Sunday, 18 December 2011

18th December – Wild Dogs Are Back!

Photo of the Day
Wild dogs on the hunt
Morning Drive
(Chad, Godfrey, Marka and Herold)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Wedge Northern Boundary
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access
3 x buffalos – Motswari, Umbabat Cutline

Afternoon Drive
(Chad and Herold)
10 x wild dogs – Jaydee, Nkombi Pan
1 x leopard (Mbali female) – Java, Java Airstrip
1 x leopard (unidentified male) – Motswari, Sean’s Clearing
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female) – Motswari, Camp
2 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Argyle, Great North
3 x buffalo – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Mpisi Khaya Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Tamboti Pan
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Karans, Western Cutline
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Hippo Rocky Rd

Daily Synopsis
Two of my guests arrived late last night, so joined for the first drive this morning – sadly it wasn't the sort of drive I wished to begin with!  As usual, Sunday’s are always quiet out here!  This morning was no different.
Heading off to check north of the camp for some leopard, or hopefully a lion popping in from Ingwelala, we found very little!  We did come across a small herd of elephants with a young baby that we spent time with, but besides some kudu and a few impala herds, it was quiet.

Elephant herd
Well, I thought that was quiet until the rest of the drive unfolded!  For the last two hours, we saw not much at all – a few distant hippos, crocodiles, nice birds, impalas and their babies, a business of mongooses, a troop of baboons and a lot of trees!
Towards the end of the drive we found some kudu bulls and a large giraffe, but overall it was not the most memorable morning for me!

Giraffe bull
This despite starting off with potential!  A pack of wild dogs were found on our southern boundary, but crossed south into Kings Camp where they were lost – stations tried to relocate for most of the morning with no luck.  It was thus mildly amusing that Peter from Simbavati found another pack by chance on his way home on the opposite side of the reserve!  While they could be members from the same pack, they definitely were not the same dogs everyone was looking for – something to look forward to for the afternoon I guess!  The Ross Pride had also finished their buffalo and moved back to the Klaserie, so now the lion struggle resumes!

The afternoon was indeed better – the wild dogs were still resting at Nkombi Pan, so most stations headed in that direction – this was accentuated when Giyani bumped into some rhinos in the area too; not wanting to rush straight there, I went to check a bit of the east first, and managed to tick off a few species that included three buffalos, as well as some zebras, impala and a lone wildebeest together on Kudu Pan Clearing.

Zebra, wildebeest and impala on Kudu Pan Clearing
Carrying on slowly to follow up on the rhinos, my timing turned out to be poor as a few vehicles got to the area first and took a long time to find the rhinos again.  I thus had to drive around to kill time while they looked for them – I did find a herd of elephants and spent a bit of time with them, but they were highly mobile, so it was not the easiest sighting.

Impala on Java Airstrip

Elephant herd
The rhinos were eventually located, but as there were already a few vehicles in the immediate area, I had to move on, but it wasn't the end of the world, as the wild dogs had just woken up and got mobile to the south.  I arrived to find them running down the road and followed for a while before they shot off into the thickest of blocks towards Sweetwater Pan!

Wild dog pack on the move
We tried to follow, but had no luck; guessing they would end up at the pan, we made it through and arrived about a minute before the dogs did!  After they crossed the Nyosi riverbed, we lost them.

Catching up to the dogs again
The rhino sighting was not far off, and not busy, so we headed over to see the two males as they fed about in the lush green grass in the last twilight glow; even a hyena came to investigate them before heading off!
It got too dark, so we headed the long way back towards camp – luckily the trip was broken by a quick stop at Mbali female leopard after Giyani found her near Java Camp.  As she was showing interest in impalas, I didn’t want to view her with the light, so we left her after a couple of minutes.  We also saw a porcupine on the airstrip.
Mbali - settling into a new territory on Java?
Godfrey and Marka had similar drives, but added a herd of buffalo to the mix, and Godfrey got to see a young male leopard on Sean’s Clearing – Dave meanwhile was enjoying an afternoon in camp when Kuhanya came waltzing through!
So all in all a day that ended well – just hope some lions pop up tomorrow – with the buffalo herds back, I’m sure some will!


  1. Thank you for sharing your wonderful travels and pictures, especially of the baby elephant. It's wonderful to see all these amazing animals in their natural habitat. Comming from Canada, you only can see some of these animals and if u do they are in very tight and small areas in Zoo's. By any chance have you heard anything about the white lions or the white baby lion? thank you, Cathrena

  2. Hi Cathrena!

    so happy that you are enjoying the blog - and its wonderful to know that people appreciate this blog - so great to share our amazing experiences with all those so far away from this magical place :)

    as for the white lions - no news on any of them - no luck finding any sign of the jacaranda pride and the cubs, and no reports of the white lions that moved into klaseris - although last i heard from 2 weeks ago was that they were still seperated...any news and we will definitely share it with you all :)