Sunday, 27 March 2011

26th March – Lion Kings!

Photo of the Day

Eye's forward - Umbabat male lions on a mission!
Morning Drive
(Chad, Marka and Elliot)
2 x wild dogs – Kings, King’s Camp Waterhole
2 x male lions (Umbabat/Jacaranda Males) – Karan’s, Twin Peaks
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female with duiker kill) – Motswari, Reception Link
1 x leopard (Machaton Male) – Java, Western Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Sohebele Dam
1 x buffalo bull – Karan’s, Karan’s Airstrip

Afternoon Drive
(Marka, Elliot and Johannes)
2 x male lions (Umbabat/Jacaranda Males) – Karan’s, Twin Peaks
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female with duiker kill) – Motswari, Reception Link
1 x leopard (Java Dam female) – Mbali, Western Cutline
6 x rhinos (unknown composition)
2 x rhinos (1 x female and sub-adult)
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Scholtz, Kudu Pan
3 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Scholtz, Kudu Pan
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Camp

Daily Synopsis
Despite the inclement weather when we woke up, the fact that we also woke up to the amazing sound of two male lions roaring near camp indicated that it was going to be a good day!
Petros and I set off a bit early and soon found tracks for the two Umbabat male lions, and began following up as the first wave of drizzle arrived; it was almost a race against the clock, as this ran would ruin the tracks if it continued!
Fortunately for us, lady luck was on our side and it didn’t take too long to catch up with the males when we found them resting just off the road.  They soon got up and we followed them for a while until the settled down for the day as the rain started to fall again. 

Lion Kings!
It was really great to see how relaxed they are getting with the vehicles; the older of the males is super-chilled and pays no attention to us, but even the usually-shy male wandered only a few metres past our vehicle at one stage!

The 'shy one' - becoming more used to land rovers?
We got a bit excited when a buffalo bull came walking within 60m of where they were sleeping, but they didn’t make an effort and remained there for the rest of the day.
Kuhanya leopardess was spotted by Marka around the camp car park, and she soon returned to her kill, now identified as a duiker, that she had take up a tree about 300m from the lodge.  When I arrived, she had moved trees and was sleeping in a nice knobthorn, which delighted my guests as they had been waiting 9-days to see a leopard in a tree!  Sadly, the weather was not great for photos, but we still got a couple of nice shots, and it is always great to see this beautiful leopard!

Kuhanya relaxing up a tree
My guests checked out early, so the majority of my drive was split between those two sightings, but Elliot went south and got lucky enough to have a brief sighting of two wild dogs that had been located just south of Double Highway.  En route to the wild dogs, he also got to see the impressive Machaton Male leopard stalking some impala.  As he is not the most relaxed of our leopards, Elliot didn’t put pressure on him and let him hunt in peace.
I also missed the afternoon game drive as my guests arrived late (just as well as I was ‘man down’ with a bug), but after hearing what everyone saw, I really wished I had been out there!
Besides the lions and Kuhanya from the morning, the big highlight of the afternoon were the rhino sightings; a crash of 6 as well as a mother and young not too far away!  Additionally, two other rhinos were reported further east, but Elliot suspects that they might have been two from the group of 6?
Elliot also got lucky and had a very nice sighting of Java Dam female leopard on his way home; both he and Tiyani commented on how relaxed she was!  That is great to hear; I haven’t seen her since I returned to Motswari, but on both occasions when she has been found, it sounds as though she has become a lot more accustomed to vehicles since I left in 2009? 
Besides those sightings, there were also sightings of elephant and buffalo herds, fair general game, but best of all was Marka’s sighting of a mother and baby honey badger in the morning!  The inquisitive youngster kept wanting to come up to the land rover, much to mom’s dismay!  Eventually she couldn’t take it anymore and ran in and grabbed the cub and dragged it off by the neck!
I have uploaded the video clip that Marka took – the first few seconds are a bit unclear, but it is well worth watching for the rest of it! 



  1. Big sighting of a mother and baby honey badger !
    Very rare !
    Thank's for sharing.

  2. Gorgeous, precious sighting and one very unhappy mother who has no doubt dished out a tongue lashing of note!

  3. From their battle scarred faces, those two lions make a 'mean' team. The look perfectly nuts.

    Talk about being taken to the whipping shed!!! That little guy or doll got skunked.

    Lovely trip, thank you.