Wednesday, 26 October 2011

24th October – I Guess That is Why We Don't Go East!

Photo of the Day
Sohebele Brothers

Morning Drive
(Petros, Shadrack, Herald, Grant and Chad)
3 x wild dogs – Vielmetter, Jaydee Access
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Sean’s Clearing
2 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Xinzele Rd

Afternoon Drive
(Petros, Shadrack, Herald, Grant and Chad)
3 x lions (Xakubasa Pride – 2 white lionesses and 1 tawny male) – Peru, Sohebele Dam
3 x lions (Sohebele males) – Scholtz, Big Dam
5 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Sohebele Dam

Daily Synopsis

Considering how amazing the east was yesterday afternoon, and seeing as there was a pack of twenty wild dogs running around there somewhere, it made perfect sense for me to head straight there to enjoy the fruitfulness of the east...but then I discovered the sting in the tail of the East!
The morning started off well enough, with a one of our large, collared elephant bulls feeding on Sean’s Clearing, and we spent some time with him before carrying on to look for the wild dogs.
Large elephant bull
Every corner we went around filled me with the anticipation that we would bump into the dogs, or at worst, at least some of their tracks to further direct our search.  Arriving at the area where we had left them last night, we found no tracks for the dogs, but some vultures and a lone hyena told of the story of last night’s kills.

Vulture and hyena at Gravel Pits
Carrying on and expanding our search to the surrounding area, we found fresh rhino tracks, as well as tracks for the Sohebele male lions heading towards Scholtz Big Dam, but I was still determined to find these dogs.  Nothing at Abercrombie Dam, nothing at Scholtz Big Dam, and even double checking Gravel Pits, we found nothing.

Sadly the morning was warming up, and I knew we were out of luck, and seeing as the west was equally quiet, I continued looking in the east.  I didn’t find much, but w did come across a giraffe and calf, as well as a nice herd of zebras, some kudu and steenbuck.

Zebra herd

Leaving the east and heading towards Sohebele and Argyle Dams, we did pick up a few more species, including impala, waterbuck, another herd of zebras and some warthogs.

More zebras

I should perhaps have learnt my lesson and followed Grant.  He went west to look for rhino, but instead found another small pack of wild dogs!!!  He located on the three wild dogs that soon went to rest, and then spent the rest of the morning on our western boundary – sadly on the total opposite side of the reserve to where I was operating!
In the afternoon, fed up with the east, I decided not to even entertain the thought of going there, although the lure of the potential of twenty wild dogs was a strong pull, I relented.
I started off by sensibly checking the dams in the north – Argyle Dam had some waterbuck and bushbuck, but also Grant and Petros, so I carried on past a troop of baboons and more impalas.


I was heading towards Vyeboom Dam area while Grant checked Sohebele Dam where he found 5 buffalo bulls in the water.  I was heading there when he suddenly spotted two white lions resting on the other side of the dam wall!

Waterbuck and buffalo bulls
I temporarily ignored the buffalo and went to join Grant with the lions, but as usual, and being so hot and early in the afternoon, they were, as we say, Flat Cat!  Every time they did wake up or lift their heads, I was in the middle of an explanation and didn’t manage any photos of them awake!

White lions at Sohebele Dam
As many stations were responding, and the lions weren’t going anywhere, I left them to carry on looking for other animals, which included giving the buffalo bulls a bit more attention.

Buffalo bulls on the move
At the hyena den, once again I was frustrated in finding nothing, but it was perhaps still a bit warm for the cubs to be out.

The Sohebele male lions had been found at Scholtz Big Dam, exactly where I had gone to look for them this morning (incidentally, I also drove within 70m of the white lions this morning without finding them!), and as we hadn’t actually seen lions awake these last few days, I headed over to join Giyani.

The three brothers woke up shortly before I arrived and were walking with a purpose to the north, and Grant, Herald and I all got to have a very good sighting of them as they walked past us, barely paying any attention to our presence.
It is just so great to see these lions eventually growing up and looking good, and they are really starting to get a “presence” about them.  I just hope that we can keep on finding them with this same degree of regularity as we have been them for the last couple of weeks.

Sohebele brothers on a mission

I eventually let them walk on past a dry mud wallow, and ended up staying there for drinks before too heading home and back to the camp for a wonderful dinner.


  1. Hi Chad, they are back at their roots? Weren't they the resident pride way back. When I started following the blog was when the females were being killed, except if I am thinking about another pride!

    Please let me know.

    PS. nice to see the white lions still alive :-)

  2. thanks lourens!

    white lions are apparently eating an elephant that died on ingwelala, so good to hear they getting some food at least!

    as for the sohebele males...yip, they are indeed the remnants of the old resident pride - the pride stood at 9 lions when i arrived, and these boys are amazingly the last three survivors - i never get them a chance, but shows what i know!!!

    they still spend time to the east, and into the kruger...its an area that we dont frequent, but now that we are able to follow them, we are driving there more and seeing them often...they looking great, and actually moving west - so to our central areas...would be a dream for them to join the white lions...but we shall see :)

  3. Thanks for the feedback Chad...
    I remember that you did not give them a chance, but neither did I. I am so glad that we are wrong, cause they look great!!!

    Glad to hear about the white lions with the elephant, man, they needed that, were looking quite lean lately!

    You are right, it would be a dream if they can join up with the white lions, and become locals :-)


  4. Today sorting out the photographs that I took while at Motswari. Thanks for all the good tips on photography Chad, they really helped.
    We too are dreaming of the white lions, and their tawny cousin, joining forces with the Sohebele males.
    From Sue and John. Missing Motswari!