Monday, 24 October 2011

22nd October – Summer Is Coming!!!

Photo of the Day
Rock monitor in a tree

Morning Drive
(Marka, Grant and Chad)
3 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride – 2 young males and 1 female) – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Peru, Giraffe Kill Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Peru, Sohebele Dam
5 x buffalo bulls – Mbali, Dead Marula

Afternoon Drive
(Grant and Chad)
3 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride – 2 young males and 1 female) – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd
1 x leopard (Klakisa’s boy 4:4 male) – Mbali, Klipgat Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Peru, Piva Plains
6 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Argyle Dam

Daily Synopsis

Today was a rather warm day, and definitely a sign of the warm week that is fast approaching us!  My morning sadly, was not that hot.  I headed to the north-east to see if the lions that had roared for a couple of hours last night near the camp were still around, but their tracks crossed north into Ingwelala, and I left the area – there was little about besides one wildebeest and impalas.
As the morning was warm already, I headed towards some of the dams, but didn’t get all that much, just some saddle-billed storks and another two wildebeest – almost like the Serengeti I tell you!

Wildebeest and saddle-billed stork at Sohebele Dam
Carrying on south, we found our third group of wildebeest for the morning that were in the company of herd of kudus and some impala.
More wildebeest
A bit further along the road, we found five lone buffalo bulls that had yet to rise for their morning’s feeding session, and just lay about chewing the cud.

Buffalo bulls
Three of the Mafikizolo Pride had been found near Makulu Dam, and as I hadn’t seen them for some time, I decided to go and check it out – it would also be the fifth different group of lions my guests had seen – to think not long ago we were struggling to find any lions!
There wasn't much around, but we arrived at the lions to find them pleasingly relaxed – most likely as two-thirds of the pride were absent!  It was the big, young male, the smaller male and a young female.  We suspect that they have been on a kill on Java for the last few days, and hence the constant roaring in that area.  Why they are alone is a mystery, but perhaps the rest of the pride has been taken over, and the young lions were expelled?

Mafikizolo pride of three
It was very warm already, and they weren’t doing much or providing good photographic opportunities, so we headed back along the Nhlaralumi to the north.  We did find a nice rock monitor in the tree, as well as a group of nyala ewes and some nyala bulls a bit further on.

Rock monitor and a family of nyala ewes

It was getting very hot, and I had to be back at camp early for a check out, so I headed to the lodge – there were a couple herds of elephants about, but it was touch quiet ( I did see another two groups of wildebeest though!!!!) – no doubt the warm weather having an effect?
The afternoon remained very warm, and we again stuck to the riverbeds and dams, with more success this time.  Argyle Dam area produced warthogs, impala, waterbuck, nice birds and a group of buffalo bulls.

Buffalo and Saddle-billed storks at Argyle Dam
Closer to Sohebele Dam and Piva Plains, we found a small breeding herd of elephants in the riverbed, but they soon moved onto the plains to carry on feeding there.

Elephant herd on Piva Plains

Around Mbali Dam and the Nhlaralumi, we saw some giraffe, more impalas, nyala bull and also had a rather poor sighting of Klakisa female leopards young 4:4 male – he was resting in the shade of a riverbank that we couldn’t access, so had to view from a distance.

Giraffe, nyala bull and Klakisa's 4:4 boy, all along the banks of the Nhlaralumi

As the sun was setting and the day was cooling, we headed towards the Mafikizolo Pride members from his morning, and actually ended up having a great sighting by their standards!
The male was even more chilled than usual, and barely reacted to us.  He is a young boy, I guess around 5 years old, but his mane is already very dark, and he is going to be an absolutely stunning lion by the time he grows up!

Gorgeous Mafikizolo male
The young female was let at ease, but rather than running away, actually gave us a little charge on two occasions as we repositioned the Land Rover!

When we were static, she was very chilled, and also lay there posing and watching us, but with evidently not much fear?  This made her two charges a bit difficult to understand?

Mafikizolo young female - not pictured, her charging me twice!

Anyway, the sun had set, and we decided to leave them alone and head for a drink and enjoyed a lovely sundowner.

Heading back to camp produced nothing of note, but for two of our guests, Franco and Claudia, the sighting of the day no doubt came in the form of an engagement ring!  A big, hearty congratulations to both of you, and all the best for the rest of your long and happy lives together!


  1. These lions look fantastic, so handsome. Wouldn't it be nice if these orphaned guys joined up with the white lions to form their own pride. Any news on how the white ones are going? Hope they have full bellies and are safe. Thimble is still gorgeous . Sorry we missed her.

    Keep the great pics coming. Thanks.

    Jen from Australia

  2. You have beautiful photos here, Chad and it's time for me to visit Hoedspruit again... I don't do the guiding thing anymore, so I'll leave the other tourists behind and just enjoy myself!