Tuesday, 20 December 2011

19th December – Mafikizolo Pride Show Themselves!

Photo of the Day
Mafikizolo male

Morning Drive
(Chad, Godfrey, and Marka)
6 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Jaydee, Makulu Rd
1 x leopard (Mbali Female) – Java, Sjambok Pod
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Mbali Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Elephant Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Sjambok Pod
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Peru Cutline
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – De Luca, Argyle Rd
2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Reception

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Godfrey, Marka and Herold)
6 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Jaydee, Vielmetter-Alberts Cutline
2 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Motswari, Bush Braai Rd
2 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Flooded Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Java-Mbali
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Java-Mbali
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Hlaramisa Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Jaydee, Makulu Dam

Daily Synopsis
Following on from a good afternoon yesterday, I was keen for a chilled morning – it didn’t quite work out that way, but it was a fair morning never the less.
It started with two buffalo bulls standing 30m from where we had the land rovers parked at reception, so that is always a good start!

Buffalos at the car park at the start of drive

Carrying on, I headed to the west to look for a herd of buffalo that was about yesterday afternoon, and half-hoped that some lions would follow them onto the property.  There was not a great deal about besides hippos, waterbuck and a massive crocodile at Vyeboom Dam. 

Waterbuck at Vyeboom Dam

Sadly the buffalo tracks crossed straight into Ingwelala, so I left the area – two lions were also following behind as hoped, but their tracks too crossed into Ingwelala.  Giyani had found a leopard that he couldn’t identify, but ended up being Mbali; seeing as our sighting had been so short yesterday, we headed over to see her, but did make a slight de tour to drop Petros off with Godfrey as they tried to track down some lion tracks on Jaydee.

Along the route, we saw impala, waterbuck, our baby nyala on Jaydee River Rd, a very nervous elephant bull that just ran off, and an awfully distant herd of elephants in the Nhlaralumi that we couldn’t find as we drew closer!
So off to the leopard, and it was a fair sighting – she was up in a marula, sleeping in an awkward spot for photographs, but was still nice to see her and the elephant herd feeding in the nearby thickets.  As she showed little sign of movement (pleasingly due to her fat belly), we left her and went for coffee.

Mbali resting up a marula tree - albeit not all that obligingly!

Only as I arrived at Sohebele Dam did Godfrey radio to tell me that he had found six members of the Mafikizolo Pride, but I decided to leave it for the afternoon, as it was already late in the morning.  I ticked off another lone giraffe, impalas and some nice birds around the dams before heading back to camp for a bush walk after breakfast.

Brown Snake Eagle

The lions were still about in the afternoon, so slowly made my way there but tried to follow up on some buffalo tracks near the camp, but wasn't having luck besides with two buffalo bulls – fortunately Johannes was better than me and soon got them near Bush Braai – so I ambled over to see them.

Buffalo herd near camp

Carrying on south there wasn't much about – impalas, a few waterbuck, and two small herds of elephants that we spent time with.

Elephant herd

Hearing that some rhinos were not too far from the lions, and as we saw them in the dark last night, I took the guests to see them in the daylight – bypassing Makulu dam, we saw a few hippos before arriving at the rhinos as they fed about.


Leaving them to go see the lions, I was hoping to get more action from them, but it wasn't to be, and the six members slept soundly – the big male being the only really cooperative one who lay in the open.  One cub moved, and the grumpy female growled a warning at as and was a muscle twitch away from mock-charging the vehicle, so we didn’t go any closer to her – despite this, she settled down and even with the whole pride about, they seemed quite chilled and we had a fair enough sighting.

Mafikizolo Pride

Drinks at Makulu Dam produced some hippos and two elephants playing in the water in the distance – but the light was fading so we headed back to camp, not seeing anything along the way.  Still, was an enjoyable day, and happy to have some lions back in the north!

Sundowners at Makulu Dam


  1. Chad, do you already know what happened to the white lions. They were so lean whe saw them the last time. And the white cub? And if you know more about the really sick looking lions from the Ross pride please share.

  2. Hi Tiny!

    Thanks for the message - nope, no news on the white lions - last we heard was over a month ago when the lone lioness killed a buffalo on ntsiri - then moved into klaserie and i heard one report she was still on her own 2 weeks ago - no news on the other two...

    as for the ross pride, seeing as i hadnt seen them for over two years prior to the weekends sighting, im not holding my breathe on seeing them again any time soon! doesnt look good for the females, but 4 healthy adults and a big male should be enough to see the pride survive :)

  3. Thanks Chad. Keep reading the blog hope to hear good news about the whities in the near future.And thanks for sharing these wonderfull pics every day.