Thursday, 7 July 2011

05th July – Bull Dust!

Photo of the Day
Morning Drive
(Chad, Godfrey and Colbert)
12 x lions (Machaton Pride – 3 lionesses and 9 cubs with giraffe kill) – Kings, Generator Crossing
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Sandy Crossing
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Mbali, Western Cutline
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Argyle, Sohebele River Rd West
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Western Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Southern Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari , Sharalumi Access

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Godfrey, Colbert and Herald)
2 x rhinos (2 male rhinos)
2 x breeding herds of elephants – Sohebele Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Western Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Woza-woza cutline
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Camp
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Wisani Crossing
8 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Trough Rd
3 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Dizzy Drive
1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Giraffe Pan
1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Ingwelala Cutline

Daily Synopsis
Tuesday morning started off cold and cloudy, just as the weatherman had predicted, and sadly it didn’t warm up much during the day, although the clouds did give way to a rather dim sky later in the day.
News from the bush was that the leopard kill near camp was finished, but Johannes did see Shongile in the area in the morning.  The elephant herds were still around and the guides found a couple around the lodge – although I strangely enough didn’t see a single elephant all drive!
Instead, the masses of elephants that I saw yesterday were replaced by masses of buffalo and I found two different breeding herds of buffalo during the morning.
The first was along western cutline, and it strangely had a collared buffalo in!  I was not even aware of any buffalo research in the area, and can only assume that the herd comes in from the Kruger National Park!

Buffalo herd on Western Cutline
Then as I headed south and saw some impalas, zebra and kudu, I also found a second herd of buffalos just leaving Hide Dam.


Buffalo herd with the spotted individual!
My reason for going south was to visit the Machaton Pride on their giraffe kill, so I slowly headed to see them and had some nice kudu bulls and giraffe down south.
The lions were fat bellied, but I guess that was no surprise!  The one older cub was lying in the riverbed looking ready to pop, but sadly he had a nasty wound on his nose.

Machaton cubs - fat bellied and nursing a bad cut on the nose!
The one mother had gone to a nearby camp waterhole to drink, but soon returned with the cubs in tow.

Mother lion returning from a drink
While watching the lions, some hooded vultures hobbled around looking for scraps.

Hooded vultures eating scraps
The cubs had a short playful spurt, but not their usual entertaining antics.  There was a bit of fighting at the kill, but sadly it was on the riverbank and in the long grass out of view to us.

Semi-playful Machaton Cubs
We left the lions and headed back north, enjoying coffee with a herd of giraffes at Elephant Dam.

Giraffe at Elephant Dam
On the way home we saw more giraffe and zebra, as well as the odd impala!  The two Timbavati male lions were tracked on foot to near Hide Dam where an even larger herd of buffalo had arrived, but the lions were sadly lost in the drainage line and never reappeared.
Elsewhere, the guides saw more buffalo and good elephants.
In the afternoon, I had a quiet drive, while Godfrey and Herold did a bit better.  Johannes had found two male rhinos, and Godfrey and Herold took their guests to see them, but the rest of us didn’t get over there.
A feature of the afternoon were all of the buffalo herds – no fewer that five large breeding herds of buffalo were found in the north during the course of the afternoon...and all I saw were three sightings of lone buffalo bulls!  Typical, well over 1000 buffalo around and I find cant even find 1 percent of them!
My drive included finding some more nice kudu bulls and a couple of sightings of elephant bulls near the lodge, in addition to the lone buffalo bulls on the Wedge.

Kudu and a couple of sightings of elephant bulls
There were tracks for both Shongile and Kuhanya leopardesses either side of the lodge, but we had luck with neither.  I made my way towards Sohebele Dam, where Godfrey had called in a large breeding herd of elephants at the water.
Arriving there in the late afternoon provided great light to watch their antics as they played around.

Playful elephants at Sohebele Dam
A second herd arrived and also drank before merging with the first herd.  As the sun started dipping, we carried on to see if we could maybe find those male lions after dark.

We saw a giraffe, impalas and a cold sun setting over a hazy sky.  It was a bit quiet, but sadly things didn’t change after dark, and despite someone hearing the lions near Hide Dam, we could not locate on them and eventually had to return to the north.
It was a bit of a quiet one then, but I like to blame the weather...what a wonderfully versatile excuse!
Hazy Sunset
The forecast for wind tomorrow does not sound promising, but we shall see what tomorrow decides to deliver!


  1. Lovely lion shots, and love the light in the elephant shots Chad.
    Love that kudu shot!!!
    The tracks should lead to some leopards soon my friend... Keep the faith :)


  2. Chad, Fabulous photos as always!

    Love the shots of the cubs. Looks like it was a good drive!

    aka Safari Maiden

  3. Lucky man to be in such a spot! It really works to put the link in Facebook and I always follow your work Peter Turner

  4. Florian Brombach7 July 2011 at 20:11

    Great pics again. Good to see that all Machaton cubs are still alive. Have you heard anything about Kuhanya? Haven't seen her for a while in the blog.