Thursday, 15 September 2011

13th September –Argyle Male Feasting with his Son

Photo of the Day
Argyle male with a bushbuck kill
Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant, Godfrey and Herold)
1 x leopard (Argyle male with bushbuck kill) – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom
2 x rhino (relaxed males)
6 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Camp
1 x buffalo bull – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Confluence Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Makulu Dam
2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Great North
2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Reception Link

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant and Godfrey)
1 x leopard (Argyle male with bushbuck kill) – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom
1 x leopard (Gijima male) – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom
3 x rhino (2 female and 1 male)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Illegal Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Giraffe Kill Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Entrance Dam
2 x elephant bulls – Scholtz, Kudu Pan
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Vyeboom Dam
3 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Sean’s Clearing
1 x buffalo bull – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom Dam

Daily Synopsis
You can tell that it is me back on the blog, as my updates are always slow!!!  Well, the good news is that this is partly because of all the photos I had to go through, as the last few days have seen our fantastic run of game viewing continue!

The day started out with a group of buffalo bulls feeding on the riverbed in front of camp after they spent the night there.  I then headed towards Vyeboom Dam to go and see what was happening with Argyle male leopard and his kill.  In the beautiful morning light, we saw some impala, a duiker and another lone buffalo bull.
buffalo bull
Making our way to the site of the leopard kill, one of the other guides had managed to relocate Argyle male up in the tree feeding on his bushbuck kill, so I went to join him.
We spent some lovely time with him as he fed on the kill while a young hyena waited on the ground below the tree – it was the same hyena we left heading in that direction yesterday morning, so I wonder if the leopard wasn't there with the kill then?

Argyle male feeding with hyena below him looking up curiously
We eventually left the leopard and hyena and made our way away from there to look for rhino.  The game was quite quiet except for a couple of large elephant bulls, impala, a herd of zebra and some waterbuck.

Argyle male leopard, hyena, elephant bulls, zebra and waterbuck
I went towards Nkombi Pan for coffee, and Petros spotted some rhino tracks that he began to follow on foot while I had coffee with a few hyenas at the pan. 

Hyena at Nkombi Pan
After coffee, Petros let me know that he had found the two rhinos and I headed over to view them – they were quite static and we left after they went to sleep.

Male rhinos
Going past Makulu Dam on the way home, the usual late morning activity showed as we saw kudus, giraffes, hippos in the dam, a herd of elephants in the reeds below the dam wall, another herd of elephants further north along the river, more giraffe and impala.  There was not much else away from there as we headed home.
Elephant herd in the Nhlaralumi

In the afternoon, I received a host of new guests, and decided to just take it easy in the north, and ended up having a wonderful drive!
I started out heading west, and while there was little about besides steenbuck and impalas, it was still a lovely drive in a scenic part of the reserve.
Dark Chanting Goshawk
As we approached Kudu Pan, we spotted two massive elephant bulls that were busy having a mud bath and spent some time watching them – my favourite part was seeing my guest’s reaction to seeing their first wild elephant! 

Elephants at Kudu Pan
 As we were watching them, a herd of zebras approached the pan to drink, and once all the animals wandered off in their own direction, we left too and headed towards the leopard sighting.

Zebra herd at Kudu Pan
By-passing Sohebele Dam, we saw some lovely kudus, impala, a couple of young male giraffes and a massive crocodile at the dam.

On Piva Plains, we found a nice bachelor herd of waterbuck, and a little further down the road, we enjoyed some more impalas and kudu.

Waterbuck, kudu and impala
After watching a gorgeous sunset over Vyeboom Dam, with some elephants in the distance, we went and found Argyle male leopard sleeping in the grass near his kill.

Sunset at Vyeboom Dam, guineafowls and Argyle male leopard
While watching him, a young hyena approached, and rather than running off or acting aggressively, the leopard simply lay there, and the hyena lay down not 4m from him and both just sat there resting as if they were the best of friends!

Argyle male leopard and his hyena friend!
After a while, another hyena approached, and Argyle male went and climbed up the tree to sleep, clearly feeling the odds mounting against him.  We left and drove out the river bed, and above the kill, only for Petros to spot a second leopard lying in the grass not 30m from the kill, back down in the river.

We returned, past they hyenas and found the young male leopard that we identified as the nervous Gijima male.  He however didn’t run and lay in the grass no more than 12m from us before slowly moving off. 
Gijima male - less nervous tonight
Grant approached the sighting as I was leaving again, but I once more got held up when we relocated Gijima male sitting on some rocks on the water’s edge on the otherside of the island thicket.  We watched him for a while before he again moved into the thicket and we left to go drink in the dark once again.  We were joined by a lone buffalo bull in the riverbed before we headed back to camp for a scrumptious dinner, and that rounded off a very pleasing day for all of us at the lodge.

Gijima male leopard on the rocks below Vyeboom Dam wall


  1. Awesome pictures Chad!!! I wanted to comment on the late blog but... :-)

    Thanks for the update bud.
    Argyle Male is a brute of a leopard, but you can see he had better days :-)


  2. Great pictures especially the one that looks like a rhino with two heads!!

  3. Hi Chad !

    Awesome Gijima ! With reflection, very very nice !

    What's wrong with the Argyle male's nose ?