Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Crossing below Motswari Dam.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Argyle Dam.
Lion ( White Lions) / Scholtz – Scholtz River Road.
Greetings all, I'm back, but more importantly, so are the White Lions! Four weeks ago Jacky and I tracked them out of our traversing area, and it is strange that we would be the ones to pick up their tracks on their return, it was as if they were giving us a second chance at unfinished business. I cannot take any credit for finding them as it was a group effort between the Motswari trackers and Marka that eventually found them late in the morning. This now fast forwards us to the afternoon drive and everything to look forward to. Knowing the White Lions were in a very difficult area to access and that the visual was very poor, we decided that we would visit them late in the afternoon in the hope that they would move out into the open or get mobile. We started off the drive looking around Motswari for one of our resident Leopards that we thought may be in the area, as we had our resident Vervet Monkeys alarm calling and staring fixedly to the North during lunch. Not having any luck with our Leopard we did come across a nice Dagha Boy in the Sohobele River. It was while watching him that we spotted something far more exciting than our Leopard, a Half Collared Kingfisher. Listed as an uncommon resident, it would have been only the second time I've ever seen one, and my first in the Timbavati. Our luck only seemed to get better as it was joined by three others. The alarm bells should have started to ring then, hmm............. four Half Collared Kingfishers all together, and in an area they are not listed as being found in. Ignoring the bells I contacted Chad to gloat at my find and get him to come take a look at my great find. Leaving him in the sighting we headed of on a high. This was short lived, as the smug voice, I'm positive I could hear a tone, of Chad came on the radio to inform me that they were in fact juvenile Malachite Kingfishers, often mistaken for Half Collared Kingfishers. Ah, the advantages of having time to scrutinise one's bird book. I now faced the joy of having to break the unfortunate news to my guests after hyping it up so much. I did learn one thing from this however, and that was not that you should not hype things up, but rather that I should keep my mouth shut and not tell Chad! Being a warm afternoon I headed off to all the Dams in the area in the hope of finding something to redeem myself. We picked up constant sightings of general game, that included, Kudu, Impala, Zebra and Steenbok. We also found a few heavies in the form of Hippo and a nice relaxed Bull Elephant that allowed us to sit with him while he went about feeding.
The Birding also revealed a wide variety of species, the majority of them being positive Id's and the unknowns casually not brought to anyone's attention.
During the entire drive we received updates of the White Lions movements, of which there were none and they remained out of sight. We again decided to delay our arrival and took a sundowner break hoping that they would get active once the sun had set and things had cooled a little. Finishing drinks, our strategy seemed to have worked, as we received news they had moved out of the thick vegetation into the riverbed allowing for a perfect visual. Carrying the surname Murphy, I should have known this was to good to be true. Getting into the sighting is a totally different story, that I'm not going to go into now, but after great difficulty and time we eventually made it into and up the riverbed and could see the Lions resting on the sand in the distance. No sooner had we got ourselves into position and killed the engine, they decided it was time to go on the hunt, so they all simultaneously got up and exited the riverbed leaving us with the daunting task of trying to get out and around to catch up with them before they disappeared into the night. Lady Luck had not totally deserted us as we successfully navigated out of the riverbed and managed to catch up with them. They appeared to have paused waiting for our arrival, at which they got mobile again. We followed them as they went about sniffing the air trying to pick up on the surrounding scents, and as they clawed the nearby tree's, all in preparation for the nights hunt that lay ahead. Not wanting to disturb them we did not spend much time with them and left them to go about there business. Who knows, maybe tomorrow we will find them with a meal. All in all, I couldn't think of a better way to return to drive!