Sunday, 26 April 2009

25th April – Mtenga-tenga Rhino

Today started with three buffalo in front of the lodge, and continued with some exciting news; that a pack of eight wild dogs were seen just 2km north of the camp, but they had moved off into the adjoining property. We drove around a small piece of land called “Motswari Wedge” in the hope that they would crossing back, but it didn’t happen. About an hour later, an off-duty guide called to tell me that he had picked up the pack of wild dogs in the very north western corner of the reserve at Voël Dam! Unfortunately they only milled around the area for a few minutes before continuing in a westerly direction and out of the Timbavati. It is not the same pack of 18 that usually frequent the area, and we will have to wait and see if this pack hangs around, or if they were merely passing through.

The south was where all the action was this morning, and we were invited to go and see the three Timbavati male lions who were in the company of two of the Machaton females. They were rather lazy, although only one male looked well fed? They spent the morning resting in the shade and didn’t show any signs of wanting to get active.

The large buffalo herd that has been cycling between the southern and central waterholes was again found at Entrance Dam. I was taken aback by how many babies were present in the herd! At some stages, at least every second female that walked past had a baby with her, and most of the babies were tiny, only days to weeks old! It must only be a matter of time before the lions start pestering them!

A few hundred meters south of Entrance Dam, we had a rare visitor; Mtenga-tenga male rhino! Entrance Dam and the rest of the Vielmetter property used to be the heart of his territory until he moved much further south at the beginning of 2008. It was great to see him in the northern reaches of his territory, as he grazed around the vehicles, totally unphased by all the attention!

The drive finished with an elephant having a drink at our trade entrance dam.

I didn’t drive at Motswari in the afternoon, instead I had the afternoon off and went for a drive on the neighbouring shareblock property called Ingwelala. I saw one of Argyle Junior’s one-year old leopard cubs there, and it was literally right on the Motswari boundary near our Sharalumi Cottage! Unfortunately he moved off deeper into Ingwelala and not Motswari. I also found Giyani and Andrew a bit later in the afternoon at Voël dam where they were watching the Argyle male rhino having a drink. As with the Motswari guides, I had no luck finding the Sohebele pride who had been seen in that area in the morning. There was also no sign of the wild dogs during the afternoon.

Herald did see Nkateko female leopard not far from Java camp in the afternoon as she headed towards a small rocky outcrop in the area.


  1. Hi Chad
    The old male lion that you talk of, would that be the very old lion I saw last year at Motswari? I think our guide said he was probably about 17 years old then. We only saw him the once--it was a night drive nad he just appeared out of the scrub. It was amazing.
    I enjoy reading your blog very much. I am returniing to Motwsari in January..can't wait!

    Regards--Clare Jokuszies

  2. Hi Clare!

    Indeed, that would almost certainly have been the same male lion (although i have heard many guestimates of his age, he is probably between 15 and 16 years old now)...we thought he was dead as we didnt see him for 3 months, but he has returned and we have seen him a good number of times this last week!

    glad you are enjoying the blog!