Saturday, 2 July 2011

30th June – Big Grey Beast Day!

Photo of the Day
Nthombi's boy illuminated by a spotlight in the early evening
Morning Drive
(Chad, Godfrey, Colbert and Herald)
2 x rhino (2 x young male rhinos)
2 x rhino (2 x male rhino)
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Argyle, Xinatsi Dam Rd West
1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Hanger Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Jack’s Camp
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Pan Rd
1 x elephant bull – De Luca, Western Cutline
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Argyle Dam

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Godfrey, Colbert and Herald)
1 x leopard (Nthombi’s boy with impala kill) – King’s, Airstrip Rd
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Motswari, Wisani Crossing
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Motswari, Southern Access
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Scholtz, Camp
1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Camp
1 x buffalo bull – Kings, Concrete Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Concrete Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Jaydee Access
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Airstrip
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Camp

Daily Synopsis
Sounding like a broken down record, I started off today looking for leopard; and sounding even more like a broken leopard, despite checking everywhere in the north, I found none!

A bit further along the road, we had some exquisitely backlit zebras as subjects to fill our viewfinders as we snapped away in delight.

In addition, we saw a lone elephant bull (less obliging), as well as a herd of kudus.  I then proceeded to an area where Herold had fresh rhino tracks, as well as lion tracks on top of the rhino tracks!  Johannes however told us that no, the tracks for lions were old.  I disagreed, not based on seeing the tracks, but on the logic of when he thought the tracks were made...however, he knows his stuff better than anyone, so I didn’t argue and took his word for it.  The trackers obviously had faith in his word, and decided not to pursue the tracks.  When we bumped into the rhinos a few hundred metres down the road, we all realised that for once, we were right! Hahaha!

Two new, very relaxed mlae white rhinos - didnt even stop feeding when we approached!

Anyway, we enjoyed the two rhinos for a short time as they weren’t being very cooperative for photos.  Not because they were running away, as one would expect from rhinos in that area, but because they were too relaxed and didn’t stop feeding as we drove in and moved around!!!  It was like having two Nhlangula males!  We hope that they stick around for some time.
We left the sighting with Colbert and carried on south, hoping to see Nthombi and her boy on an impala kill on Kings.  Sadly though, it was a busy sighting, and I decided to rather not waste my time and slowly made my way back north.
We saw giraffe, steenbok, impala and some nice birds before stopping for coffee at Makulu Dam.  After coffee, there was not a great deal about; more impalas, some monkeys, warthogs and then eventually a nice herd of elephants that were near Mbali Dam and went to drink water at the southern end of Peru Dam.  It was a great sighting as always with our ultra-chilled elephants, but we sadly had to leave them to head back to the lodge for breakfast.

Elephant herd at Peru Dam

Elsewhere on drive, Herold saw another two relaxed rhinos as well as a breeding herd of buffalo and a couple of breeding herds of elephants.
The afternoon saw us begging the drive with impala, warthog and an elephant bull on the airstrip. 

Not far from there, we found tracks for the two Sohebele male lions, from this morning, but sadly, after following up for a while, the tracks were heading straight towards Ingwelala and we decided to rather leave the area and head south.
Going south to see the leopards with their kill, the news wasn't good, as neither leopard was around at the impala kill, but Colbert did push south and when he arrived, Nthombi’s boy was there feeding, so I headed off towards the area. 
It was a long drive, and as usual, the animals all came out when we didn’t really need them to!  Impalas, waterbuck, kudu, a couple of elephants crossing Vyeboom Dam, a herd of zebras, many more impalas, ground hornbills and more zebras!

Eventually we arrived in the south, and west of Sweetwater Pan we had a large breeding herd of elephants that included a female with an extremely strange tusk!

Funny-tusked female elephant
We left the elephants and went towards the leopard, sadly missing out on the great golden light, but as it turned out, it was still a pretty productive sighting for photographs!
We arrived and saw him way up in a leafy marula tree, but he soon took exception to our presence and began snarling and actually almost mock charged us in the tree!  He was hissing and snarling, and very nearly lost his footing and fell off the branch, much to my amusement – typical teenage boy full of attitude!

Nthombi's male cub up in a marula tree with an impala kill

We gave him a bit more space, but he soon chilled out totally and moved around the tree from one spot to another.

He soon found a comfortable spot and after a while his eyes grew heavy and he fell asleep.

Only two young hyenas would occasionally get him to stir, but for the most part, he just slept soundly in typical leopard fashion!  Sadly though, there was no sign of Nthombi.

Driving home, we had a good trip seeing genet, a civet and a herd of buffalo near camp.  Elsewhere on the drive, Herold had seen another breeding herd of buffalos on the Wedge near camp as well as some elephants.  Thinking that the Sohebele Brothers might come for the buffalo, he and Johannes checked the Wedge after dark with no luck...
But the animals had obviously been waiting for us to close down, as I had no sooner done so when I was informed that there was a leopard sleeping 10m from the verandah of Sharalumi Cottage, and about an hour later, Dave came to tell me that Johannes had heard the buffalos being chased near his camp, and arrived to find the two Sohebele lions with a baby buffalo kill about 100m from his camp!  Not a bad night at Sharalumi I would say!
Let’s hope that the lions are still about tomorrow!
And please go see yesterday’s wonderful post at:


  1. Wonderful photos especially those of Nthombi's boy. Love his attitude!!

    Greetings from Munich.

  2. The photo of the "two heads" zebra is awesome! :)


  3. Broken leopard whahahahahaha
    I love the backlit foal


  4. Chad.
    Amazing captures.
    Congratulations with your pictures in this months Getaway Magazine.
    God Bless.