Whata Pan has become a hot spot for every guide these days. Sitting inside the cool sunken photo hide or stopping nearby for sundowners is so rewarding. With the high temperature we are experiencing this month lots of animals like elephants, rhinos, buffalos, plains game and sometimes lions and other predators come to drink. By mid-morning and late afternoon Whata is ‘pumping’ as we say, with different species of animals coming for a drink and mud bath. Animals like warthogs, impalas and black-backed jackals are nervous when they approach the waterhole – they are even spooked by flying birds. They sometimes walk in circles sniffing the air checking for scent from predators, they take ages before they drink, and if they are not comfortable they leave without drinking. Jackals will take a few licks and lift their heads checking for danger. Different species of beautiful birds come to drink and the small ones erupt in different directions when a hawk flies over. The heavyweights at the waterhole are undoubtedly the bull elephants, but a pecking order exists among them whereby the bigger older bulls hold more sway.
A young bull quenches his thirst, but a larger bull soon approaches to muscle in.
As the larger bull arrives and starts to drink, the younger one tentatively reaches out to it with his trunk in a friendly submissive gesture. In return for his good manners he gets squirted with water!
The both leave the area as companions, escorted by turtle doves.
Whata Pan has become a hot spot for every guide these days. Sitting inside the cool sunken photo hide or stopping nearby for sundowners is so rewarding. With the high temperature we are experiencing this month lots of animals like elephants, rhinos, buffalos, plains game and sometimes lions and other predators come to drink. By…
During the afternoon game drive we headed west towards the Chiredzi River, hoping to catch up with the pack of wild dogs we had left there from that same morning’s drive. As we drove along the river bank we were delighted to spot the whole pack of 15 dogs. They are eight adults and seven puppies, and all were relaxed and napping in the riverbed, under the shade of the Natal mahogany trees.
After being kicked out of the breeding herds between the ages of 12 to 15 by the leading female, the matriarch, bull elephants tend to wander around by themselves and end up forming bachelor groups that can number up to 20. Their movement is determined by the availability of food and water.
As we got to the pan we saw ten elephant bulls drinking and splashing around in the mud, then we moved off to the side and disembarked the vehicle for sundowners. As the guests were enjoying their red wine a group of about a dozen buffalo dagga boys came past us and went to drink and wallow. As the sun was setting a white rhino cow and calf came to the water and drank alongside the elephants and buffalos, and in the distance we saw a black rhino that was waiting for us to leave.