Tuesday, 17 May 2011

16th May: Magic Moments.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Herald & Grant.)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / DeLuca – Drongo Drive.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / DeLuca – Drongo Drive.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Argyle – Rudi's Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Concrete Crossing.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Xinzele Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Herald & Grant.)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Seans Clearing.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Kings – Ridge Rd.
Lions ( Timbavati Males, Machaton Females & 4 x Cubs) / Kings – Ridge Rd.
Leopard ( Ntombi & Cub) / Kings – Mamba Drive.
Leopard ( Ximhungwe - Bataleur) / Motswari – Giraffe Pan.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Sohobele Plains.

Daily Synopsis.

After the epic afternoon of the day before Herald and myself were looking to fill in the gaps in the form of a breeding herd of Elephant, a breeding herd of Buffalo, and for Jacky and I a Leopard. Jacky and I headed to the North take a chance that the Lions that we have had calling the last five nights may have ventured South into our traversing. Herald checked around camp and it was not long before he found tracks for a breeding herd of Buffalo, which he followed up and found a little East of Motswari. Having checked the North with no luck, we headed back towards Heralds Buffalo which we viewed as they slowly woke from their nights rumination and got mobile.

Leaving them Herald found tracks for another herd of Buffalo which we both bumped into while trying to follow up on tracks for a male Leopard we had found, it appeared to be following the Buffalo. We did not spend long with the tracks as they turned North again and headed off into a region that should we find the Leopard on foot we would not be able to get a vehicle into the area. So we headed off fancying our chances with another Leopard elsewhere.

On our search we had heard of a breeding herd of Elephant that were not far off, so turning our attention we followed up to find a small group of young males that were feeding in a Mopane belt. Not quite what we looking for but nice none the less.

Returning from coffee we found another couple Elephant Bulls, a little bigger this time, drinking from a bridge we wanted to cross.

Having to change our course we stuck to the East of the Tsharalumi River, when we received a message that a station could hear a Leopard calling at a pan very nearby where we were. We decided to help and checked the surrounding roads but on this occasion we found a huge breeding herd of Elephant that once again distracted us from our Leopard search. The bush teemed with Elephant and conservetly I would say there were at least fifty plus Elephant of all shapes and sizes, it also include a number of Bulls, one of which was in musth, that we gave a wide berth.

Losing track of time, we spent a great deal of our morning with these gentle giants and we looked again it was time to head back to camp, I guess it was to be a morning of big game, lets hope this afternoon is one for the cats!

Herald and I were after Lion in the afternoon again having guests yet to see the King of the Jungle, having checked the North in the morning we new that we would have to head South where they had found the Timbavati Males, Machaton Females and the older four cubs. Kings once again extending us an invitation during our Lion drought in the North. Having the cubs with them we had to move quickly to the South as they would become a negative lock after dark, so bar running into a breeding herd of Buffalo we did not stop long for much else.  

While making our way there, we received news that the females had got mobile to the West but the Males and cubs had stayed behind choosing to sleep off the afternoons heat at the base of a grassed termite mound. Arriving we found them all still resting, well the large males that is, the cubs had become active and were playing around the mound.

We again received news that the females were now heading back in our direction, before they became visible to us we heard the distinctive contact call from the lionesses and with that all four cubs were up and off like a bolt of lightening in their mothers direction. The calls even raised the males from their apparent coma's but were not as fast in reacting but did sluggishly get mobile as well. We followed the cubs and could see them reunite with their mothers off in the distance, once all together they began roaring, we killed the engine to appreciate this iconic African sound, it was if they were trying to speed up the males, in turn they replied in a deep rumble, they were coming. It's an amazing experience to hear a Lion roar, the sound seems to vibrate right through your entire body and leaves you with chills. We continued to follow the females and their cubs as they made their way down the valley and into the riverbed, where they again took to resting out on the open sand. The males had followed partially but coming to the first open area they again took to resting themselves, clearly not quite ready for the nights activities.

We left them all at this point as we wanted to try squeeze in a visit with Ntombi and her cub, that were not far away on an Impala kill. With the kill being on the ground it too would become a negative lock after dark. On our way we received news that Ntombi had in fact left the kill and gone for water where she was left unattended. Knowing that she would head back to the kill we slowly made our way there, but as luck would have it we bumped her as she made her way out the riverbed. Following her she was heading in the direction of her kill but before getting there we bumped into her cub, who had been resting in some nearby shrubs and on seeing his mother he began to stalk her. Getting within pouncing distance he chased after his mother catching her and then proceeding to playfully fight with her.  

We sat there as long as we could watching their interaction, and from my last two visits to these Leopards, he is fast becoming one of my favourites! It was only when we made our way out of the sighting that we saw were they had dragged the Impala under some bushes about a hundred metres from where they now where.

Heading back to Motswari I received a cryptic message from Johannes asking me to guess where and what he was looking at. I replied I did not know, he gave me a clue that he was on Karans and that he was looking at three male Lions. Again he asked who he was looking at, to which I replied, Maghaltini's naturally, and it was about time they returned. He took great pleasure in informing me that I was wrong and that in fact he was with the three Sohobele Males.............................................
Bet like me you did not think you would hear those words! Working out that it had been nearly ten months since we've last seen them I enquired to their health and how they appeared, still not believing what I was hearing.

I was tempted to visit just to confirm for myself but time did not allow, I do know what Jacky and I'll be doing first thing tomorrow morning though!


    Great pictures and update Grant!!!


  2. Cannot wait to hear how the 3 males are doing!! WOW! Fingers crossed all is well :D.

  3. Unbelievable !!! It's a pleasant surprise to hear about this lion males ; hope to see some photos ... Maybe they became a powerful coalition !