Monday, 25 July 2011

24th July: White Gold!

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Herald, Marka & Grant)

Lion ( 4 x White Lions) / Peru – Long Rd.
Leopard ( Mbali) / Peru – Bulala Rd.
Leopard ( Gijima Male) / Peru – Tawny Eagle Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Java Airstrip.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Scholtz – Kudu Pan Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Herald, Marka & Grant)

Leopard ( Mbali) / Argyle – Mongova Rd.
Rhino ( 4 x Crash)
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Confluence Crossing.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Impala Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Java/ Mbali Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Mbali Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Dizzy Drive.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Vielmieter – Hide Dam.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Mots Southern Access.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Leopard Rock Hide.

Daily Synopsis.

Could things get better than the last couple days, hmm........... I don't think so. These were my thoughts heading out this morning, but our morning was to be an easy one as we were after Buffalo, preferably a breeding herd. Checking Motswari's airstrip we were hoping to get lucky with some of the resident Hyena that we heard shortly calling from that direction before setting out. Coming up empty handed we slowly headed towards the Sohobele River check along it's course to the East before we headed South. Along the way we received news of Lion tracks heading our way, offering to help, we checked the Eastern Side of the river while another station checked the Western side. As we both travelled along we became aware of many Hyena's in the area and switching off the vehicle we became aware of their excited giggles, something was up, and we were not far from it. Restarting it was not long before the station on the opposite bank shouted down the radio that he could see Lions in the riverbed. At about the same time two of these Lions came running out of the bush in hot pursuit of a Hyena, these were not your ordinary Lions. As there before us stood two adolescent lions, one male, one female, one tawny, one white! Our pride had returned and they had killed something in the riverbed. It was not as big a surprise as you would think, as Liana and I had been half expecting them to pop up in search of the missing female who we had mating with the Maghlatini Male a few days earlier.

We struggled to get into the sighting and from every angle you could see very little as they had killed what we later identified as a Dagha Mafasi, a lone female Buffalo, in the thick reeds in the riverbed, which you could not access as there is still deep pools of water. It was somewhat of a frustrating sighting to say the least and we only obtained partial visuals of one of the white youngsters and the one adult female. We are still unsure if the other female has joined them as nobody got a clear view of them all together but as it stands it does not look like it. Which means that it was the lone female and her cubs, or should I now say young Lions, that brought down a fully grown female Buffalo. No easy task and proof of what great hunters they have become thanks to their respective moms!

While eking out a peak we heard a Leopard calling nearby and when we left the area we headed in the direction of the calls, try our luck. Clearly she was on our side and we found the large male Leopard, Gijima, making his way along a drainage line. Keeping our distance he was very relaxed and paid no attention to us as he continued about his business. Having had a good sighting of him we were not that upset when he gave us the slip. It also meant we could return to our mornings mission, Buffalo, as the dead one apparently did not count.

Hearing that they had a breeding herd around Java we headed in their direction. Where our luck continued finding them out on the airstrip. We spent time with them as they milled about in the open, apparently absorbing the mornings rays. They slowly moved off into the surrounding bush to continue with their feeding. We took this as our cue to depart in search of our coffee stop.

We headed to the East in the hope of finding our other wanted, Zebra, but found another Buffalo herd instead. I guess something to find this afternoon, along with a nice breeding herd of Elephant.

Herald and Marka once again both had themselves a great drive. They too visited the Lions and then popped in to visit Mbali, who also had been located not far away. With them both having early check outs they returned to camp very satisfied.

We had one of those afternoons that anything we looked at turned to gold. With no major intentions for the afternoon but find Hippo and a breeding herd of Elephant we prepared ourselves for a stress free chilled drive. We head to the Tsharalumi our go to road in the afternoon when looking for Elephant. Along the way we stopped to watch a particular large female Warthog feed. Spending time with her, one of my guests from the back seat casually called out, Leopard, to which I responded, No Warthog, at which she said no off the front of the vehicle there was a Leopard. Turning our heads there in front of us stood Mbali mere metres from the car, she approached closer as if to check out what we were looking at. When she noticed the Warthog she evaluated her chances, which looked like it went to and fro a couple of times, and defiantly needed a closer inspection. Eventually deciding that it was a little more than she could handle she hung out with us apparently enjoying the company.

With us on the search for our Elephant we continued on to the river, once again being delayed by a stop at Mbali Dam to view the once often Hippo's that collected at the dam wall. Having no luck there we continued South along the rivers course. Finding a nice herd of bull Giraffes we sat a while and again while with them a voice from the depths of the vehicle piped up, Rhino. Have I not taught my guests anything! Apparently the answer to that is a NO, they have learnt to look beyond what is right out in front of them, as there enough stood four Rhino on the opposite side of a large drainage line. Having had a good sighting of these same four Rhino the day before and running out of light we did not spend much time with them.

We did not have to travel far though, as when we joined the river once again we noticed a couple of adult bull Elephant in the riverbed below. On further inspection we found that they were in fact the back of a breeding herd of Elephant that we caught up with on the opposite bank. Immersing ourselves in the centre of the herd we effectively became a herd member and we spent the rest of our afternoon with these magnificent creatures. Two youngsters put on quite the show for us as they play fought and there seemed no end to their energy for their game, running about chasing one another in amongst the herd. Having found what we wanted and so much more we headed off to Mbali Dam for sundowners.


  1. WOW Grant... Great day. I am so GLAD the white lions are back, let's hope they stay this time!
    Man, it helps having guests that is at least checking what is going on around them :-)
    Lovely photos Grant.


  2. Whoever is doing the 'story telling' it is getting better and better, love the humour, that I'm sure there is much of when watching animals, with humans in the mix, that's coming through. Great blog, great photographs, great ride. Seems to me, if you want to see animals build an airstrip.