Saturday, 15 January 2011

14th January – Lions still loving the North

Photo of the Day
Jacaranda Male roaring

Morning Drive
3 x lions (2x Jacaranda Males, 1 x Jacaranda female) – Argyle, Horizon Rd
4 x lions (Jacaranda Four) – Argyle, Buffalo Pan
1 x rhino (Nhlangula Male) – Peru, Hippor Rocky Rd/Woza-Woza Cutline
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Tawny Eagle Rd
3 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Wilkins Way
3 x elephant bulls – Peru, Voel Dam
2 x elephant bulls – Peru, Lily Pan
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Piva Plains

Afternoon Drive
1 x leopard (Nthombi female) – Vielmetter (Nyosi River Rd)
2 x buffalo bull – Argyle, Buffalo Pan
1 x buffalo bull – Argyle, Ingwelala Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Argyle Dam
1 x elephant bull – Jaydee, Jaydee Access

Daily Synopsis
The day started out with us receiving a quick 10mm of rain, but thoughts of having a wet drive soon faded as the rain stopped and the clouds cleared to remind us just how warm it can be when the sun comes out of hiding!
What haven’t been hiding over the last few days were the lions from the north, and today was no exception.  Within 5 minutes of starting the drive, Herald had found the non-mating male of the Jacaranda Pride close to where the two lions were mating yesterday.  I joined him and we followed him as he stopped and sniffed all the areas the lions had been yesterday, before once more roaring in apparent desperation looking for his brother. 

The dominant Jacaranda male roaring for his brother
Instead of receiving a roar back, two heads popped out of the grass some 30m away and began growling at him; it was the mating pair of lions; they were seemingly still on honeymoon, but despite spending almost 35 minutes with them, they showed no signs of mating – the honeymoon appears to be coming to an end.  The first male lion roared again for Grant, but he was left heading straight north towards the Ingwelala boundary.

The other Jacaranda male and the Jacaranda female still on 'honeymoon'

While we were watching them, the Jacaranda Four were found resting near Buffalo Pan, still fat bellied and not having moved more than a couple of kilometres since yesterday afternoon.
Herald headed to the west to search for rhinos – both Grant and I had chuckled when Herald’s guests appeared worried that the rain would ruin their chance of seeing rhino on their last of four drives; we both thought it would be a tall order for Herald, even without the rain – and in typical Herald fashion, he called in a rhino!  He located the relaxed Nhlangula male rhino, but sadly he still appeared to be on a mission of sorts and was followed as he headed steadily west into Klaserie before wither Grant or myself could see him.  Guess who was laughing now!
Besides those sightings, there was a welcome return of a herd of buffalo to the area, as well as a sighting of some buffalo bulls wallowing in the mud as the morning heated up quickly.
Buffalo herd
On the elephant front, there were three separate sightings of elephant bulls,, one of which I enjoyed as a large, tuskless elephant bull spent about 45-minutes having a mud-shower in the clearing at Voel Dam.
Elephant bull mudbathing
General game was better this morning, with impala, duiker, steenbok, waterbuck, a hippo out the water and giraffe being ticked off.  On a ‘worrying’ note, it was my first “leopardless” drive for the last 13 game drives I have conducted!  Not a bad statistic considering how difficult these cats can be to find with the bush being so thick!
Fortunately in the afternoon, I corrected that statistic and added another leopard to the list, but sadly it wasn’t the best sighting I have had of late, nor was it the best drive – not a bad drive, bt just not what we have been enjoying the last few days. 
The hot weather persisted through the day and seemed to leave the animals looking a bit lethargic, but not lethargic enough to keep them static, and I failed to relocate either the mating Jacaranda lions or indeed the Jacaranda Four.  This left me lionless, but I wasn’t too fussed as I was planning to go south to go and see Nthombi female leopard near Sweetwater.  Sadly though, my long trip down south didn’t produce a great sighting as Nthombi, who had been up a marula tree most the afternoon, had climbed down, walked through some tricky areas while Grant was with her, but soon fell asleep in some thick bush after watching a herd of zebras!
Nthombi leopardess
Grant also frustrated himself looking for the herd of buffalo from this morning without luck, but I did find two buffalo bulls sleeping off the heat of the afternoon in Buffalo Pan, as well as a distant on below Vyeboom Dam. 
Buffalo bulls at Buffalo Pan
I also had a lone bull elephant, as did Grant, but he added a great sighting of a large breeding herd of elephants, with enjoyable interaction between the young calves.  General game was a bit quiet, although we did see civet, impala, giraffe, zebra, steenbok and duiker.
White-backed Vulture
I just hope the great sightings we have shared over the last few days return with a bang tomorrow!


  1. Guys, you are doing a great job with the daily posts on the new blog.
    Reading your adventures has already become part of my daily 'ritual'.

    keep 'em coming!

  2. Thanks so much Lile!

    Glad you are enjoying the blog - makes it worth the effort to share our sightings with you and all the other regualr readers....glad it gives you your daily 'fix' of the bush :)