Saturday, 23 July 2011

22nd July: Following Your Feelings.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Herald & Marka.)

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Dam.
Buffalo ( 2 x Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Wisani Crossing.
Buffalo ( 4 x Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Motswari Northern Access.
Lion ( White Lion Female) / DeLuca – Mpela Mpela Pan.
Afternoon Drive.

( Herald, Marka & Grant.)

Leopard ( Vyeboom Dam Male) / Motswari – Motswari wedge River Rd.
Lion ( 3 x Sohobele Males) / Karans – Kruger Cutline.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / DeLuca – Jackalberry Pan.
Rhino ( 4 x Crash)
Buffalo ( 4 x Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Giraffe Pan.

Daily Synopsis.

Not being on morning drive I can only recount what was passed on by Marka and Herald. It got off to a great start with the guests enjoying a sighting of Kuhanya from the verandah as they enjoyed their morning coffee before drive. She made her way on the opposite bank of the Sohobele River that runs in front of camp towards the dam wall where they lost view of her. Trying to relocate her on drive they were unsuccessful and it was if she had disappeared into thin air. Being in the area the guys headed to the North East where they found tracks for Lion which on following up they found, what Liana has semi confirmed, as one of the females from the White Pride. She was alone this time but had an extremely full belly. The guys believe that they may have killed a Buffalo across on Ingwelala judging from the tracks they had, she may have returned to the area in search of water.

Joining the guys for afternoon drive with new guests we were keen to follow up on the Lioness maybe catch her during light hours before she moved off. During my introductory talk I heard Herald call in that he had found Vyeboom Dam Male Leopard behind Motswari Dam and if I wanted to see him I should move as he was heading along the river into some very thick vegetation.
Having not far to go we were with Marka within minutes following Vyeboom Dam Male as he made his way along the riverbed. Not a bad way to start your first drive, thinking back on it, it was the first animal that I showed them, beating the usual Impala. It was only to get better cause as we followed him he charged into a group of Franklins, surprising them and catching one of them there in front of us. We followed him a little into some dense Mopane where he plucked the poor bird and began feeding. We stayed with him until he finished his appetiser and returned to walking the riverbed in search of dinner.

Leaving him we headed in the direction of where the guys left the Lioness in the morning, it came as no big surprise that she was not there but we thought we would give it a go. I guess when she got to the pan and found no water there was nothing to keep her in the area and she more than likely returned to the North to join the others. We turned back to the South in search of a sundowner spot and along the way we found Classic, one of our larger collared Bull Elephants, who we spent some quality time with before making our way for drinks.

Resuming after cocktails we decided to head to the East as the majority of the drives out were in the North West where they had found a crash of four Rhino and not far away they had a sighting of Mbali, a little busy for Jacky and I's liking. We half heartedly joked that we would head East, which truth be told is not the most productive area in the reserve, but we may get lucky with the Sohobele's, ha ha, what are the chances. We would win the Lotto first! Heading towards the Kruger boundary we found ourselves a Civet, which was a very nice sighting, and continuing to the East we found a Hyena at Majambi Dam. We spent some time following her before returning to the Kruger cutline. I was just thinking to myself that those two sightings were worth the trip. Heading North along the cutline something crossed the road some ways ahead of us, I asked Jacky to point the spot in its direction but we where out of range and it only picked up the reflections of the eyes. Accelerating forward, I asked Jacky what he thought it was, he answered Hyena, I said no, it was to big for Hyena. A second animal crossed the road and followed the first to the East, this time our light could make out the distinctive shape of Lion. Catching up we arrived as the THIRD Sohobele made his way across the road to join his brothers. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES! Had we spent a minute more, or less with the Hyena we would have never seen them. To find all three of them was like winning the lottery and it has been nearly a year since we have seen them all together. Chad I told you to have faith that the missing brother was still around! We followed them as they made their way East on an apparent mission. It was not long before we came across a herd of Impala that they began to stalk. We switched our spotlight to a red filter and kept the direct beam off predator and prey, thus not to disturb them and the outcome. Something very strange happened next, that I've never experienced and can't explain. The one Lion stopped stalking and turned his attention to the red beam, he slowly approached the vehicle which must have nearly been a hundred metres away and began stalking us, as he got closer and closer his stalking intensified until he was in the crouch position a mere ten metres away. Jacky quickly removed the filter at which point it appeared that he recognised us and that we were not prey and he stood and walked behind the vehicle. During all of this the other two had also turned their attention in our direction, as if following the lead of the individual male. As I mentioned this has never occurred before and I'm not quite sure of what to make of it. It could have been that the red light highlighted our movement on the vehicle but not enough to identify us as non prey. It would have been interesting to see what their reaction would have been should we have sat in the dark with no light. Having had the opposite effect of what we intended we left the area so that they may hunt undisturbed.

Once again a great drive was to be had within ten kilometres of the lodge and a wonder if our guests realise just how lucky they were and that this does not happen everyday. Well lets see what tomorrow brings.


  1. What amazing news!!!! so glad to hear that he is alive and well...will have to see for myself though! wonder where on earth he has been for the last 2 months?

    there was a report of the two jacaranda males hanging out with a young male, wonder if it could have been him?

    and are you still thinking that the lioness is part of the Xakubasa Pride? i tried to compare photos with my ID kits, but the resolution is too low from the blog...will check when i get back on tuesday!

    enjoy the weekend and all the game that you are bound to see!!!!



  2. How exciting, what an experience to be the focus of the Sohobele lion. How did your guests respond!?? Adrenalin at its highest, I'd say!

  3. As a guest in the back of the landrover on this trip, it was very exciting but confusing as I did not understand at that time, the privilege of seeing the 3 Lions. However when one started too crawled towards us, with a total focus, I suddenly was unsure what was happening, as it seems it was stalking us. I did not know what I would do if it came on to the Landrover, and so much so that I did not take any footage. Only when Grant shined the white light on us all, did the Lion gave us the look "you should know better" and strolled off.
    Fantastic and a privilege, to be here. To think we almost did the self drive at Kruger, and without the expertise of 2 great talented men who showed us their world, we would have seen a fraction as we have, and understood even less, of this wonderful world at Motswari.

  4. WOW, great drive Grant...
    Glad the 3 Males are back together... Also wondering where the one was for the past few months!!!
    Great to see Kuhanya was spotted as well.
    And the stalk must have been awesome to witness even though you were the pray :-)


  5. I'm so happy that the 3 Sohobele males are back together again!