Sunday, 2 January 2011

1st January – Sohebele Males return to the west

Photo of the Day

Morning Drive
1x leopard (Argyle male) – Peru, Flooded Crossing
1x leopard (Kuhanya female) – Motswari, Airstrip
5 x lions (Xakubasa Pride) – Vielmetter, Hide Dam Northern Access
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Piva Plains

Afternoon Drive
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female) – Argyle, Umbabat Cutline/Long Rd
1 x leopard (Machaton male) – Java, Western Cutline/Java Access
3 x lions (Sohebele males) – Mbali, Western Cutline/Aardvark Rd
5 x lions (Xakubasa Pride) – Vielmetter, Hide Dam Northern Access
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Argyle Rd
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Argyle, Vyeboom Dam
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Voel Dam Southern Access
2 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Pan Rd

Daily Synopsis
The first day of 2011 proved to be a very good one for the guides and guests at Motswari, with a lot of very good sightings.  The morning started off with a  flurry of leopard sightings near the lodge; first Marka found the impressive Argyle male leopard sleeping up a marula tree near Flooded Crossing, but as I joined him the leopard descended and started walking through the bush.  I sadly lost visual of him after a couple of minutes, but it didn’t matter too much as at the same time, Herald found Kuhanya female leopard sleeping up the same marula tree I had found her in just yesterday, and she spent the whole morning there.  Marka also managed to track down the Xakubasa lions near Hide Dam, not too far from where they had been yesterday.
There were also two herds of buffalo found, the one that the Motswari guides went to see were resting on Piva Plains before the headed north-west towards Vyeboom Dam, where they were again seen in the afternoon.  The second herd didn’t draw our attention until the afternoon when Elliot relocated them near Voel Dam.
In the afternoon, Marka found Kuhanya female leopard sleeping up another marula tree, this time very close to where he had found Argyle Male in the morning; but in a similar vein, she also got mobile and was lost moving through a tricky section of terrain.
I wanted lions, so I was making my way south towards the white lions, but got lucky and bumped into some long-lost friends, the Sohebele male lions!  I hadn’t seen these three lions for almost a year, so was great to bump into them again.  They were looking a bit skinny, and still very small for lions of their age, but it is just remarkable to see them still alive and well!  I followed them for a while until they settled in the shade of a mopane thicket to rest for the rest of the afternoon.
Sohebele Males
After a great sighting of a breeding herd of elephants moving towards, and drinking at Hide Dam, I moved to the white lions – the lions that I have a love-hate relationship with!  I find them to be lazy, and during my visits during 2010, they frustrated me on occasions by sleeping in the thickest bush and doing nothing.  I struggled to see what Grant loved so much about them.  However, after last night’s sighting, it became a lot clearer to me!  The pride, full of energy and rejuvenated after the 11mm of rain we received during the morning (which left us all very wet at the end of the game drive!) had given them a new lease on life and they were very active, playing, grooming, stalking each other, biting mom’s tail, and just having fun!  It was really a special sighting, and so nice to see that they don’t just sleep and eat the whole time!!!
In addition to these sightings, Herald had a sighting of the slightly nervous Machaton male leopard, and Elliot tried to help track down a pack of wild dogs whose tracks had been seen in the north, but to no avail – he narrowly missed them on the main road after a passing vehicle had mentioned they had seen the pack running on the road.  It’s good to know that they are back!

1 comment:

  1. hey hey hey!!
    A reptile pic . . . . fabulous!!! Looks like its surveying the estate from its 'balcony'