Photo of the Day
|Thumbela Returns :)|
(Chad, Grant and Herold)
1 x leopard (Mbali female) – Java, Java Access
1 x leopard (Ximungwe female) – Argyle, Buffalo Pan
15 x buffalo – Motswari, Workshop Rd
(Chad, Grant, Godfrey and Herold)
1 x leopard (Thumbela female) – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr female) – Argyle, Horizon Rd
2 x rhino (2 females)
1 x rhino (1 semi-relaxed male)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, 2nd Sharalumi Crossing
8 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Horizon Rd
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Vyeboom Dam
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Klipgat Crossing
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Camp
1 x elephant bull – Borneo, Camp
4 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Long Rd
8 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Camp
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I had no sooner gone on leave when all the animals came out! The leopards that I had been so desperate to show my guests before I left suddenly came out in force – 8 leopards one afternoon drive, 5 leopards a few drives later...basically leopard every day I was away. Then the lions. As always, the white lions only pitched up when I was on leave, but there were also sightings of the Jacaranda males, regular viewing of the Mafikizolo and Machaton Prides, as well as a few new faces. All in all, it seemed like a very good week to have missed out on!
Not that I am complaining, I spent the most amazing week in Tanzania, but I promise to share that experience in a blog post soon!!! Still, arriving back yesterday, I was dead keen to get out there into my own back yard, and it was a wonderful return to drives!
I just took it easy in the north and had wonderful sightings of a herd of elephants, elephant bulls, giraffe, stripe-bellied sand snake, massive herd of waterbuck, impalas, steenbuck, the shier of the two Jacaranda male lions, Argyle male leopard up in a marula tree on our airstrip and plenty of buffalo bulls – cant complain about that ‘welcome back’!
|Yesterday afternoon's drive with Jacaranda male lion, buffalo, elephant, giraffe, waterbuck and Argyle male leopard on the airstrip|
Monday started off well. The drive was a bit slow to begin with, but with the wonderful weather we are experiencing at the moment, it was just great to be out. With impalas alarm calling, and leopard calling in the same area, we thought we wouldn’t have trouble finding leopard near camp, unfortunately we were wrong, and despite having the leopard walk on top of Grant’s vehicle tracks from 20 minutes earlier, we couldn’t find it. We did find a large herd of about 15 buffalo bulls near the lodge though.
|Crocodile at Concrete Crossing|
We also went past an old hyena den, and Petros pointed out that there was still again of hyena activity, with cub footprints there too, so maybe we shall have a look later to confirm that this den is again active.
|Mbali female leopard still spending time in the same area we suspect she has cubs|
It was getting late, so we headed home, and managed to tick off a herd of zebra and wildebeest on the road home.
The afternoon turned out to be another good one as can be seen from the list of sightings. I had Sue and Andy (regular blog followers and visitors to Motswari) joining me in the afternoon, and when asked if there was any animal they wished to see (besides the white lions, which I knew already!), Sue replied that she wanted to see Thumbela leopardess; not having seen her for three months, I didn’t want to disappoint her and tell her what I really thought of her request, and said, “okay, we’ll try”, and with that we headed out.
Around Argyle Dam we had some nice steenbuck, impala, a male kudu and a herd of waterbuck, as well as a lone hippo in the dam.
|Waterbuck and kudu at Argyle Dam|
Hearing that two rhinos had been picked up further south, I aimed myself in that direction as my other guests were very keen on seeing rhino. Bypassing Sohebele Dam, we found some more kudu bulls, waterbuck bulls and a massive crocodile.
|Crocodile and fork-tailed drongo at Sohebele Dam|
|White rhino bull|
|Thumbela and her gorgeous blue eyes watching a herd of elephants|
As the leopard carried on along the bank, she flushed a Sharpe’s grysbok and ran after it, but had no luck. She then crossed to the eastern side and we picked her up again as she walked towards Elephant Dam with a full moon rising in the background.
|Thumbela making ehr way to Elephant Dam|
After watching her drink, we went and had a drink in the dark before making our way back to camp where a herd of buffalo bulls was waiting for us in front of the lodge. Later in the evening some elephant bulls were there too!
|Thumbela having a drink|
Godfrey was back on drive and stayed in the north, and while watching a herd of elephants, spotted Argyle Jnr leopardess walking behind him. At first he gave her some space, but later couldn’t get over how relaxed she was – while I know how relaxed she is if respected, it is great to hear that her aberrant behaviour last month (where she was super skittish) has passed and not had any long-term effects. Anyway, while following her, Godfrey found a pack of hyenas, so without running about, had a wonderful afternoon. Johannes too found an interesting sighting, that of Argyle male leopard up a tree with a bushbuck kill, and, believe it or not, a hyena up in the tree with him trying to steal the kill! He burst out laughing as the hyena fell out of the tree after managing to get a piece of meat – oh what I would have done to see that sight!
Anyway, a good day had by all, so let’s hope that my bad luck does not return and that the great viewing continues over the coming weeks!