Friday, 18 February 2011

17th February – Argyle Male Returns!

Photo of the Day
White lions of the Timbavati

Morning Drive
1 x leopard (Argyle Male) – Peru, Piva Plains
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Sohebele Dam

Afternoon Drive
(1 x leopard (Kuhanya female) – Motswari, Reception – seen by staff)
5 x lions (Xakubasa Pride – 2 lionesses, 1 young male, 2 white lionesses) – Vielmetter, Martin’s Rd
2 x white rhino (female and calf)
2 x buffalo bulls – Jaydee, Khona Bobesi
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Jaydee, Argyle Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Vielmetter, Vielmetter-Alberts Cutline
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Great North Rd
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Camp

Daily Synopsis
I was the only vehicle driving from Motswari today, yet I still managed to tick off some really good sightings with my guests, including all of the Big 5 and much more.
The morning started out with a real autumn feel to it; a clear blue sky, a slight breeze, a nip in the air, dew settling on the vehicle, and a bush that is worryingly turning brown too quickly – the good rain we received in December and early January now feels like a distant memory – and it almost feels like we have fast-forwarded a couple of months into April!  The drying conditions are not all that bad, and no doubt are helping with the sightings of late.
The morning drive was a bit quiet – I checked for Vyeboom Dam male and Argyle Jnr, but both leopards had moved off from the kill, and only tracks for Argyle Jnr headed to Argyle Dam.  While watching a waterbuck, I heard a leopard roaring in the distance, and set about searching the area to no avail.  Another guide in the north picked up tracks for a male leopard south-west of Argyle Dam, and knowing that the leopard wasn’t far off, I put Petros on the tracks, and he and Robert did a great job in locating Argyle Male leopard – our first sighting of him for 2 weeks!

The growingly-impressive Argyle Male Leopard
It was great to see him again, and he was sitting up in a large marula tree on Piva Plains, but soon climbed down (catching me unawares, hence the poor photos, sorry!) and wandered off to the north.  We followed for some time through some very thick bush, but stuck with him until he went to sleep in a terminalia thicket, and thus bringing to an end our sighting of him.
Besides that, we had some nice waterbuck, hippos, impala, nice birds and a lone elephant bull feeding and wallowing in the mud on the eastern bank of Sohebele Dam.  We also had a few millimetres of rainfall during the drive, but not enough to dampen our spirits.

Elephant bull at Sohebele Dam with the resident hippos
Arriving at lunch, just before game drive, I was told that Daphney and Thea had seen Kuhanya female leopard coming to drink at the bird bath 10m from reception at about 14h30 in the afternoon!  Despite sending the trackers out, they were unable to locate her; although I did hear that while the staff were playing a game of soccer on the soccer field, Kuhanya stalked and chased after a herd of impala less than 100m away!
Although I would have loved to have seen her, I still had a very pleasing afternoon.  It started off slowly with some impala and warthogs, as well as some nice birds and a crocodile.  Carrying on west, we found a lone elephant bull, but headed to the south to go and see some lions.
En route we found a small breeding herd of elephants, and were then told of two white rhinos nearby that we went to see, but the female and her calf were quite nervous and didn’t give us the best sighting, but it was a sighting none the less.

Young white rhino
There were also some buffalo bulls and another breeding herd of elephants in the south, but our main reason was to go and see the Xakubasa Pride of lions on Vielmetter.
Again I got lucky and arrived a few minutes before the whole pride suddenly and simultaneously started yawning and soon got up, groomed and began playing with one another, and with us – it is quite something to have a white lion stalking after your vehicle as you are leaving a sighting!  It was turning into a magical sighting, but sadly I had to leave; still, I got a taste of what it is that makes Grant love these lions so much, and if they keep on giving me sightings like they have over the last few days, then it won’t be long before they find a special place in my heart too!

Xakubasa Pride
Heading back to the camp, we ticked off more impalas, a herd of zebra and an African Wild Cat to round off yet another enjoyable day at Motswari.
Grant had the night off, and seemingly Argyle Rd and the trip back to the lodge produced the goods again...not only did he see three rhinos on the way back, but Kuhanya leopardess was lying in the middle of the road near reception upon his return!


  1. Thanks for the update Chad.
    These white lions really are special. I love your images of them.

    Argyle Male Leopard is beautiful, and I will forgive you for shots of the exit from the tree. Still love the first colour photo with the brake lights on :-).


  2. Wonderful to see the white lion photos and to read about your day.

    As ever the photos are superb, my favourite today is the ele wallowing in the mud :O)

    It sounds like another perfect day.

  3. Thanks for the updates~! I was there Oct last year as a trainer, not a guest, but please check your Lost Property box for me? I think i left part of my heart there~!

  4. Another wonderful day at Motswari. Those Whitelions are really special. and the photo's of the Argyle Male are great even if you had to take them quickly. Thanks Chad its made a bright start to a dull winters day here in North Wales