Love you!

  15. Thank you so much for your update. I love reading your blog and seeing the photos of Karula, Xivindzi and Teddy. Looking forward to reading about your new adventures. Take care, Arlene

  16. Tara, how wonderful that you are back visiting Djuma and have taken the time to post pics and blog about the animals and sights we all hold so dear. Welcome Home ~ Come in and sit a while.

  17. It is really great to hear from Teddy, Karula and her little princess and all the others.
    I wish you the best, Tara.

  18. Thank you, Tara - so nice to hear how you are, as well as having a good update3 on our favorite Djuma leopard ladies - I hope you get to see Xivambalana as well. Happy New Year and please also do keep us up to date on your next adventures. You are very much missed by all of us!

  19. Thanks so much Tara for taking your time to keep us up to date with the animals in the area. You are a really special person and you are appreciated. Wishing you all the best!!

  20. As always Tara, you go a step beyond to keep us up to date on the happenings at Djuma. Bless you! Now we just need some great news on the job hunt. We don't ask for much :)


  21. thank you so much for sharing all this !!! happy New Year!

  22. I really enjoyed following your recent drive. So good to get a glimpse of familiar animal faces and new ones too. Thanks for sharing the photos it felt like old times.

  23. TY Tara. Glad to have you back for a few.
    Julie C. Indiana USA

  24. Your report was just as special as your sightings. So good to hear from you and glad you have gotten the welcome back to Djuma you so deserve. Are you going to be there awhile? Thanks for saharing the great pics. So good to see the Queen and princess. Kindest regards. Joy

  25. So nice to read you again, I was wondering what you were up to, and now you are at Djuma, hopefully for a while to keep us updated :) Big smile on my face...thank you
    R.C. Eggleston

  26. Hi Tara, wonderful blog Photos a great good to see our family again except the croccy lol, so are you going to tell us your new adventure it would be neat,it would be good if you could stay at Djuma but i suppose we will have to wait and see, keep the updates rolling my friend, will look forward to the next upday.
    Thank you
    Doris Charles

  27. Thanks Tara! great pics! Love the "weavers nest Neighborhood"!! Glad your back in the Bush!

  28. Thanks sooo much Tara for this blog and photos :) We all miss you and Marc and Seb so much and any news is more then welcome.. Hoping your search for the next adventure/job goes well and we al get to continue to join in to the adventure:)

    Pennsylvania, USA

  29. Oh wow! Tara back at Djuma and the familiar assemblages of critters! What a treat to see. Thanks for keeping us updated on your whereabouts and walkabouts. There are LOTS of us, and LOTS of us who care about you and Marc and Seb and Djuma and all the animals and plants. You just know we would all like our drives back again. A lively spark faded away when the drives ended....

    Washington State, USA