Wednesday, 21 September 2011

20th September – Machaton Pride Still Feasting!

Photo of the Day

Say Cheese! Machaton cub eating their buffalo kill....still!

Morning Drive
(Grant, Godfrey and Chad)
11 x lions (Machaton Pride – 3 lionesses and 8 cubs with buffalo kill) – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Karans, Zebra Entrance Rd

Afternoon Drive
(Grant and Chad)
11 x lions (Machaton Pride – 3 lionesses and 8 cubs with buffalo kill) – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
3 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Giraffe Kill Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Crossing Below Java
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Illegal Crossing

Daily Synopsis
Following on from yesterday’s scorching 41 degrees in the shade, today was quite unexpectedly cold!  The mercury barely reached 24 degrees and clouds covered the sky until the late evening, but it was another pleasant day in the reserve.
I had a reasonably quiet two drives, but both had similar objectives.  Not having visited the lions yesterday, I took my guests to see them again on their last drive.  Leaving the lodge we soon found a herd of zebras and spent some time watching them.

Zebra herd
Carrying on along Western Cutline to the south, we saw tracks for the herd of buffalo heading south-east, and Godfrey went to follow up – unfortunately for him, the Mafikizolo Pride had also returned and they too were following the herd and ended up chasing them across our southern boundary and we ended up not finding neither the lions nor the buffalo!
I found another herd of zebras, as well as our wildebeest herd as I headed south.

Wildebeest and zebras
The Machaton Pride were still at Hide Dam, and feeding on their kill, although there was not a great deal left and the jackals, hyenas and vultures were gathering around waiting for their turn to feed once the lions moved off!

Hyenas, side-striped jackal and vultures waiting for the Machaton Pride to finishe thier share of the buffalo kill
There was a lot of active feeding from most of the pride, particularly the adults.

Machaton lionesses feasting
The cubs too enjoyed eating on the skull and were still fighting over the scraps, despite being as fat as potatoes...not that lions eat potatoes or anything.

Machaton cubs feasting
Heading back north to help track the lions that could potentially have a male for my guests to see, we came across the zebra herd again, but left them and bypassed a nice breeding herd of elephants that were unbelievably chilled and fed within mere metres of the Land Rover – what a treat!

Extremely relaxed elephant herd with babies
As it turned out, I have ruined the suspense of tracking the lions, and yes, they crossed off the property while I drove around looking at a few impala, a steenbuck, and a lot of trees.  There wasn't much about as I headed back to camp.
In the afternoon, I had a complete changeover of guests and headed out with my new guests having the luxury of time, so took things easy and enjoyed some scenic stops at the dams and did some bird watching.
We did see some steenbuck, impala, hippo, crocodile, waterbuck and warthogs before leaving the smaller things for a while to head south again to see the Machaton Pride for fear that they might head back south during the night.
We arrived to see the Rockfig hyenas wandering about, and a lot of fat and half-dead lions sleeping off enormous bellies around the carcass!

Fat and sleepy Machaton Pride
One young cub was at the water, but even he was not able to show much enthusiasm as a herd of wildebeest came into view.  Sensing the lions, the wildebeest moved off.

Lion cub watching wildebeest herd
Some of the lions awoke, and one or two went to feed, but the cubs chose milk over three-day old meat and went to suckle from mom.

Grant and his guests, (Kay, Chloe, Peter and Julie) enjoying the lions feeding and drinking milk
We left them and spent a bit more time with some hyenas and a relaxed jackal as it was getting dark, but we then departed the area for a drink and a drive home in the now chilly conditions!  Good news was the clouds had lifted and the stars were shining, so let’s hope that the warmer weather returns tomorrow!

Black-backed jackal and vultures...still waiting!
Grant enjoyed a bit more success when he found three rhinos, as well as two separate breeding herds of elephants for his guests.  Maybe I should just follow him tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures of the lions feeding Chad!!!