Friday, 5 February 2010
A little background into who’s Grant Murphy, born and raised in Joey’s, (that would be
So there you have it, the long and short of my life and how I find myself here today.
With that out the way let’s get to the important stuff, Motswari and her wildlife! It’s been an incredible two months and I have seen things that one only dreams about. It all started with the White Lions, some who had waited a lifetime to see, others like
So here follows a brief update:
As mentioned the white lions were found at the beginning of December and are still with us spending a vast majority of their time in the South of our traversing area around the Sharalumi and Nyosi rivers. The female adults are quite capable hunters and since viewing them, we’ve seen them feeding on waterbuck, warthog and their specialty giraffe, so they are all in good condition and the cubs are growing fast. Speculation has run high on who, where and why they appeared in our area. They where previously believed to be part of the Jacaranda pride, but have now been identified as part of the Timbavati pride, thanks to Lianne, who’s been studying and filming the white lions of the Timbavati over the past couple of months. They originally come from an area called Ntsiri, and we think they have moved into our area to escape the Mahlatini males who have moved into their territory in the north, a wise move as we all know what these males are capable of. Our last encounter with the white lions was a special one which we were fortunate enough to watch unfold over three days, it all started with them chasing a male buffalo into a waterhole…. where it spent the entire day in a stand off with the lions before they finally overcame their fear of water and eventually killed it that evening. For the next 2 days the lions fed on the buffalo before leaving the remains for the vultures.
When the Mahlatini males are not in the north, they occasionally visit us whilst on the trail of the buffalo herds that move south, and have made two young buffalo kills in the area over the past months. The Sohobele pride have not been that active whilst we have been on game drive having only being viewed a handful of times. The majority of these sightings finding them separated in various combinations, but I maintain they are survivors and will all reunite. For the time being they seem to be getting by on scavenging from the bush with the occasional small kill here and there. The last report having the 3 males reunited and the female being seen alone the week before feeding on a buffalo before being chased off a day later by the Voel Dam pride, a group of six skittish lions from the north. As Chad mentioned the dynamic of our lion population is at a very interesting time, add to this the unknown prides that we have popping up in the area at the moment, and it all sets the scene for some exciting encounters, watch this space……………..
This time of year leopard sightings tend to drop, due to having to find them in the thick vegetation. Having said this we have been fortunate enough to have had a lot of sightings of these elusive creatures. For you who have followed the blog for some time I will use the leopard’s names as you have come to know them. Over the last two months we have been fortunate enough to see Mbali who looks like she may be carrying a small surprise for all of us and her daughter Kuhanya, here’s holding thumbs. Speaking of Kuhanya, she has matured into a wise young lady, illustrated while making all the right decisions after spending a day trapped up a small mopani tree that restricted her to standing whilst wild dogs below stole her impala kill and continuously hounded her to slip up.
Over the last couple days, Rockfig Jnr has made a re-appearance but not showing off her two cubs that the southern lodges have had the privilege to witness. Nkateko and Ntombi have also been very active and seen on many a game drive. Still no sign of Rockfig but some believe she has moved to an area that is not often traveled during game drive, will need to drive a reckie one of these days soon. Argyle female was last seen hunting Impala in camp, but that’s a story for another day. On the male side, Argyle male has dominated the sightings with a couple of unknown males being viewed as well.
If there is something that we have struggled with since I have been here, is finding Rhino. This is due to the high rainfall, with water being in abundance it creates dense vegetation, pools for wallowing in and drinking from, ideal conditions you would think, but it also means the rhino don’t need to move much for their daily requirements, making finding them a challenge to say the least. All in all most guests have seen at least one to finish off their big 5 experience.
There have been various sightings of breeding herds of
As with the buffalo, the elephant herds have fragmented, as they do in summer when food is plentiful. The smaller breeding herds of elephants have been very relaxed and allowed us to move amongst them as if we where one of the herd, well at least that is they way it feels. On a personal note, I have a very soft spot for elephant and believe them to be extremely intelligent and fascinating creatures.
You have all followed the progress of the hyena mom and her two cubs which had been moved several times and now have been moved yet again to an undiscovered den. We still see the mother and her clan in and around the area. Last time I saw the cubs they were looking healthy and were extremely playful around the vehicle.
As usual, the bush would not be the bush without the underdogs… the general game. Almost every drive has had the usual sightings that include the antelope such as Impala, Kudu, Waterbuck, and at this time of year, all their offspring. We have also seen plenty Giraffe, Zebra, and a lone Wildebeest that often makes a guest appearance. On the nocturnal side Porcupine, Genet, Chameleons, Honey Badger, Civet and Jackal being the norm on evening drive, this is not to mention the many Owls, Coursers and Night Jars on the feathered front.
I think that about covers them all, well at least those that I have had the privilege of seeing so far. Apologies for the lack of detail, but I wanted to bring you all up to speed as soon as possible, from here my plans are to describe the game drives in more detail including any interesting animal behaviour that we may encounter while still keeping you in the loop as to your favourite animals. So yes, that would mean more regular updates!
Quick note on the photography front, most guides have recently acquired cameras that we are in the process of learning, not quite
As I’m new to all of this, should you have any advice, ideas or feedback that you wish to share with me please feel free to contact me as I would like to make the blog as interactive as possible.
Guess the only thing left to say is, “till our next encounter”.