Saturday, 19 March 2011

18th March – Still following Herald!

Photo of the Day
Kuhanya female leopard - back to her happy self!
Morning Drive
(Herald, Grant and Chad)
3 x lions (Mahlathini males) – Java, Java Dam Access
1 x leopard (Kuhanya – killed guineafowl) – Motswari, Soccer Field
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Motswari, Wedge River Rd
5 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Trade Entrance Pan
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Bush Braai Rd
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Long Rd
1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Wedge River Rd

Afternoon Drive
(Herald, Grant and Chad)
3 x lions (Mahlathini males) – Java, Java Dam
1 x leopard (Kuhanya with warthog kill) – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd North
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Motswari, Hanger Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Vielmetter, Back 9’s West
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Vielmetter, Back 9’s East
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Motswari, Camp
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Mbali, Western Cutline
2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam
2 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Western Cutline/Malongo Rd
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Western Cutline/Twin Peaks
1 x buffalo bull – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Trough

Daily Synopsis
Well, true to form, it was a ‘follow Herald’ day!  Although, admittedly it was me who found the first sighting of the day...okay, Herald told me where to check, but still!
With the monkeys alarm calling like mad near camp, we knew that there was a leopard around, so went to investigate at the start of drive.  Herald soon found very fresh tracks walking along the drainage line to the west of camp, and seeing as the francolins were still sting in the trees, he knew he had just missed the leopard.  He told me to check the soccer field, so I went and scanned the drainage line adjacent to the field, when I heard the squirrels chattering up ahead.  So I went and parked at the northern end of the field, and not 30 seconds later Kuhanya emerged from the mopane and onto the soccer field!
Kuhanya on the soccer field!
We followed her as she headed to the old bush camp site, and I decided to let Grant come join Herald in case they lost her, but left at the wrong time!  A couple minutes after I left she killed a guineafowl and sat eating it in the grass! 
I checked to the west, and had a relatively quiet morning; not a great deal about – hippos, crocodiles, impala, waterbuck, some nice birds, but no giraffe which I was seeking!  I was then told of a herd of elephants not far from Motswari, so made my way back there to see them resting in the shade north of the lodge. 
Two young Nile Crocdiles

Waterbuck calf
There were a few other elephant bulls around camp, as well as a buffalo bull, and the three Mahlathini male lions were found not too far from  Java Dam sleeping off their fat bellies.

A breeding herd of elephants with Grant and some of our loyal repeat guests (Tammy and Jeff) in the background
The afternoon was another good one, but I was in need of giraffe, so went south to search for them as they seemingly all went away for the long weekend!  Herald and Grant followed up on Kuhanya female leopard as they both had new guests, but where Grant came up empty handed, Herald found tracks and followed them to a site where he found that Kuhanya had killed yet another young warthog!  It wasn’t a great sighting of her in the thick vegetation of the drainage line, but luckily she did take the kill into the safety of a leadwood tree later in the evening.
After some warthogs (living ones!), kudu, impala, buffalo bulls in Xinatsi Dam and some baboons, I went to check on those male lions, and found all three of them sleeping in the shade at the edge of Java Dam.

Buffalo bull at Xinatsi Dam

Mahlathini male lions at Java Dam
In the north, Herald then found a large herd of elephants near Motswari airstrip, and was joined by Grant, then some buffalo bulls, and was joined by Grant, and then to the lions, and was, you guessed it, joined by Grant!  Seems as though Herald has an Irish Shadow!
I headed further south and found a couple of herds of zebra, nice impala, another buffalo bull in the mud, and two nice herds of elephant between Hide Dam and Entrance Dam. 
A real 'dagga boy' moving through the bushveld
After a nice sundowner with a storm brewing in the south, I headed back to the lodge, finding another two sightings of buffalo bulls, and the end of a breeding herd of buffalo crossing into Mbali.  I didn’t go see Kuhanya, as I will save that sighting for the morning.
To wrap things up, a breeding herd of elephants spent much of the night feeding in front of camp, and that was a great way to end off another enjoyable day at Motswari.


  1. The Mahlathini males look indeed very fat. I absolutely loved the pictures of the two males with one resting his head on the other.

  2. There am I trying to convince myself that I really don't need to visit the bush again this year but with pictures like these I think I lost!!. I need to start planning a spring visit (autumn for me)

    sue UK

  3. Great great drive. Thanks
    Has lady Kuhanja now got a tramp in tow? I hope so. Water buck perfect for target practice.. they should never turn their behinds to the camera!!