Monday, 21 February 2011

21st February – Back to Work

Photo of the Day

Morning Drive
(Marka and Chad)
2 x lions (Mahlathini Males) – Peru, Voel Dam
2 x leopards (2 skittish leopard cubs) – Mbali, Mcau Rd
1 x rhino (Mtenga-tenga)
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Motswari, Ingwelala Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Jaydee, Jaydee Access
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Vielmetter, Back Nines
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Voel Dam
1 x elephant bull – Java, Peter Pan Access
1 x elephant bull – Kings, Double Highway

Afternoon Drive
(Grant, Godfrey and Marka)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Motswari Dam.
Elephant ( 2 x Kambaku's ) / Peru – Phiva Plains.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Peru Entrance.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Hippo Rocky Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Argyle – Argyle Dam.
Lion ( 2 x Maghlatini's) / Peru – Voel Dam Southern Access.

Daily Synopsis
So after yesterday’s sterling performance by the animals (of hiding away, nothing else!) we had our work cut out for us this morning.  Monday started off as a beautiful day – no clouds, no wind, just warm sunshine that immediately lifted my spirits.
Setting off from camp I checked the north, still hoping that our leopards would have overcome their fear of trees, and remembered how to climb and pose up in a marula tree; it wasn’t to be, but I did see some waterbuck, impala, hippos and a crocodile.

hippo at Sohebele DAm; lurking danger of a crocodile at Sohebele Dam; impalas
My plan had been to check the western section for any sign of the white lions returning and possibly some rhino and elephant.  I was slowly heading towards Voel Dam when Giyani radioed to tell me that he had located a rhino, but it was not on my intended route, so my plans were promptly changed.
I headed into that area, seeing some giraffe and more waterbuck, and a brief glimpse of two leopard cubs, but they were so nervous that had my tracker not told me what they were, I might have mistaken them for a civet running away.  I am assuming it was the two cubs of the unknown female leopard that our guys have seen around Mbali Dam, which would put the cubs at about 6 months old.  We didn’t spend long trying to relocate, but carried on with the drive, seeing a few elephant along the route.
Giraffe in the African Bush
The rhino was a god sighting, it was Mtega-tenga grazing around in the lush grass – quite unusual for him in the heat, as he is notoriously prone to sleep off the hot morning in the shade!

Mtenga-tenga male rhino
While watching him, I was told that two of the three Mahlathini male lions had been found sleeping on the clearing near Voel Dam – I really should have trusted my first instinct!  I eventually left the rhino and made my way towards the lions, seeing some more elephant along the way.  The lions had just been chased off by a large elephant bul while Marka was watching them, but they soon settled down in a shady area on the fringe of a mopane thicket, and were only awake for a couple of minutes while I was there before they flopped over into a deep slumber as the morning heated up.
Mahlathini male lions
I returned back to camp a lot more satisfied with the morning’s ‘performance’, especially as my two guests, Ann and Lana, had specifically asked for male lions on their last morning!  I wish all of our animals were so obliging!
I am off drive for a couple of weeks, so will be leaving Grant to carry on the blog in my absence...starting with this afternoons drive, so over to you Grant!

Ah.................., it's good to be back on drive! Was a little apprehensive after the couple of days Chad had to endure, but figured, it doesn't matter if it's quit out there, as long as you out there! The afternoon sightings above should give you a clue to the temperature we experienced. If you said hot, you would be 36'C right, not that it is very high but after the temperatures we have been spoilt with over the past weeks, it felt more like 46'C. So an afternoon around the waterholes was in order, well at least until the sunset and things cooled off. Knowing of the Mahlatini's at Voel Dam, Godfrey and I decided to stay up North, Marka was in search of our suddenly elusive Leopards, so he too stayed in the North, fancying his chances around Motswari. We all started out looking around camp but slowly dispersed on our individual pursuits.

Jacky and I had an afternoon filled with Elephant in all shapes, sizes, groupings and combinations thereof, and spent a great deal of our afternoon sitting quietly observing our favourite animal, while they went about their afternoon antics.

 Having only two guests who were happy to see anything and who have an appreciation for everything, made for a very easy and relaxed afternoon. As is typical under these circumstances the animals seem to come out, and by the end of the afternoon we had seen, Buffalo, Impala, Hippo, Waterbuck, Hyena, a Boomslang and a Chameleon on the reptile front. Not forgetting our two Mahlatini Males, they unfortunately were tucked in amongst a Mopane thicket, fast asleep in the long grass. We had tried to time our arrival late so as to hopefully catch them heading to drink at the nearby dam, but we clearly arrived a little early. While sitting with them, the Golden Boy, as we refer to him due to his beautiful golden mane, stood and laboriously walked about fifteen metres, before collapsing next to his brother. He appeared to be in a lot of pain and we could see a number of bite wounds on and around his back left leg, they had obviously been in quite a serious fight. Having last been thought to have chased the White Lions off into Klaserie the day before, it poses a number of unanswered questions. Where is the third brother, is he ok? Who inflicted the injuries, was it the White Females in defence of their young, or were they incurred fighting with one another over an oestrus female? Are the White Lions ok, and if so, where are they? The scenarios are endless and only time will reveal some of the answers, while the rest will remain the bushes secret, hmm............... is it the beauty, or the mystery, of nature, I get confused. With lots to mull over we headed back to camp, hoping tomorrow brings more answers than it does questions!


  1. Thanks Chad, enjoy your leave.

    Photo of the day is great (assisted by great light), not a lot of people that can make a giraffe look that good on a photo, VWD!

    At least you got some cats, now I hope Grant can bring some good news about the white lions.


  2. Thanks Grant...
    The story about the white lions is like a soapie! :-).

    Like your ele and buff shots.
    Let's hope we get some answers soon.


  3. Wonderful sighting today!

    Safari Maiden