Tuesday, 15 February 2011

14th February - Going the extra mile for lions...

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Grant & Chad.)

Elephant ( Multiple Breeding Herds) / Peru – Long Road.
Elephant ( 3 x Kambaku) / Peru – Voel Dam.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Airstrip Link.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Voel Dam.
Leopard ( Mbali Female) / Argyle – Timbavati/ Umbabat Cutline.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant & Chad.)

Leopard ( Shongile) /Motswari – Airstrip Link.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Entrance Road.
Lions ( Machaton Females & Cubs) / Rockfig – Dikkop Road.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Kings – Cheetah Plains.

Daily Synopsis.

After our previous slow day the pressure was on to produce a cat on morning drive, and a African Wildcat would not suffice as it had done the morning before, we were looking for something a little bigger. I decided to check the North East corner, see if lightning would strike twice, and get lucky with the Jacaranda Pride and their cubs. Chad would cover the North Western section, concentrating around the water. He fancied his chances with one of the Leopards that reside in the North, failing that he would continue on to follow up in the area where we had left the White Lion tracks from the night before. Missions established we set about our respective tasks, my Eastern adventure proved very quite and had it not been for the three Verreux's Eagle Owls we would have not seen anything but the Golden Orb web Spiders and their webs, that seemed to blockade the roads as if to redirect our course, maybe we should have heeded natures signs. On the other hand, Chad had found himself multiple herds of Elephant that had congregated around Sohobele Dam, some on the plains, others in the water and the remainder feeding all about the area, sounded like a great sighting.


I perceived on the East but when the call came in that they had located Mbali, west of Sohobele Dam, the temptation was to great and we headed in their direction. On our way we stopped off at Chad's Ele's, and as we had suspected, it was a great sighting and worth spending the time that we did, even if it did mean missing out on Mbali who had become mobile.


Chad being some way ahead of us arrived on scene with Mbali and managed to keep up with her while she went about smelling and scent marking her old territory. Having seen her twice now in the last week, lets hope she has relocated back to the area after becoming rather elusive over the last couple of months, with us finding her only a handful of times in the Central Western section. Eventually dragging ourselves from the memorising Elephant interaction we headed in Chad's direction. He kept hold of her until our arrival were we took over the sighting, shortly before she hoped up onto a large termite mound and posed for our photo shoot.  

While spending quality time with one of my favourite Leopards we received news that a little further along the road to the West, a Buffalo Herd was to be found. As if she had heard the message, Mbali got mobile making our decision that little bit easier and we left her to go about her way. Heading to Voel Dam we once again caught up with Chad and the herd of Buffalo, West was definitely the right decision this morning.

Having played catch up with Chad the entire morning and sharing in all of his sightings, it was only appropriate that we join him for morning coffee after our Buffalo sighting, why break a trend!

Not to be outdone from the day before, Chad left camp on afternoon drive and found a Leopard kill less than two hundred metres from camp, bettering my three hundred metres from the afternoon before that. The kill must have just occurred and they had not yet located the Leopard when we arrived on scene, Chad was in the process of describing to me the location of the kill and that there was no Leopard present, when Jacky turned around and pointed out that in fact there was, she was crouched in the grass trying to lay low and go unnoticed. We identified her as Shongile and noticing that she was uneasy with our presence we both decided to leave her with her kill and return after dark, when she hopefully had hoisted it into a tree, from the size of the Impala she had caught it was optimistic thinking. Needing Lion and having come up empty handed in the North the day before and during the morning we headed to the South, where we had received word they had located the Machaton Pride and their cubs. As is always the case when you have a long way to go, everything starts to make an appearance hampering your journey, between us we racked up Buffalo, Waterbuck, Hippo, Zebra, Elephant, Giraffe and Wildebeest on our trip.

Arriving at the Lions a little before sunset, the three females were head up watching some nearby Giraffe, while the cubs lay huddled in a circle together, fast asleep. Having a long way to travel back North we unfortunately could not spend to much time with them, but I think the golden sun setting over the recently washed plains in the presence of Lion painted a picture of Africa our guests would remember for a long time.

Shortly before arriving back at Motswari we popped in to check on Shongile, and as we had unfortunately suspected she had lost her Impala to a Hyena. We found her sniffing around the area where her kill had been and could hear bones being chewed in the nearby bushes, on approach she was chased up a dead Knob thorn tree by the hyena, that then proceeded to pick up the remainder of the Impala and run off with it into the night, bringing to an end her dinner and our drive.


  1. What a wonderful day - some amazing photos and how fantastic to see such a beautiful leopard.

    I love the posing zebra.

  2. Thanks for the update Grant,
    Some great photos.

    Agree with Laikipia regarding the zebra shots, and also love some of the lion shots.


  3. Just catching up.Some really great shots there Grant Thanks. I to really like the Zebra ones, and to beautiful Leopards. As you say that must have been a brilliant scene with the Lions, and the Sun

  4. Update brilliant as always. For me, I just love the Buff Boys staring down the lense of the camera...just brilliant.