Friday, 21 January 2011

20th January: Long, Long, Long Way from Home.

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

Lion ( Timbavati Male, 2 x Machaton Females & 4 x Cubs) / Umlani – Gabbro Rd.
Leopard ( Snoppy Male) / Tanda Tula.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Peru.

Afternoon Drive.

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Voeldam.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Argyle Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Umlani – Sunset Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Umlani – Steelworks Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Umlani – Steelworks Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Entrance Dam.
Lion ( Timbavati Male) / Umlani – Gabbro Rd.
Lion ( Machaton Female) / Umlani – Rhino Rd.
Leopard ( Unknown Male) / Klaserie – Argyle Rd.
Leopard ( Rockfig Jnr & Ntombela) – Entrance Dam.

Daily Synopsis.

Having guests for only the night drive the pressure was always going to be on, this was increased by the fact that it has been very quite out there. This could have to do with the weather, as at the moment it feels like we are living in an oven, and the temperatures are in the upper thirty's, don't want to begin to think of the humidity. Needless to say I needed to find Lion, which by the way have the uncanny knack of disappearing whenever the White Lions take an extended sabbatical. We headed South as Herald had witnessed the Machaton Females and cubs catch an Impala, which was promptly annexed by a Timbavati Male, during morning drive. We figured the heat would work for us in this instance as they would not move far. Well we figured wrong, as we received news that the Females and cubs had been chased off by the Male who was now sound asleep next to the Impala carcass and the Females were no where to be found. Not deterred we kept heading in his direction. It's amazing how when you have to get somewhere everything starts appearing out of the wood work, distracting you from your goal. In our case it came in the form of a bachelor herd of Giraffe, a very large male Warthog, a herd of Zebra and a Breeding Herd of Elephant.

Finally arriving at our Male Lion we found him fast asleep on his back resting off his indigestion, I could see from my guests expressions, the question of how could this animal be the “ King of the Jungle?” It was quickly answered when he rolled over and momentarily lifted his head, showing off his size and stature. I can positively say that everyone's opinion quickly changed, with which he flopped over again and returned to his nap. We took this as our cue to leave, well that and the fact that we were miles from home and the sun had set.  

Again our travels North where hindered first by a Breeding Herd of Buffalo, then one of the Machaton Lionesses and another Breeding Herd of Elephant. If we weren't late enough already, a jackal, followed by a relaxed male Leopard, made certain of it, once again endearing us to Leigh, the Food & Beverage Manager.

Heralds afternoon started very similar to ours with it being quite, he chose to stay in the North as he had seen the Lions in the morning. This left him all alone looking in the Northern section, which does not seem to deter him as he always comes up with something. While down in the deep South the barely audible voice of Herald came through, I'm sure I could detect a tone of I told you so, that he had found Ntombela who promptly joined up with her mother Rockfig Jnr. While following them he also bumped into a Breeding Herd of Buffalo, as you do! The saying should be changed to, “ The Luck of the Herald!” All in all, it was just another rough day in Africa.


  1. you left out one "long" in your title!!! hahaha, man, i have never even been that far south! But sounds like it was well worth it, and i am assuming you had your map close at hand to get all of those road names right!!!!!

    next week i am just following Herald around!

    hope the animals return to the north...

    PS - its Xinopi, not Snoppy, hahahaha!

  2. Hey Chad I see an elephant named Kambaku...if I remember correctly thats the name of one of the Magnificent 7...?? Whats the story behind this name?

  3. You are correct!

    Kambaku had tusks measuring 260 and 265cm each, and both weighing around 64kg's a piece (sorry, i did have to look that up! for interest sakes, the longest of the magnificent 7 tusks belonged to Shawu - whose statue is at Lost City - and they measured 317 and 303cm each....the heaviest belonged to Mandleve at 69kg and 73.5kgs each)...

    as to why he appears in our sightings report, well it is due to what his name means! Kambaku is the Tshangaan word for old elephant bull, and on the reserve, we refer to all elephant bulls as 'kambakus', as opposed to just 'ndolvu' (meaning elephant), the sightings of kamabkus are just run of the mill males...

    there is one large tusker from kruger that is occasionally seen in the area, but i am not sure of his name...

    the biggest resident male is called Mac, his tusks are 156 and 150cm long each, weighing approximately 50 and 48kg's respectively....his slightly smaller counterpart, Classic, has lost one of his tusks, but his tusks were a bit shorted and lighter...

    hope that helps!

  4. Hey thanx for the explanation!

    Was a little confused as I knew they were all dead so the name makes sense and infact as you know they were just all about named after a place and so I never quite worked out where the name Kambaku came from. There is an awesome book by Bruce Bryden which has a great writeup on the Magnificent 7...I must find it again and give it a read!
    Thanx for now though!

  5. Just as curiosity, how are the tusks weighted? :)

  6. on a scale? not 100% sure Lile

    as all of the magnificent 7 (the 7 big tuskers from the kruger) are dead, it was possible to meaure and weigh the tusks after their death (in cases where they were found)...

    Mac, Timbavati's big boy, has been the subject of elephant research, so measurements of his tusks have been taken (length and girth), and i would assume that ivory is of a pretty standard density, so with those measurements an approximate weight can be calculated in living elephants??? that would be my guess anyway????

    Hope you are enjoying the blog updates :)