Sunday, 13 February 2011

12th February – When it doesn’t rain, it pours...

Photo of the Day
Kuhanya walking around reception!

Morning Drive
5 x lions (Xakubasa Pride – 2 lionesses, 1 young male, 2 white lionesses) – Kings, Little Ridge
4 x lions (Ross Pride (???) – 3x lionesses, 1x young male) – Vielmetter, Double Highway
1 x leopard (Mbali female with impala kill) – Argyle, Peru Entrance Rd
1 x rhino (Nhlangula Male) – Jaydee, Nkombi Pan Rd

Afternoon Drive
5 x lions (Xakubasa Pride – 2 lionesses, 1 young male, 2 white lionesses) – Kings, Little Ridge
4 x lions (Ross Pride (???) – 3x lionesses, 1x young male) – Vielmetter, Steep Sharalumi
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female) – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd North
1 x leopard (Shongile’s Brother) – Argyle, Argyle Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Motswari, Giraffe Pan
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Wedge River Rd

Daily Synopsis
Saturday proved to be another good day of game viewing at Motswari, with the large predators again taking centre-stage!
The pattern that Grant alluded to yesterday, whereby all the lions suddenly show themselves at once again proved to be more than a theory, and at the start of the drive we were informed of a pride of four unknown lions resting off Double Highway!
Both Grant and I left them for later in the morning, and instead spent the first part of the drive in the north, with an old friend; Mbali leopardess!  I hadn’t seen her since New Year’s Day, and was happy to find that she had taken her small impala kill up into the safety of a tree.  At the start of the sighting I found her resting in some very thick vegetation, but she soon roused and climbed up the small russet bushwillow in which her kill was housed.  She posed beautifully, and as Grant joined me, I was planning to leave until she woke up.  She then went and fed for a few minutes before deciding the branch she was on was not comfortable and wanted to move her kill to the ground.  We watched as she struggled to get it down before descending the tree right next to us – magic sighting, especially for my guests that were here to film the animals!  Sadly due to their filming I wasn’t able to capture many images, but in time we hope to be able to share that video with you all.

Mbali female
From there both Grant and I headed south, seeing the impala, kudu, zebra (Grant says he saw the biggest herd he has seen since arriving, probably about 25-30) and giraffe along the way.  Grant found Nhlangula male rhino as he was heading back towards the Klaserie, while I tried to find the Rockfig Clan of Hyenas near Hide Dam.  Sadly they had moved off before I got there, only to return 10 minutes later when Grant drove past!
Nhlangula male white rhino

We both got to see the four unknown lions, all youngish and very relaxed, just fast asleep under a little terminalia bush.  We suspect they are in fact from the Ross Pride, and will have to see if they hang around. 

Ross Pride Lions...possibly?
Not far from them, the white lions had been located, so I went to go and show them to my guests as they also slept off the mid morning heat in a terminalia thicket, but still provided a good sighting.

I really enjoyed my afternoon; I hardly drove more than 2km from camp and had some great sightings.  It started with a small breeding herd of elephants splashing around at Giraffe Pan just north of the lodge, and some impala and kudu. 

It took Grant an age to find his first animal...well all of 2 minutes to spot Kuhanya up a marula tree not 300m from the lodge!  She immediately ran off after some impala, but Grant relocated and enjoyed a sighting of her up a Sjambok Pod tree, and she remained there until I joined the sighting.

Kuhanya up her tree
She soon got down and embarked on a puzzling mission following the scent-trail of something, sometimes running after the scent, walking in circles before seemingly giving up and walking straight towards the lodge.  I wanted a shot of her walking past our sign, but she headed towards the rooms and I left Marka to follow.  I was on the airstrip on my way to see another male leopard at Argyle Dam when Marka told me that Kuhanya was drinking at the bird bath at reception, so I raced back and found the marvellous scene of her standing at the door of reception, as if she was ready to check in!  Quite surreal to see such a beautiful, wild animal at home in the quiet camp!

Kuhanya checking out reception
We eventually made it the 2km to Argyle Dam and had a glimpse of the young male leopard below Argyle Dam wall, but didn’t stick around, opting instead to film the magical sunset.

Sunset at Argyle Dam

After drinks at the nearby Lover’s Leap, we returned to Argyle Dam and found Shongile’s Brother lying on top of the dam wall, just as we had found a few days ago.  He soon got up and jumped down, so we returned to the lodge, finding two hyenas on the airstrip.  The day ended off with a delicious pool-side meal with a cooling breeze bringing the day to a close.
Shongile's Brother on Argyle Dam wall
As for Grant, well he enjoyed an afternooon in the south with the white lions, as well as the four Ross lions!  Not a bad afternoon for either of us; but it just amazes me that last week we were struggling for lions, now i saw four different prides in just two drives!  Lets hope that it continues to rain cats (and some dogs would be nice too!)

Ross Pride resting in the Nhlaralumi Riverbed
Young Ross Pride male lion


  1. Glad to see you have a new receptionist and the white lions have returned!

    love to all the animals

  2. What an amazing day you had - such beautiful photos and I love Kuhanya checking out reception.

  3. Stunning series of captures.
    Always a joy to browse this blog.
    God Bless.