Thursday, 17 February 2011

16th February – Great Game Viewing Continues with White Lions and Leopards...

Photo of the Day

Vyeboom Dam Male - winner of the 'Funniest Face of the Day' competition!!!

Flap-necked Chameleon
Morning Drive
(Chad and Grant)
5 x lions (Xakubasa White Lions; 2 x lionesses, 1 x young male, 2 x white lionesses) – Vielmetter, Blue waxbill
1 x leopard (Nthombi with impala kill) – Kings, Double Highway
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Reception Rd
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd North
1 x buffalo bull – Jaydee, Makulu Dam

Afternoon Drive
5 x lions (Xakubasa White Lions; 2 x lionesses, 1 x young male, 2 x white lionesses) – Vielmetter, Blue waxbill
1 x leopard (Vyeboom Dam Male with impala kill) – Argyle, Mfene Crossing
2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Camp Dam
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Motswari Southern Access
3 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Hamerkop Pan

Daily Synopsis
Wednesday proved to be another very good day of game viewing at Motswari, and we were treated to some great sightings of the larger predators, as well as good general game.
Grant had one mission for the morning; find a buffalo!  He checked every place where we normally find buffalo, but at each mud wallow he came up empty handed.  It must have hurt him; not because he couldn’t find buffalo, but because his search for buffalo for his guests meant that he couldn’t go straight down to Vielmetter to see his favourite animals, The White Lions!
We both started off the drive taking it a bit easy in the north looking for leopard that had been relatively quiet around the camp the last couple of days.  There was one elephant not 70m from reception to start off the drive, then Grant found tracks for Argyle Jnr in the riverbed west of the airstrip, and while I was tempted to track her, I knew it would likely result in the trackers seeing her spots as she ran off, and as Nthombi was still in the south, we left it; the news that there were tracks for the white lions also pulled me south, and this proved the right decision as they were found without too much effort by the southern stations.
After watching some impala, hippos and a crocodile at Sohebele Dam, I headed south to Vielmetter, not seeing a great deal, but it was worth it for a rather active sighting of the white lions.  They were fast asleep when I arrived, but they soon woke up and slowly moved from one spot to another, thankfully avoiding the bushes before going to rest again in shade, but in the relative open.  It was a real treat for our guests to see these special cats, and they were really chuffed.

Xakubasa Pride - growing into real lions now
We carried on with the drive, deciding to go and see Nthombi leopardess and her kill while we were down south.  There were some impalas, warthogs, waterbuck and some nice birds as we headed towards Elephant Dam for a cup of coffee.  As we were leaving, a lone hyena arrived to have a drink at the dam before going to sleep in the water.

hyena at elephant dam
From there we travelled a short distance to see Nthombi who had taken her impala kill up a beautiful leadwood tree – quite unusual for leopards to climb these hard-wooded trees, but we were delighted as it was s great setting for a great sighting of this beautiful leopard resting high up in the branches.  She eventually awoke and went to feed on what little remained before we left her to head back to the lodge. 

Nthombi and her impala kill - sadly her cub was nowhere to be seen

 Heading home we saw some nice impala, zebra , giraffe and a nice chameleon.  Grant also thankfully got his buffalo at Makhulu Dam, albeit after a bit of a run around; and he also got to show his guests Nthombi and the white lions!

Chameleon crossing the road

I was the only drive out from the lodge in the afternoon, and had two new guests, and some strange guy called Grant joined my drive on his afternoon off!  Fortunately for him, it was well worth it!
My new guests were after big cats, so it was quite fitting that the very first animal they saw was a leopard!  Vyeboom Dam male leopard was resting in a large weeping boer-bean tree with the remains of an impala kill about 100m west of our airstrip, and was pleasingly very relaxed as he lay and watched us before also getting up to feed for a while.  During the sighting, he was very interested in something behind us, and I was very sure that there was a second leopard in the area, as he had the same behavioural traits he had the last time I saw him below Vyeboom Dam, where sure enough a second leopard was found.

Vyeboom Dam male and his wonderful array of expressions!

Despite continuously checking behind us, we saw nothing and decided to move on; especially as Leigh was on a roll!  She had gone with some of the staff to the south of the reserve, and on her way back to the lodge, they bumped in to a range of animals that she kept radioing in!  First it was three lions on Argyle Rd near Nkombi Pan...then a rhino further north...and then a breeding herd of buffalo a bit further along!  Sadly the lions moved into Klaserie before one of the southern stations got there; then the rhino moved out of the Timbavati too as the same guide arrived there, and so we didn’t even bother with the buffalo!  Just shows how essential timing in the bush is!  To bring this home, after we left the leopard, another guide arrived to find that the second leopardm Argyle Jnr female, had moved in and taken the kill from Vyeboom Dam male, and he was now sleeping down in the riverbed - at least we were right about realising that there was another leopard there!
We did find our own buffalo; three buffalo bulls in a small pan near Vyeboom Dam.  Then there were a few small crocodiles, good birds, impala, waterbuck and some giraffe in the north.

I then had to make my way south, planning to arrive at the White Lions as it was getting to sunset, hoping to catch them in action.  Fortunately we got lucky, and found them sleeping in the open, and it wasn’t long before they started showing signs of activity, and soon got up, did their ablutions, interacted and moved slowly towards a small mudwallow for a drink of water before settling down again.  We enjoyed some nice time with them, and a very good quality sighting before heading off for a well deserved sundowner to sign off on another special day at Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Sorry but couldn't but help myself and add a couple of my White Lion Pic's! Oh, and a Tree Agama, that I thought was pretty cool, specially given the nice backdrop given by the Leadwood Tree.


  1. Another amazing post, it looks like an incredible day. Adore your photos of the cats today! Thanks for sharing.

  2. As always amazing pictures. The white lions are getting so big.

    The blog is just fantastic - it is like I am back in the bush.

    Sue UK

  3. I agree with Anonymous. Having done a lot of gamedrives in different countries (it is n´t meant snobbish), it looks if I make a gamedrive everyday with fantastic guides. I still have a question about the white lions. Are the tawny ones and the white ones brother and sisters?

  4. What a wonderful morning and afternoon - I really enjoyed reading your blog and the photos are simply stunning, all of them.

  5. Love those white lions. We were there in April but missed them. We will be back again in September to try again. The pics of all the animals are fantastic. Thanks.
    Jen from Australia

  6. WOW, what a great day. Thanks for the update Chad.
    Some very special photos there. The leopards and white lions are awesome, and man that Chameleon shot is also something else.


  7. thank you all so much again for the kind words! it was a pretty special day!

  8. Hi there Tiny, just to answer your question, the two White cubs are sisters and Tawny male cub is an older cousin.