Monday, 11 July 2011

08th July – Rockfig Hyenas with young Buffalo Kill!

Photo of the Day

Young elephant bull on Piva Plains
Morning Drive
(Chad, Godfrey, Grant, Marka and Colbert)
12 x lions (Machaton Pride – 3 lionesses and 9 cubs) – Kings, Nyati Pools
1 x leopard (Argyle Male with impala kill) – Argyle, Argyle Airstrip
2 x rhino
7 x hyenas (Rockfig clan with baby buffalo kill) – Karans, Mamba Drive
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Scholtz, Mananga Cutline
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Fish Eagles Nest Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Mongova Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Umbabat Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Pan Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Camp

Afternoon Drive
(Grant, Godfrey, Marka and Colbert)
1 x Leopard (Shongile) – Argyle, Horizon Rd.
1 x Leopard (Nthosmbi’s boy) – Vielmetter, Lower River Rd.
1 x Leopard (unidentified leopard) – Motswari, Camp
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Ingwelala Boundary
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Sharalumi Crossing

Daily Synopsis
Surprise, surprise!  It was cold again this morning, but considerably more pleasant than yesterday!  It was my last drive before getting a day without guests, and it was a good way to end off.

It started with impalas and some giraffe before getting audio of some elephants near Piva Plains.  There we found some lone elephant bulls in the riverbed as well as some young bulls moving towards a large breeding herd that was feeding in the woodlands to the north.

There were probably close to 80-100 elephants within a 2km area, and I spotted at least four different breeding herds of elephants in that immediate vicinity; all of them very relaxed and providing great sightings. 
My favourite was one of the teenage males that was clearly on something!  He ran around trumpeting and smashing up trees, chasing imaginary enemies and even the poor, harmless starlings were on the receiving end of his wrath as he trumpeted his way off into the distance!

I then decided to head south, hoping that the Machaton lions would pop up as their tracks had been seen on Vielmetter.  Although Argyle male was still at his kill, only our guides that hadn’t seen him yesterday afternoon went to visit him.

Going south didn’t produce much more than a few more giraffes, waterbuck, baboons, impala and kudus. 
We also got to see some nice dwarf and banded mongooses.

Dwarf and banded mongooses
I stopped for a drink at Entrance Dam before hearing that the lions had been located while one of the King’s guides were following two young male rhinos, and he had kindly invited us to go and see them.  Moving off in that direction, we enjoyed a sighting of some nice and big elephant bulls and a gorgeous lilac-breasted roller.

Kudus at Entrance Dam, elephant bull and a gorgeous lilac-breasted roller
As Godfrey was with the lions, I decided to go and spend a bit of time with the two rhinos to give him a chance to finish off there first.  The rhinos were some that have been seen for a while, but it was my first time to see them, and they appeared reasonably relaxed in the windy weather, but I didn’t go much close than 25m.  When they walked off, I left them to it and went to see the lions.

Two male white rhinos
As it was already late in the morning, I wasn't expecting a great deal of action, and well, I guess I didn’t get it! Unfortunately only a few of the cubs roused, but it was still nice to just see all of them out in the open.

Machaton Pride resting in the open
The one cub moved over to mom and gave her a head rub before starting to groom her, and it worked, as she soon rolled over and allowed two of the cubs to suckle.

After drinking milk, a few of the cubs walked over to a shady spot provided by a lone shrub in the middle of the Nhlaralumi riverbed, and they went to rest there, and we left them to it and made our way back north.

Grant probably had one of the best sightings of the morning when he followed up on the large herd of buffalos, hoping that the Sohebele male had managed to kill one.  He did find where one buffalo calf had been killed, but it wasn't by who he had expected!  No, it was not a lion, but rather seven hyenas of the Rockfig hyena clan that were polishing off the remains of one of the buffalo calves.  As there were no lion tracks in the area, we can only assume that they managed to successfully hunt it down themselves!
I wasn't on drive in the afternoon, but looking at Grant’s sightings list, they appear to have had a good afternoon, especially on the leopard front.  Both Shongile and Nthombi’s boy were seen on drive, and then some guests were luck enough to see a leopard in the camp on their way to the boma.
I will be back on drive on Sunday morning, but will keep everyone posted about tomorrow’s happenings!
Have a great weekend!


  1. Lilac breasted roller- may favourite birds!

  2. Just another fantastic day!!