Saturday, 18 June 2011

17th June: Warming Up.

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Johannes, Grant & Marka.)
Lion ( Sohobele Males.) / Peru – Broken Dam.
Lion ( Machaton Females & Cubs.) / Umlani – Umlani Bush Breakfast.
Elephant ( Kambaku.) / Mbali – Buffalo Kill.
Elephant ( Kambaku's.) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd.) / Peru – Giraffe Kill.

Afternoon Drive.

( Johannes, Grant, Marka & Herold.)

Lion ( Sohobele Males.) / Peru – Broken Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd.) / Argyle – Old Mphisi Kaya.
Leopard ( Gajima Male.) / Argyle – Argyle Dam.

Daily Synopsis.

Heading out we were looking to make amends for our poor Leopard sighting the previous evening and once again fancied our chances in the North, so we searched around Motswari before heading to the West where Mbali had been the evening before. Along the way we had some nice bird sightings of a Spoonbill, Pied Kingfishers and two Hamerkop's educating us in the art of how they hunt. They appear to wade through the shallows disturbing the floor bed with their feet which they shuffle back and forth and when something flees they quickly dart in with their bill and snap it up as fast as lightening.  

While on our birding expedition, Johannes found tracks for a herd of Buffalo that appeared to be running from something. On further investigation, who else would he find, but two Sohobele Males with a Buffalo calf kill down in the Sohobele Riverbed, not far from where we had been driving the evening before, so they must have been in the area.

Not having much luck ourselves and being once again on the opposite end of the world from where we should have been, we received an invitation to head South for the Machaton Pride who had been found resting in a riverbed themselves, having finished off a Buffalo they had been feeding on over the last few days. Hearing that not many stations were responding in the South and a fair amount of interest was being expressed in the Sohobele sighting we chose to head South.

Our long trip South was intermittently paused with nice sightings of a mixed herd of Kudu and a couple of Giraffe.

Arriving at the sighting we were the last to go in and were able to spend a fair amount of time with the pride as they slept off their indigestion in the shade of the riverbank out on the sand. As the sun slowly climbed in the sky we would get moments of movement as the cubs would seek the shelter of the shade. We watched as they all uncomfortably would wriggle around trying to get comfortable around their bursting bellies. One cub always standing out, I guess being the only female of nine cubs she is a little out numbered and her brothers are all a little bigger than her. As all her brothers slept she would take the opportunity to sneak up to her mom and try and suckle, but the moment any other cubs showed any interest mom would irritatedly move off. The little lady would wait patiently till her brothers would settle and again sneak off to mom to feed. This is where we eventually left them as our stomachs were beginning to try communicate to the Lions with low growls emanating from around the vehicle.

So our afternoons mission was to find our little friends with spots and hopefully before night fall on this occasion. Heading out of camp we heard of a particular large herd of Elephant that had been found not far away, so before getting into our mission we popped off to visit my all time favourites. When we arrived at the sighting we were not to be disappointed and the herd was spread throughout the bush, they appeared to be everywhere. With the sun at our backs we manoeuvred our way around the outside of them to place ourselves in front of them so they could get accustomed to our presence and they could dictate the spacial difference between us, so should THEY wish they could approach right to the side of the vehicle. It was not long before they enveloped the entire vehicle and we found ourselves sitting smack, dead, bang, in the middle of the herd. You have to love our Elephants, they are so relaxed and went about there business of feeding without even acknowledging our presence. It was a great herd to be in amongst with a nice variety of ages, from small calves to old matriarchs, there were also a couple of very relaxed Elephant bulls. If it were not for other stations responding we would have spent the entire afternoon with them but I guess our hour was not bad.

Having not visited the Sohobeles in the morning and always wanting to visit old friends we headed in their direction. They had killed a young Buffalo that they were feeding on when we arrived, unfortunately they were in a very bad spot for viewing and you could only see their backs as they fed in between a thick cluster of reeds and the dam wall itself. It was however good to see them and that they are now able to successfully hunt Buffalo.

Getting back to the business at hand we once again scoured Motswari property for our resident Leopards but came up empty handed, only finding a Civet as a consolation. As Murphy would have it while unloading at reception Marka radioed in that he had found a male Leopard at Argyle Dam, where was he when we were there on the two occasions earlier!   


  1. Timing!!! Bad luck Grant.
    Great lion and elephant sightings though. I guess the presure is on! Old Chad raised the bar for you :)


  2. I want to ask you if Schobele male lions were all 3 togheter . In photo we find only 2 - what happend with third ?