Wednesday, 16 November 2011

13th November – White Lions Still Around!!!

Photo of the Day
White lioness
Morning Drive
(Shadrack, Herold and Chad)
3 x lions (Xakubasa Pride – 1 tawny male and 2 white lionesses) – Motswari, Wisani Trough Eastern Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Karans, Western Cutline
3 x elephant bulls – Peru, Peru Dam
2 x elephant bulls – Mbali, Dead Marula
2 x elephant bulls – Peru, Mbali Dam
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Camp Dam
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Java, Java Dam
6 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Mbali Dam

Afternoon Drive
(Marka, Johannes, Herold and Chad)
3 x lions (Xakubasa Pride – 1 tawny male and 2 white lionesses) – Argyle, Ingwelala Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Buffalo Kill Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Aardvark Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Camp
2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Camp
4 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Vyeboom Dam

Daily Synopsis
Waking up to a fresh day in the bush, the clear blue skies signalled that we were in for another extremely hot summer’s day, but we headed out there keen to find some animals before the heat became oppressive; my main mission was to find a leopard, but Herold quickly changed that when he told me that he had tracks for the white lions walking straight past the lodge.
Having new guests that missed out on last night’s sighting, I turned around to go and give Herold a hand – not that he needed it, as I had no sooner picked up his tracker to take him to the tracks when he radioed to tell me that he had located the pride of lions resting about a kilometre east of the lodge, so I popped in to join him.

Warthog and sleepy white lions to start off the day
Being warm already, and clearly not having eaten last night, the lions did very little.  In fact, they did nothing and just slept off the morning as the temperature rose with the sun.
I decided to part company with them and continue looking for leopard; as Klakisa’s boys have been proving the best sightings of late, I headed towards the Nhlaralumi to check if they were around.  Going towards Sohebele Dam, we stopped to watch some impalas, and only after a few minutes did we spot the new born baby impala with them!  My first impala lamb of the season J

First impala lamb of the season
On the way, I got distracted by some fresh buffalo tracks for yesterday’s herd, and seeing as we didn’t see them all that nicely in the darkness last night, I decided to follow up.  While checking for them towards Mbali Dam, we found an elephant bull, but he wasn't playing along at all, and we soon left him too.

Elephant bull
What we didn’t find was more buffalo tracks heading towards Mbali Dam, but that was because they had changed their mind and headed to Java Dam instead, and after seeing the tracks heading there, we jumped ahead and found them at the dam.

Buffalo herd of Java Dam
Many were resting in the water, but the majority of the herd had moved off east and after the last one disappeared we used the dam for our own drinks stop.

Buffalo herd enjoying the cool water
Trying the Nhlaralumi area after coffee proved unsuccessful on the leopard front, but we did find another two elephant bulls as well as half a dozen buffalo bulls at Mbali Dam that we spent some time watching.

Waterbuck, elephant and buffalo at Mbali Dam
Heading back towards the camp, we kept trying for leopards, but our bad luck wasn't going to be broken, and we only found another few elephant bulls as well as several antelope species.

Elephants, kudus and Water lilies
The afternoon was one of the warmest yet, and I set off on drive with my new guests, that conveniently mentioned their desire to see the white lions (without prompting!); easy – they were only a kilometre from camp...well, they were!
On arriving at the area where they had been so static in the morning, Herold found nothing, so began tracking as the tracks headed north-west towards the Sohebele River.  At one of the private camps, the camp attendant told Herold that he had heard them being reported on Ingwelala, at what sounded like a river crossing on our northern boundary, right where the tracks were heading.  Oh dear.
I thus gave up on the idea of being able to show my guests the white lions, or any lions this afternoon, so decided to try for some leopards again and headed towards Vyeboom Dam, but not before enjoying a great sighting of Classic and another elephant bull drinking at Trade Entrance Dam, right by the lodge.

Classic and another elephant bull drinking at Trade Entrance Pan
Driving past Argyle Dam produced a nice relaxed bushbuck ram, as well as a surprisingly active hippo at the dam.

Bushbuck and hippo at Argyle Dam
I wanted to check the areas around Vyeboom Dam, particularly the riverbed, so went to the northern crossing, and as I was coming through, saw an Ingwelala member parked on their side of the boundary, but walking around; it was thus a bit surprising for me to have spotted the white lions not 50m from where this individual walking!!!!  I kindly asked him to return to the vehicle, which he did, but I am sure the lions had seen him, as they conveniently got up and walked south, deeper into our property!

White lions looking even worse after walking kilometres in the heat of the day!
They were looking even thinner, maybe the walk they took in the middle of the day to cover the 3-4km distance was taking its toll!

Xakubasa pride young male
The lions headed for the dam wall, much to the dismay of the baboon troop that was sitting there alarm calling.
One of the lionesses went onto the wall as if keen to try her luck, but they eventually all went static and we made space for the other stations that wanted to see them.

White lions watching baboons at Vyeboom Dam
Carrying on looking for leopards, we saw impalas, waterbuck and kudu, but sadly nothing with spots, nor the elephant herd that had been in the area that I was keen for.

Instead, we decided to stop and enjoy a much need sundowner to cool us down before once more returning to our leopard search.  It proved fruitless, and all we got to see after dark was a large herd of elephants that Herold had spent much of his afternoon watching.
Arriving back at camp after dark, the weather hadn’t changed, and I went to bed wondering how the weatherman’s prediction of a 27 degree day tomorrow was going to happen; he has however been known to be wrong on the odd-occasion...


  1. "...On the odd-occasion". LOL.
    Chad, the white lions look BAD! Some great pictures from you as usual, but I can not get over how urgent they need a massive meal.

    Thanks for the updates bud.

  2. It's so sad to see the white lions in such a poor condition. I really hope a miracle happens in the following days and they get something substantial to eat.

  3. Can you help them?