Tuesday, 21 June 2011

20th June: Finishing Strong!

Pic's of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Herold, Grant & Marka.)

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Wisani Crossing.
Elephant ( Kumbaku) / Motswari – Motswari Bushcamp.
Elephant ( 2 x Kambaku's) / Peru – Woza Woza Cutline.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Motswari Wedge.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Karans – Old Closed Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Peru Dam.
Lion ( 2 x Sohobele Males) / Peru – Peru Dam.
Lion ( 8 x Skittish Pride) / JayDee – JayDee River Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Marka.)

Lion ( Machaton Pride, 3 x Females & 9 x Cubs.) / Tanda Tula – Giraffe Plains.
Leopard ( Rockfig Jnr.) / Tanda Tula – Giraffe Plains.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Kings – Cheetah Plains.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari Northern Access.
Elephant ( 6 x Kambaku's) / Motswari – Motswari Wedge.

Daily Synopsis.

Ladies and Gentleman, Herolds magic is back! Both Marka and myself got an earlier start than Herold and went about checking the North. I concentrated around Motswari, while Marka made his way back towards Sohobele Plains to follow up on the herd of Buffalo and the Sohobele Males that were following them, see if they finally had any luck.

Hearing Herold come on drive it was not more than five minutes before he contacted us to let us know that he had found Kuhanya up on some rocks to the North East of camp. Still looking for a suitable photographic subject we did not hesitate in responding, it looked like we would also time the lighting with the sun slowly rising above the horizon bathing the bush in a golden glow. Not being very far we arrived as she made her way through the riverbed to the West in front of the lodge. Being first thing in the morning she was still on the prowl and every so often something would grab her attention that she would run off to, to investigate further. On one of these occasions she ran round a bush and surprised both herself and a Duiker, coming unintentionally within metres of it. Lucky for the Duiker, Kuhanya was as surprised and hesitated giving it that vital second to escape. She proceeded on her way marking her territory and progressively led us into thicker and thicker vegetation. It was here that she surprised herself yet again and us on this occasion, as we both nearly rear ended a lone Buffalo Bull who was making his way through the riverbanks thick vegetation. With a number of other stations waiting by we made way so others could get a view.

While we all had been busy with Kuhanya, Herold hade moved on to where the other stations had left off following up on the Buffalo and Sohobele's and before anyone could get back to give him a hand in following up he had found both the Lions and the Buffalo. The Sohobele Males were once again following behind the herd waiting for any oppurtunity, but when the herd stopped to drink and rest at Peru Dam, the Lions took shelter in some nearby Mopane shrub.

Having been there and done that the evening before we decided to head to the East, see if we could find one of the Zebra Herds that frequent the plains, catch them in the long grass and morning light. We found our Zebra but they were off in the distance and the best view of them was into the sun, so not perfect for photography.

We turned back to the South West and headed for the Tsharalumi River in the hope of finding one of the many breeding herds that have been spending time feeding on the lush green vegetation of the riverbed. On arriving at the riverbed we decided to take coffee at a spot called Leopard Rock Hide, a beautiful spot overlooking the riverbed with a small pool in amongst the reeds down below. While walking to the rocks, we spotted a Lion on the far bank that was slowly slinking off to the West and out of the riverbed on the opposite bank. Looking closer we found another four Lions making their way away from the riverbed sand next to the pool and a further three Lions on the far bank. They did not run but merely walked off into the cover of the bush on the opposite bank, I've seen them hide faster from the approach of a vehicle and in comparison they appeared relaxed. Well at least we know where they got to after finishing their Buffalo kill from the previous night. It would be really great if this pride settled in our area and we could get them to relax around the vehicles and trust us. At the moment it's going to take a lot of work.

Finishing off coffee we followed the Tsharalumi back to the North but our Elephant proved elusive, so with time in hand we decided to give the Sohobele's a second chance. They were now following the Buffalo along the Tsharalumi to the South. As we approached the sighting the majority of the herd was drinking from the river before they started to cross in a long line that resembled the Wildebeest crossing the Mara, a great sighting in itself. A station on the opposite bank informed us that the Lions were making their way along a drainage line not fifty metres away. As the majority of the Buffalo were in the river the Lions popped their heads above the grass and had a look about there face's that conveyed, “ WHAT NOW.” Breaking their cover encouraged the herd to run across the water, except a few Dagha Boy straglers who the Lions made a half hearted attempt at, but all a little to late. The setting of the river, the Buffalo and the Lion made for a great sighting and we could not have asked for a better way to finish off our driving spell.

I will be heading on leave on Wednesday from were Chad will be taking over the blog. Not being on drive the next couple of days we will keep you posted with the sightings update as well as recount the adventures of Marka and Herold.

Marka headed South for the afternoon to go and visit the Machaton females with all their cubs, if this sighting was not special enough, Rockfig Jnr appeared on scene and began stalking the cubs! Not to worry ladies and gentleman neither the cubs or she came to any harm. Maybe she entertained the thought as revenge for the loss of her son to this pride many months ago, or she was just doing what comes natural to her!

Best you keep up with the blog for the many adventures that I'm sure are to follow.


  1. How amazing to see the Sohobele males attempting to hunt. They're looking really beautiful, but where is the third one?

  2. Jip, agree with Tammy, they do look beautiful.
    And so does Kuhanya :)
    Must have been great to see Rockfig Jnr stalking the cubs!
    Enjoy your leave Grant!


  3. Fantastic photos, fantastic drive(s). Love the Bull scrummage in the water!!! Kuhanya looked like she was mourning her dead tree.

  4. Besides the lions, the buffalo photos are great. Super gamedrives!