Tuesday, 23 August 2011

22nd August – Mafikizolo Pride Do It Again!

Photo of the Day
Mafikizolo male with a buffalo kill
Morning Drive
(Grant and Herold)
1 x leopard (skittish female) – Karans, Western Cutline
1 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Scholtz, Nongo Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Peru, Mbali River Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter, Cutline
3 x elephant bulls – De Luca, Western Cutline

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant and Herold)
8 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride with buffalo kill) – Scholtz, Scholtz Access
1 x leopard (Umfana male with steenbuck kill) – Vielmetter, Jiga-Jiga Rd
1 x leopard (Nthombi female) – Jaydee, Nkombi Pan
2 x buffalo – Argyle, Vyeboom Dam
2 x elephants – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam
7 x elephants – Karans, Moeniejag Crossing
1 x elephant – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam North

Daily Synopsis
So I’m back on drive, and as usual, behind on my blog posts already, so apologies for that!
I missed out on the morning drive, but besides the return of the elephant herds to the area, I don’t think that I missed too much.  Herold spent his whole morning tracking rhino and eventually managed to see one near the Kruger Boundary – not the most relaxed male, but a rhino none the less.  Grant saw plenty of elephants and a skittish leopard, as well as good general game, but had a frustrating morning looking for a dead buffalo!  The staff at Scholtz camp called to tell us that they could hear a buffalo being killed near their camp, but despite checking the area extensively, they came up empty handed.
Thank goodness for Petros.....
I only had two guests in the afternoon, and they arrived late, so I only departed for afternoon drive over an hour later than the others.  Fortunately for me, there was a lot of good news waiting for me on the radio: several elephant sightings, a quick sighting of a leopard at Vyeboom Dam, and the Mafikizolo Pride on a buffalo kill – so the rumours were true!!!
My drive started with some warthogs near the camp that fed merrily next to the road.

A bit further down the road we had impala, two elephants and kudus around Xinatsi Dam.

Elephant bulls at Xinatsi Dam
I had initially planned to go see some elephants before going to the east to see the lions after dark, but I changed my mind to ensure that I could actually find them before it got dark and so I made my way in that direction.  At Moeniejag Crossing, we found a herd of large elephant bulls that we spent some time with before moving on.

More elephant bulls
Along the way to the lions, we saw more impalas and steenbuck before arriving in the area of the kill and seeing the vultures perched gave my surprise away.

We pulled into the sighting and found a wonderful African scene – several lions around a large buffalo kill in a grassy area with a setting sun in the background.

A great scene of the Mafikizolo Pride with their buffalo kill
Being the Mafikizolo Pride, things were not all that peaceful at first, and lashing tails and growling gals greeted us – we stopped to give them time to relax, and one lioness gave us a slight mock charge, but soon settled down.

Enjoying their meal
By the end of my hour sighting, they were so comfortable with us, it was almost like watching “normal” lions – very encouraging indeed!

The male is now very relaxed with us
We spent a lot of time watching mostly the large male geed, but a few others joined him and there was a bit of fighting, but mostly it was amicable, and a thoroughly enjoyable sighting!

One of the Mafikizolo lionesses and cubs
It was already dark and getting late, so we left Grant in the sighting and headed back towards the north.  After drinks in the dark, we did find some zebra, a spotted eagle owl and a glimpse of a genet.
Further south, Grant got to see a massive herd of buffalo as well as Nthombi’s boy, Umfana male, with a steenbuck kill, while Herold got to spend a long time with Nthombi leopardess herself after Godfrey found her near Nkombi Pan.
So all in all, a good afternoon was had by all, and I am sure tomorrow will be equally exciting!


  1. Great photos of the lions Chad!!!
    I am just glad there are still lions around (with you there) :-)

    Cheers mate

  2. What a lucky guests you have Chad. Having these special lionsights on their first drive.
    Great pictures!!

  3. You are amazing - thank you for these images, so homesick for Africa. Cheers!

  4. As the lucky guests, it was an exceptional start! Have some very similar photos which is great (or lucky!) albeit from a 400 lenses not a 500.