Monday, 20 June 2011

19th June: The Slump!

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Herold, Grant & Marka.)

Lion ( Skittish Pride) / Vielmieter – Blue Waxbill.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Karans – Twin Peaks.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – JayDee River Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Giraffe Kill.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Motswari – Motswari Southern Access.
Leopard ( Female) / JayDee – Confluence Crossing.

Afternoon Drive.

( Herold, Grant & Marka.)

Elephant ( 6 x Kambaku's) / Motswari – Motswari Wedge.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Old Mphisi Kaya.
Elephant ( 2 x Kambaku's) / Argyle – Hennie's Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Concrete Crossing.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Mbali – Elephant Crossing.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Sohobele Plains.
Lion ( 2 x Sohobele Males) / Peru – Sohobele Plains.
Leopard ( 2 x Cubs) / JayDee – Confluence Crossing.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Woza Woza Cutline.

Daily Synopsis.

Setting off in the dark we headed straight South hoping to follow up on Ntombela and perhaps catch the Skittish Pride while they still feeding and not hiding in the bushes. We left Herold and Marka in the North to follow up on the Sohobele's, see if they got lucky during the night.

Being somewhat of a cooler morning it appeared as if we were the only one's out and about. Reaching the South and not having seen much we decided to head to Lions first, if we did not get lucky with the cats themselves hopefully there would be other scavengers present. Approaching the sighting we saw the familiar behaviour of this pride and they all disappeared into the surrounding bushes, except for an old female that stayed at the now nearly finished carcass. She was chasing off a couple of jackals that were trying there luck in getting their paws on some left overs. Waiting patiently for any signs of them returning proved fruitless, they clearly must have fed throughout the night and were now content with sitting in the thick bush. We spent a fair amount of time watching a side striped and black backed jackal hovering in the area but they to eventually decided to move off.

With the colder weather it appeared the animals only got active once it warmed up but with a cold wind persisting the morning never warmed up on both the weather and wildlife front. The skittish female with two cubs was found with a Duiker kill alongside the Tsharalumi Riverbed but when approached both mom and daughter disappeared into the thick riverine vegetation, only the young male would make his way up and down the Weeping Boerbean to feed on the kill but this was never for long and by the time we arrived he had decided to follow his families example. Some of us did however get to see two spots and a tail, if that counts.

With an early check out and time running out we headed back to camp, you would think this would have encouraged the animals to make themselves visible but even that could not tempt them out and the drive back was a quiet one.

Our afternoon was a frustrating one as it appeared to be one of choosing the wrong roads or arriving at the wrong time. It got off to a good start with a nice herd of Elephant Bulls milling about in the Sohobele Riverbed but from there things went South for us.

We checked the North hoping to catch a worthy photographic subject during the golden hour and attempted to time our arrival at Sohobele Dam where a herd of Buffalo had spent the afternoon on the plains. They had been followed by two Sohobele Males who also now lay sleeping out on the plains awaiting the arrival of nightfall. We hoped to catch the Buffalo drinking in the late afternoon sun and if all things went to plan the Lions would rouse themselves around sunset and begin their task of hunting, unfortunately neither happened for us, arriving shortly after the Buffalo had finished drinking and had moved off and the Lions lay still comatosed out on the plain. Not even so much as acknowledging our arrival with an open eyelid.  

With nightfall we switched to looking for Leopard but again we were in the wrong place at the wrong time, as Leopard were found but no where near us. They found Mbali on Java Airstrip for a second time in two nights, she was once again hunting Impala drawn to the open area of the airstrip. So we stand under correction for the night before, it was Mbali and not Ntombela.

Trying our luck once more with the Porcupine we arrived to find no Elephant that could possibly disturb them, unfortunately we also found no Porcupine.

So although the day appeared to be filled with lots of sightings they were more quantity than quality. Lets hope my last drive in the morning makes up for our disappointing day.


  1. What has happened to the third Sohebele male?

  2. We are not a hundred percent sure where the third Sohobele is, when they arrived in the area their were only two but they were heard calling the night before. Maybe they were trying to contact one another after becoming split during a hunt. When we last saw them at the end of last month they were all together. It is strange that they have not all reunited by now, but possibly he has stayed in the East, where they now spend the majority of their time in Kruger. We will keep you posted though should we find out anything more.