Monday, 14 February 2011

13th February – Return of the Elephants

Photo of the Day
Not a great photo, but a fantastic sight!
Morning Drive
(Chad and Grant)
8 x rhino (unknown crash of white rhinos)

1 x breeding herd of elephant – Mbali, Terminalia Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Mbali, Mbali Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Mbali, Mvubu Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Peru, Timbavati Boundary Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Peru, Mvubu Crossing
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Concrete Crossing

Afternoon Drive
(Chad and Grant)
3 x elephant bulls – Peru, Sohebele Dam
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Long Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Appleleaf Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Giraffe Kill Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Peru, Woza-Woza Cutline
2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Argyle Rd
1 x buffalo bull – Argyle, Argyle Dam

Daily Synopsis
Sunday, being the day of rest, proved to be no different in the bush today and it appeared that most of our animals chose to take the day off.
The morning started out promising, with a wonderful sunrise in the east, and with the golden light, I headed into the eastern sections to enjoy some views over the rolling landscape.  I wanted to go up the Kruger National Park cutline, and as I turned onto the road, some dark shapes in the distance caught my eye.  My first thought was rhino, but Petros’ first thought was buffalo or elephant, as there were many of them, but he soon agreed it was rhino.  I lifted my binoculars expecting to see 2 or 3 rhinos walking on the road....instead I saw 8!!!  Wow, a crash of 8 rhinos!  I have never seen such a large crash, so I parked on the road and watched from a distance as they ambled south towards us.

Crash of 8 white rhinos!
Sadly though, as they emerged from a dip about 80m away, they saw us and ran off east into the Kruger.  I don’t know what amazed me more, the fact that I saw 8 rhinos together, or that despite their supposed poor vision; they spotted my stationary vehicle from such a distance!  Despite that it was a highlight of the morning for me, so much so that I didn’t even bother to respond to two other white rhinos that were located near Lion Pan.
Grant did a birding morning, and ticked off many species, including his highlight – a snow white coloured red-billed quelea!  Seems like the Timbavati is the place for white animals!!!  Speaking of which, the guides tried their best to follow tracks of the white lions as they headed back north, but had no luck.
What we were having much better luck with were the elephants.  Besides a small herd feeding on the marula’s near Elephant Crossing, we had a herd arrive at Mbali dam while we were enjoying coffee, and another 2 bull elephants and a nice breeding herd arrive below Mbali Dam wall when we drove past there.

The afternoon remained a bit quiet too; no luck with lions or leopards, but plenty of elephants in the north.  Grant saw 5 sightings of bull elephants and some fair general game; I also saw some of the bull elephants that were splashing around in Sohebele Dam.  We both missed out on three breeding herds of elephants that arrived simultaneously at Argyle Dam – I did however see one buffalo bull there.

I searched the east for a herd of buffalo that had been seen there around midday, but had no luck – I did have some nice hippo at Mojambi Dam, as well as nice giraffe, zebra and impala on Kudu Pan Clearing.  Other general game included waterbuck, kudu, nyala and warthogs.

Impala, giraffe and zebra - its not always about the Big 5 :)

Suddenly the pressure is back on to find some pretty cats tomorrow; but we are always hopeful that they will show themselves, especially as when we arrived back in camp, there were fresh tracks for Kuhanya leopardess walking along the path in camp, right past reception again!


  1. I fear for the safety of these rhinos. This is, after-all, an open blog.

  2. Another truly wonderful blog.

    It isn't all about the big 5 - the other wildlife out there is fantastic and to see a crash of 8 rhinos must have been quite something.

    As ever wonderful photos - the eles in the water look like they are having such a good time.

    Fingers crossed your rhinos stay safe - they are very precious.

    Thanks for another great 'game drive' Chad.

  3. maybe the rhinos have decided to travel in "herds" for their safety !!!

  4. Outstanding captures.Trust the Rhinos will be safe from some hooligans here on earth. God Bless.

  5. Great to see the Elephants, and especialy the crash of Rhino, it's a great shame when you have to worry about showing animals bcause of their safety. It was on BBC News on reporters that Private Security Gaurds are now being employed trained, and armed to patrol in the Kruger National Park

  6. How amazing these rhino´s. It can´t be true that you have to worry about their safety when you put pictures on a blog. The last couple of days is was a really wonderful gamedrive through Motswari. Keep up the good work.

  7. Thanks for the comments and concerns folks...

    there have been no reported cases of any rhinos poached in the timbavati, and with the relatively high levels of activity in the reserve, combined with the arguably low levels of rhino activity in the northern sections, poaching is seemingly unlikely...if you consider how often we go out, with highly skilled trackers, and this is the first time that this group of rhinos has been seen...there are not a lot of rhinos, and any one intent on poaching would surely look elsewhere with a higher rhino density, and fewer people (hence less chance of getting caught)...

    i am in two minds about posting the rhino sightings on the blog, and we have discussed it prior to this...some lodges now dont discuss their rhino sightings in detail, others still show full on rhino sightings maps? we have not been asked to not discuss the rhino sightings, but maybe from now on we shall just mention them and not discuss the location?

    the reserve does have anti-paoching teams, the kruger patrols the common boundary, and their are guides and trackers out every day, and throughout the whole poaching saga, no signs of rhino poaching have been found on motswari or the northern timbavati, so i do not believe that we are endangering any animals through showing their photos on the blog...

    would love to hear some other opinions on the matter??? i am very open to your suggestions and thoughts :)

    thanks again for the comments and feedback....much appreciated!

  8. I would say rather mention that you spotted Rhinos but dont even say the excect spot and do not post pictures of the Rhinos that you have spotted.It is so tragic if one concider that God created every human being to rule over the world that he created but what do some of us do because of selfish greed-poach,steel,kill and so I can go on.Chad it is an honor to browse this blog to view such wonderful pictures as well as comments regarding all sightngs. God Bless.

  9. I guess if the poachers want to find the rhino they will whatever the precautions you take. Rhino horn is now so valuable to the chinese.

    My thoughts would be not to mention where you see them, but the photos and the 'game drives' are so wonderful it would be tragic not to be able to see these magnificent animals.

    It's such a tragedy that poaching is at such a high at the moment.

  10. I agree with Laikipia, If they want to find them they will (Unfortunately).

    I would just not mention where exactly you saw them. Still post the photos and mention that you saw them.