Thursday, 17 March 2011

17th March – Herald the Great

Photo of the Day
Mahlathini male drinking at Java Dam
Morning Drive
(Herald and Chad)
3 x lions (Mahlathini males on buffalo kill) – Karans, Western Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Argyle, Ingwelala Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Mfene Crossing
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Southern Access
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Wild West North
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Madash Dam

Afternoon Drive
(Herald, Chad and Grant)
1 x lion (Mahlathini male on buffalo kill) – Karans, Western Cutline
2 x lions (Mahlathini males) – Java, Java Dam
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female) – Motswari, Car Park
1 x rhino (Ngandaganda male)
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Scholtz, River Rd
1 x buffalo bull – Mbali, Woza-woza cutline
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Giraffe Kill Lookout
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Giraffe Kill Rd
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Mbali River Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Motswari, Southern Access
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Karans, Majambi Dam
4 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Camp (Elephant Pan)
1 x elephant bull – Jaydee, Makulu Dam

Daily Synopsis
St Patricks day brought with it the luck of the Irish; or the luck of Herald if you prefer?  The morning was not an overly busy one, with only 4 or 5 land rovers in the whole northern section of the Timbavati.  It still produced sightings of the three extremely fat Mahlathini male lions that were resting next to their buffalo kill, a couple of breeding herds of elephant, buffalo bull, and some fair general game including nyala, bushbuck, waterbuck, warthog, impala, steenbok and zebra.  There were also tracks found for two crashes of rhinos, but both lots crossed out of the Timbavati.
Fat Mahlahtini male lions!
Female warthog
The afternoon saw a few more vehicles out and about, including from the lodge, but we all should just have followed Herald!
He was taking it easy in the east, but it turned out to be a great afternoon for him and his guests.  I was watching 4 elephant bulls near camp when Herald radioed in a rhino moving across a large clearing in the east, and he spent some good time with him, having a seemingly great sighting for a relatively nervous rhino.  I got to see him, but he had moved into a mopane woodland, and wouldn’t let us get too close, even when we walked into him on foot.

After leaving him, Herald found a breeding herd of buffalo that I sadly didn’t manage to relocate.  Grant meanwhile seemed to be finding male buffalo around every corner – the only buffalo I saw was only about 1/5th of a buffalo that the lions had killed!
After the buffalo, Herald had a great sighting of a large breeding herd of elephants drinking at Majambi Dam near the Kruger National Park border.  Grant also had a herd of elephants near the camp when he returned to the lodge, but didn’t spend long with them as it was dark...and Herald had found a leopard!
Kuhanya was found sitting in the car park near reception and followed up to Wisani Trough where she almost ran into an elephant while chasing a scrub hare!  I arrived a bit late as I was watching two of the Mahlathini male lions having a drink at Java Dam while a few hyenas were munching on what was left of the carcass.  I am not too sure if the lions will bother to return considering how full they looked!  Kuhanya was pleasingly acting like her old and carefree-self, and didn't pay any attention to any of us, so hopefully her cheeky streak is over!

Mahlathini males drinking at Java Dam with a near-full moon rising

Hyenas scavenging off the lion's buffalo kill
Elsewhere, Marka and his Java guests had a fantastic sighting of the beautiful and young Vyeboom Dam male leopard sleeping on the rocks below Vyeboom Dam – Marka seemed quite taken aback by how relaxed he has become! 
Vyeboom Dam male on the rocks below Vyeboom Dam (Taken in February 2011)
Some other news was that Java Dam female leopard was seen near the Mahlathini males by one of the southern stations earlier I the afternoon – its good to know that this leopard is still around – she sounded reasonably relaxed with one vehicle, but moved off when a second station approached.
So after a good afternoon, we look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings!  I think I might just follow Herald around!!!


  1. That list was quite and afternoon game drive!

    The male lion photos at the water are just wonderful and the one lit with only the moon in portrait is amazing!

    Safari Maiden

  2. Thanks for the update Chad, Sounds like great drives and I hope the lions stick around for a while. Glad there are a lot of leopard activity also.

    Stunning photos of the male lions drinking, especially the one where both of them are looking up at you.
    Love the leopard shot on the rocks as well.


  3. Amazing gamedrives, amazing photo's. Super!

  4. Loved being out on this with you, Chad. Great shots -- they do the scene justice.


  5. Thanks everyone!

    @ Terry - glad you and your family enjoyed it - was a pleasure driving you all around! Trust the trip back home went well!

    All the best, adn hope to see you folks again next year!