Saturday, 25 June 2011

23rd and 24th June – Mbali and Mafikizolo Pride with Kills

Photo of the Day
Sunset at Argyle Dam

23rd June - Morning Drive
10 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride with baby buffalo kill) – Argyle, Mangova Rd
1 x leopard (Mbali female with python kill) – Peru, Wilkins Way
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Argyle, Oppikoppie Rd

23rd June - Afternoon Drive
( Marka and Herald)
1 x leopard (Mbali female with python kill) – Peru, Wilkins Way
1 x leopard (Argyle Male) – Peru, Machimba Rd

24th June - Morning Drive
(Marka  and Herald)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Sohebele Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Vyeboom Dam
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Camp
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Argyle, Argyle Rd

24th June - Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Marka and Herald)
12 x lions (Machaton Pride – 3 x lionesses and 9 x cubs) – Umlani, Steelworks
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Trough Rd
3 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Crossing Below Argyle Dam
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Umlani, Marco’s Dam

Daily Synopsis
Hmmmm, could it be that my bad luck has returned?  The day before I came back onto drive sounded pretty good!  It started with Marka and his guests finding the Mafikizolo Pride with a baby buffalo kill not far from Argyle Dam – a long way north for this pride, and in an area where they have never been seen before!  It sounded to be a good sighting by the Mafikizolo’s standards, but later in the morning they all moved into the mopane thickets in that area.
Mbali was still in the same spot with her python kill, and had hung it up in a tree.  In the afternoon though, she had taken it down and was feeding on it on the ground – a nce sighting albeit not great for photos.  Argyle male leopard also showed himself when he was found near Argyle Dam and followed as he headed south.
Friday started with a lot of promise, and I awoke at 4h30 to the sound of lions roaring near the southern end of our airstrip, and assumed it would have been the Mafikizolo Pride member’s but when Marka followed up, it happened to be two large males, but sadly they had crossed off the property before they could be located.
I joined drive in the afternoons, and was a bit disappointed to hear that there were no “static” sightings to get us off the ground.  My guests arrived late, so I spent the afternoon looking for animals in the north while Marka and Herald went down south to follow up o the Machaton Pride down on Umlani.  My afternoon was not overly successful, but probably less frustrating than theirs.
While Herald was watching some impalas, they all started looking in the same direction and alarm calling.  Leopard for sure!  This was all but confirmed when his tracker pointed and said “Leopard!” off they went into the bush, and found the most beautiful sighting of a plastic bag you could ever hope to see!  Hahaha, yip, they had just spotted a piece of litter, most likely tossed into the bush by the troop of marauding baboons in that area.  They then proceeded to track the lions that had moved.  The trackers heard the lions just ahead of where they were on foot, and called in two guides, but neither of the guides could locate the lions.  Herald didn’t give up, but sadly found them too late, just as it was too dark to view them nicely without the spotlight, and as they had the cubs with them, they didn’t spend time with the lions.
They did see a nice big breeding herd of buffalo at Marco’s Dam though.
Buffalos at Sohebele Dam, tken on Wednesday 23rd June
In the north, I didn’t have a great deal of luck – some elephants in really thick bush, impala, bushbuck, kudus, and mongooses.

Impala ewes, ramsn, guineafowl and some kudus
Carrying on, we then found three elephant bulls having a bit of a spat near Argyle Dam. 

Large elephant bulls at Crossing Below Argyle
We closed for a sundowner at the Dam and enjoyed another wonderful end to a typical pleasant winter’s day and spent quite a bit of time photographing the sunset before continuing our search for the creatures of the night.  Sadly though, all we saw was a lone white-faced owl, and little else to speak of.

Sunset at Argyle Dam with Agnes, Sylvie and Petros
As I have some repeat guests to the lodge, Agnes and Sylvie, that come to Motswari primarily to photograph our wonderful leopards, I am praying that some of them decide to help us out tomorrow!
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Hamerkop Rd


  1. Nice sunset photos Chad. Love the kudu and impala shots as well.

    Hopefully you get some great shots of leopards with the guests, let's hope they show themselves (The leopards that is)... :)


  2. Very nice sunset for the first drive of Agnes and Sylvie.
    They recognize the pictures

    Good luck with the leopard.

    Gene and JP