Friday, 14 October 2011

13th October – Mahlathini Male Lions Visit Camp!!!

Photo of the Day
Mahlathini male lion
Morning Drive
(Herald, Grant, Shaddrack and Chad)
3 x lions (Mahlathini males) – De Luca, Jackalberry Pan Access
1 x rhino (male)
3 x buffalo bulls – Scholtz, Sumatra North-South Cutline

Afternoon Drive
(Herald, Grant and Chad)
1 x leopard (Kuhanya Female) – Peru, Sohebele Dam
2 x rhino (2 females)

Daily Synopsis
I would like to say I awoke at 5am for work, but I was awake at 1am with the sound of the Mahlathini male lions roaring next to the staff houses!  I guess I could think of worse ways to be woken up?  Waking up to hear a leopard calling at 5am, I was also greeted with the news that I had somehow missed a leopard in camp last night after uploading the blog, as John walked past the pool 2 minutes after I left the verandah and found a young male leopard sleeping on the rocks!
So, with a busy morning in camp last night, we all headed out eager to see what we could find.  Finding tracks for the lions wasn't difficult, but following them proved to be.  After initially struggling, we found them crossing straight north into Ingwelala.  Eish!  Luckily Herald had more persistence than me and while deciding to check the tar road, he found their tracks chasing after buffalos.  It took him and Difference about half an hour to figure out the tracks and get a direction, and once Grant I dropped our trackers off, it took them less than 15 minutes to locate on the three male lions!
Social web spider nest
That is jumping ahead a bit – prior to that, I actually had a very quiet morning – impala, steenbuck and a herd of kudus before turning around to go and help Herald track the lions.  While on the way, we bumped into a male white rhino not far from the lodge, but left him as he moved off.

White rhino bull
I stopped for coffee after dropping my tracker off, but I suddenly heard branches breaking, and the sound of an engine – there was a vehicle driving through the bush straight for me!  I radioed to get an update, only to hear that they had found the lions and that they were heading straight to my coffee spot!  After a quick pack-up, I heard that they had actually gone to sleep less than 100m from us, and went to join Herald in the sighting.

Mahlathini males
Being rather warm, they just slept, but as always, its wonderful to see these impressive boys!

Growin into impressive boys
I headed back to the lodge for an early check out, but knew I would be heading back with my new guests later in the day.
My afternoon drive was reasonably chilled considering I had one-nighters.  We started off with impalas and some kudu bulls fighting.
Kudus fighting
At Argyle Dam we had a hippo and three elephant bulls that we spent some quality time with as they fed near us.
Elephant bull
I went a bit further west towards Vyeboom Dam – we saw some kudu, waterbuck, a family of hippos at the dam, some crocodiles, a couple of lone giraffes, warthogs and the omnipresent impalas that we enjoyed as we made our way back to the north-east for the lions.

Waterbuck, hippos, giraffe, dwarf mongooses and impala
While watching the lions doing very little, Patrick spotted a lioness approaching from the riverbed – I quickly identified her as the one Xakubasa pride lionesses (the mother of the tawny male).  She approached the golden maned male, and at first none of the lions saw her, but once they did, Golden Boy jumped up to chase the two other males off, and the lioness ran off with him in pursuit!

Xakubasa pride lioness joins Mahlathini males
They settled down next to one another while the other two brothers lay regretting a missed opportunity!

The golden boy
The golden boy scent marked vigorously, and lay near the lioness, keeping an eye on his brothers.

They eventually ambled over, gave only a cursory glance in the direction of some other lions that roared nearby, and then scent marked themselves before going to sleep not far away.  Although I hoped they would roar, they were in no mood to do so, and as the darkness settled, we headed back to camp for an enjoyable meal after another wonderful day at Motswari!

Another brother scent marking

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures of the very impressive Males Chad!