Tuesday, 21 December 2010

20th December – White Lions get a meal

Photo of the Day

Mahlathini males greeting one another

Morning Drive
5 x lions (Xakubasa/White Pride with kudu kill) – King’s, Mafikizolo Rd
2 x lions (Mahlathini Males) – Argyle, Great North/Gina’s Rd junction
1 x lion (Mahlathini Male) – Argyle, Argyle Rd
1 x white rhino (unknown male) – Peru, Peru Entrance Rd
2 x buffalo bulls – Karans, Western Cutline
10 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Southern Access
2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Buffalo Pan Access
2 x elephant cow and calf – Peru, Hippo Rocky Rd

Afternoon Drive
5 x lions (Xakubasa/White Pride with kudu kill) – King’s, Mafikizolo Rd
3 x lions (Mahlathini Males) – Argyle, Great North Rd
1 x leopard (Thumbela female) – Kings, Raintree Plains
1 x leopard (Shongile female) – Motswari, Airstrip
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Bunny Rd
10 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Klipgat Crossing

Daily Synopsis
Last night’s rain was something of the past, and Monday was a warm and sunny day.  Game viewing was reasonably good, with all of the Big 5 being seen during the day.

Herald and I went south hoping for some luck with leopards and the white lions, but it turned out to be a pretty quiet morning in the south, with no sign of the southern leopards.  The southern stations had found the Xakubasa white lions with a kudu kill just south of our southern boundary, and kindly invited us to go and view them a bit later in the morning, so Herald and I did just that.  Sadly, just like the Jacaranda Pride near camp yesterday (who had incidentally disappeared), they had their kill under a bush which made getting good photos a bit challenging, but we still enjoyed the sighting of watching these lions feed on the kill, and see their fat, bloated bellies resting in the shade, while 3 hyenas waited for the scraps nearby.  Besides the lions, we had 2 groups of buffalo bulls, a zebra, impala, warthog and some kudu, but it was generally a bit quiet.

Xakubasa Pride with their kudu kill

In the north, Elliot and Grant had more luck with good general game, some elephant bulls, and a sighting of two of the Mahlathini male lions in the north-western corner of the reserve.  They were roaring to the third male, and Elliot later found him returning (from his mating session) to his brothers.  Additionally, Grant came across a nervous male rhino in the open area along Peru Entrance Rd, but he didn’t hang around for too long.
In the afternoon, Herald and I hung around up north, and Grant and Godfrey went south.  They got to see the fat and sleepy white lions still finishing off what little remained of the kudu kill.  Godfrey saw an elephant bull, and Grant saw another big group of buffalo bulls along the Nhlaralumi riverbed.  Grant too went the extra mile to go and see Thumbela female leopard all the way down south near Machaton Dam after she had been located on Raintree Plains.  He had a good sighting of her stalking the many impala in the area.
Impala and waterbuck enjoying the green summer flush of grass
Zebra and Giraffe with Herald and his guests in the background
Zebras have been quite scarce lately, so it was great to find a small herd on our airstrip in the company of giraffes on our airstrip.  The general game in the north was quite good with nice impala, waterbuck and some elephant.  Herald managed to relocate the two Mahlathini male lions, and a bit later while I was watching them, they got mobile and found their brother resting about 100m away.  After the one warmly greeted him, he then turned on the other male and they had a brief scuffle before settling down to rest for the rest of the afternoon.  The males seemed to be limping slightly, and after seeing their behaviour, these injuries are no doubt self-inflicted!
Mahlathini males reunited, but still fighting with one another!
As we were nearing camp in the evening, and after seeing an African wild cat, Herald called me to tell me he had a leopard on the airstrip.  We were driving a group together, and had a bet to see who could find the first leopard this evening, so I was sure he was just playing a trick on me.  Despite this, I made my way quickly towards the area, expecting to be laughed at.  Yet sure enough, we found him sitting with Shongile female leopard as she was showing interest in a large herd of impala and giraffe that were on the airstrip.  She was very active moving in and out of the bush adjacent to the airstrip, and as it was after dark and she was keen on hunting, we didn’t push her too much, and after a few minutes she moved into some thick bush and we left her.  When Herald had located her, she immediately ran after some impala, but had no luck in catching one.
And that rounded off another pleasant day at Motswari!
I am heading back to Johannesburg tomorrow, but will be back at the lodge in little over a week; I will thus leave the blog in the capable hands of Grant, and look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year! 
I just want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Blessed Festive Season and a prosperous 2011!
Until next time....

Chad Cocking

Full moon rising over the African Bush


  1. And a wonderful Christmas for you too.

    Looking forward to having you back with more of those amazing pics.


  2. Wow, what a treat to log on and find all these updates from the past 2 weeks! Amazing pictures, as ever! Thanks and merry Christmas to you all at Motswari.

  3. Thanks so much guys - glad you enjoying the new blog with regular updates and larger photos!

    cant wait to get back to motswari full time to keep you all updated on the sightings!

    will be there in the new year...also having Grant to help will make it easier for both of us!