Tuesday, 18 October 2011

15th October – Cats and Dogs!!!

Photo of the Day
Wild dogs!

Morning Drive
(Herald, Shadrack, Grant and Chad)
12 x wild dogs – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi
1 x leopard (Mbali female) – Peru, Hippo Rocky Rd
1 x leopard (Nthombi female) – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi
1 x leopard (Klakisa’s boy 2:2) – Mbali, Buffalo Kill Rd
4 x elephants – De Luca, Luttig Cutline

Afternoon Drive
(Shadrack, Grant and Chad)
12 x wild dogs – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi
3 x lions (Sohebele Males) – Scholtz, Kudu Pan Rd East
1 x leopard (Nthombi female) – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Scholtz, Kudu Pan Rd East
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Java, Java Camp
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Peru, Elephant Crossing

Daily Synopsis
Having just South Africans on my vehicle that had been to the bush many times before allowed me to have yet another very chilled drive with no need to rush anywhere.  I took this opportunity to go and check the north-eastern sections again for the Mahlathini male lions, to see if they were still around (we heard them roaring again last night), but there was no sign of them, and they were no doubt still north of us on Ingwelala. 
Despite warning my guests that we were not likely to see much in this section, we did see some impala, a nice herd of kudus, and then four lovely elephant bulls that were feeding and engaging in a bit of play fighting.

Elephant bulls
In typical Murphy’s Law fashion, I was in the far north-eastern corner when wild dogs were found in our far south-western corner at the opposite side of the reserve!  As much as I love wild dogs, I decided to leave them for the afternoon and to continue to enjoy the bumble in the north.
I did make my way towards Mbali leopardess after she had been found some distance from where she was yesterday, and immediately I wondered about her presence in this area and the outcome of her cubs.  En route, we ticked off some impala, baboons, more kudus, good birds and a few steenbuck.
Arriving at Mbali, we found her sitting on a termite mound surveying her surrounds – but as she got up to walk, it became evident that she was no longer lactating, and we now suspect that, for at least the seventh or eighth time in her life, she has failed to raise her cubs. 

Mbali female - lost another litter of cubs it seems
She wandered over to a marula tree which she proceeded to spring up effortlessly before eventually going to sleep in it, and that was our cue to move on.

Mbali climbing a tree
After coffee at Mbali Dam, we bumbled around, seeing waterbuck, kudu, impala and also another leopard!  We bumped into Klakisa’s boy near Mbali Camp, and while he moved off at first and generally stayed behind the bushes, he was not overly nervous.  We didn’t pursue him once he moved off, but it was still nice to see him.  After more impalas, steenbuck and kudus, we closed down at the camp for a delicious breakfast.
My plan for the afternoon was to go south to see the wild dogs, and possibly Nthombi leopardess who had also been found in the morning near a dead baboon while the guys were following the wild dogs.
I checked Sohebele Dam, and as usual ticked off impalas, bushbuck, steenbuck and giraffe before going to try the hyena den on Java, but with no luck.
There was a breeding herd of elephants that had been drinking in front of Java Camp that we stopped to watch for a while before visiting Java for a different reason all together!  I had mentioned a certain trees ability to divine for water to my guests, and they had asked me to show them how to do it – so I figured who better to teach them than the master that taught me, Master!  Master works at Java, so we stopped there and he kindly took us all, found an appropriate branch off a tree, and by showing the guests how to hold it, taught them how to divine for water!  It is amazing how the stick will pull down automatically in your hand when you walk above underground water, and we were all suitably impressed!

Elephant herd
Hearing that the wild dogs had been found in the spot they were left in the morning, and also that some lions had been found in the east, we carried on with the drive.
We soon arrived at the wild dogs as they were on the move, but sadly they didn’t come across anything to chase while we were following them.  It was getting a bit dark and there were still some vehicles to come and see them, so we couldn’t spend as much time with them as I had hoped, but at least we got to see them.

Wild dogs with Grant and his guests
I then mentioned the presence of lions to my guests, and the fact that they had been found following behind a buffalo herd didn’t take much persuasion to rather go see the lions over having a drink.  On the way, we got to see an African wild cat in the daylight which doesn’t happen to often!
We made the trip out east, and arrived to find the three Sohebele male lions resting as a large storm brewed on the horizon.  Although they had been after the buffalo herd earlier, they were now resting quite soundly, only jumping up once before once more falling asleep! 

Sohebele male lions
All three brothers were together, and while looking a bit lean, it was no better or worse than they usually look, and as always, it was just great to see our old friends alive and well!
With the storm closing in, we headed back to camp, not seeing anything on the way, not even the buffalo, but I guess we have something to look forward to tomorrow!  As it turned out, there were only a few drops of rain, and the thunder and lightning blew away as another unfulfilled promise.

Aplogies for the slow rate of uploads, but internet speed has been debilitatingly slow the last few days


  1. Great day Chad!
    It will be such a pity if Mbali lost her cubs... Wish there can be another Kuhanya!
    Love the Sohebele males.


  2. Beautiful photo's, Chad!

    Thanks again for a wonderful bush experience!

    Regards Tobie & Elsa