Sunday, 23 October 2011

20th October – Mahlathini Males Kill Buffalo near Motswari!!!

Photo of the Day
Wild dog on the hunt

Morning Drive
(Marka, Grant and Chad)
3 x lions (Mahlathini males with buffalo kill) – Motswari, Ekuvukeni Access
1 x leopard (Thumbela female with three kills) – Kings, Ridge Rd
1 x rhino (Nhlangula male)

Afternoon Drive
(Marka, Grant and Chad)
13 x wild dogs – Jaydee, Ndlovu Rd
3 x lions (Mahlathini males with buffalo kill) – Motswari, Ekuvukeni Access
1 x rhino (Nhlangula male)
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Motswari, Western Cutline
5 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Wedge Boundary Rd

Daily Synopsis
With the lions roaring most of last night and the first thing this morning, we knew that our suspicions were correct, and that the Mahlathini males had almost certainly moved in and killed a buffalo from the herd north-east of camp, so heading out early, I searched the area.  Sadly, the 3mm of rain we got was enough to mess up the tracks, and the only tracks we found were for before the rains which made it difficult.
Fortunately Grant had gotten a pretty good idea of where they were based on their calls, and after fruitfully searching in the vehicle, we sent in the trackers.  A few short minutes later, they had located the lions moving away from a young buffalo kill.  I made my way in there, but it was an exceptionally frustrating sighting as they were moving in some thick bush, and always lying down in an area that didn’t allow for good photos.

Three Mahlathini males resting fat bellied near their buffalo kill
Eventually all three went and lay together, and I managed to get into a position to see them, albeit at a far closer distance than I wanted to go.

It did allow me to get some nice close up shots of these impressive males.

I then decided to leave them as the morning heated up quickly and see if the white lions were anywhere in the east, and while we did find tracks, it was also from before the rain that made tracking next to impossible, and while bumbling around, we failed to find any more signs of them.
There was not a great deal out east, but we did have a nice herd of zebras in the company of a herd of giraffes that we spent some time watching.

Giraffe and zebras in the east
We ticked off another herd of giraffe – unusual for the east – and another two herds of zebras before we returned to camp for breakfast.

More zebras on Karan's airstrip
I received some new guests in the afternoon, and decided to go and see the Mahlathini male lions again, just in case they moved off – when I did see the kill, I realised that they would still be around for at least another day.  We saw some impala, mongooses and warthogs before we got to have a much better sighting than this morning, and while it was not in the best spot for photography, we got to see them as one of the males fed on the kill.

Mahlathini male with buffalo kill
Music to my ears came in the fact that a pack of wild dogs was found near Makulu Dam, and as my guests had already mentioned they wanted to see them while on the way to the lions, I didn’t take long to decide to respond.  A small breeding herd of elephants near Motswari did require our attention though, and we spent time with them before moving towards the dogs.

Breeding herd of elephants near the lodge
As Giyani was left alone with no one to help him follow the now-mobile dogs (a rhino sighting drew the attention), I had to suddenly race towards the sighting to help Giyani keep them, which meant that I couldn’t spend time with the lovely Korhaan, side-striped jackal or zebras that we passed.

Red-crested Korhaan
I eventually arrived at the dogs as they were all running down the road towards me, and suddenly the race was worth it!

Wild dogs on the move
The pack then found a spot where the local hyena clan marked their territory, and they began rolling around and rubbing in the scent of the hyenas.

Investigating the scent of hyenas
Some dogs then shot past us running after a steenbuck, and the race was on, but fortunately for the buck, it got away.  As the dogs were running everywhere, we gave the other stations a chance and went for a drink at Makulu Dam.

On the lookout
Some lions had been roaring in the area, but despite trying after dark, there was too much wind to hear them, so we headed home.  We did see a family of nyala, a lesser bushbaby, a genet and a spotted eagle owl on the way home, so not the worst night-drive ever!

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures of the Wild dogs Chad, some of the best I've seen!