Wednesday, 25 May 2011

22nd May – Expect the Unexpected!

Photo of the Day
Mafikizolo Pride cub on a buffalo kill

Morning Drive
(Chad, Johannes, Grant and Herald)
2 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride with buffalo kill) – Vielmetter, Nkhoro Rd
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – De Luca, Mpela-pela
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Java, Steep Sharalumi
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Machimba Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Makulu Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Java Old Airstrip

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Johannes, Grant and Herald)
7 x wild dogs – Kings, Van Wyk’s Crossing
12 x lions (Machaton Pride – 3 x lionesses, 9 x cubs) – Kings, Van Wyk’s Crossing
6 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride with buffalo kill) – Vielmetter, Nkhoro Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Mbali, Aardvark Rd

Daily Synopsis
Firstly, apologies for the delay in writing and posting these last couple of blogs!  Been a bit busy around the lodge, and even now, it’s past midnight, but what a great way to spend an evening with lions roaring near camp!
Got to wrack my brains to remember what happened on Sunday, must be an age thing!  The morning was a bit of a quiet one for all of us, as we all had early check outs, and thus didn’t venture too far from camp.  I had planned to head towards Buchner in search of rhino, but in the end stayed on our usual traversing area, seeing only the usual impala, warthogs (which I tried to photograph really badly in an attempt to make them look like rhinos – needless to say, it didn’t work in convincing anyone!), kudu and a nice time with the pod of hippos at Mbali Dam.  Only towards the end of my drive did I pick up rhino tracks going towards Mbali Dam, but my time was up adn I couldn’t follow up to locate the rhino. 
A herd of rhinos.....or at least my attempt to make a group of warthogs look like a crash of rhino!
What was found that was of interest was the Mafikizolo Pride of lions with a fresh buffalo kill down on Vielmetter.  Herald went to have a look, but after one of the lionesses charged his vehicle, he decided not to push matters any further, instead he enjoyed a herd of elephants and a herd of buffalo.  Grant and Johannes also spent time with some elephants near Sohebele Dam.
In the afternoon I took some new guests out for their first drive.  They were photographers and booked a vehicle for their own use, so we could take out time to stop and photograph what we wanted. 
I was in no particular rush, and took it easy, paying little attention to the other channel on the radio – the one that Herald and Grant were operating on when down south...and just was well, otherwise I would have been very jealous indeed!
They had gone south to see the Machaton Pride, and while watching them, they all ran off to the east, only to be relocated, but at about the same time, the pack of seven wild dogs popped up!  The story of what had happened slowly became clear when seeing one of the dogs with a fresh wound  -a very nasty gash on its side.  The wild dogs had clearly made a kill, and the commotion attracted the nearby lions that then ran in and attacked the pack of wild dogs, and stole the kill in the process!  While nobody witnessed that, when Grant eventually relocated the lions, they were all fighting over the remains of the impala, and from the sounds of it, it was some special sighting with a lot of fighting and growling – even from the tiny cubs – as they all fought for their share of the measly kill.
Despite all this excitement down south, I still had an enjoyable drive, with time spent with some nice kudus.

Following that, we stopped at Mbali Dam to enjoy the hippos and waterbirds.

Baboons, Green-backed heron, Saddle-billed stork, hippos and darter
From there, we carried on towards Makulu Dam for a sundowner stop, and also enjoyed some good general game in the area; including a lot of waterbuck, impala and some zebra.

Waterbuck and sundowners at Makulu Dam
After our drinks break, we headed towards the area where the Mafikizolo Pride of lions where on their buffalo kill.  It was my first time to see these lions, and I could see that there was indeed a lot of work to be done to get them relaxed!  Despite this, we still had a pretty good sighting, and gave the lions the space they needed, and got to see several of the lions around the kill.

Mafikizolo Pride at their kill
After leaving the one cub feeding on the buffalo, we went and found the largest of the young males – a good looking boy of about 4 years old, and not all that skittish.  After lying down, he rose again and disappeared into the bush, and we didn’t follow him.

Young Mafikizolo male lion
Heading back to camp for a delicious meal in the boma, we found an obliging spotted eagle owl, but not much else. 

Spotted eagle owl
Still, it made a great end to another enjoyable day at Motswari.

1 comment:

  1. Chad, have to say you got some special shots from the lions.