Friday, 13 January 2012

12th January: Life Is Good!

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Herold, Shadrack, Johannes & Andrea.)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Java – Broad Street.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Lily Pan Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Lily Pan Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / JayDee – Makulu Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Crossing Below Vyeboom Dam.
Leopard ( Machaton Male) / Mbali – White Syringa Link.
Leopard ( Kuhanya Female) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.

Afternoon Drive.

( Herold, Johannes & Andrea.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Mbali Dam.
Rhino ( 2 x Males)
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Marula Pan.
Lion ( 1 x Unknown Male) / Mbali – White Syringa Rd.
Leopard ( Machaton Male) / Mbali – White Syringa Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

After yesterdays amazing afternoon it would take a lot to beat and usually the drive after a great one is a bit of a wet blanket. Also with the current trend of the afternoons being incredible and the mornings being very quiet the odds were stacked against us. Being my guests last drive and having seen so much we were under no pressure and were not looking for anything specific, Wilddogs would be a nice added bonus though.

With us all heading our separate ways having different missions to accomplish. Johannes and Andrea were after Zebra and Giraffe and headed to the South. Herold was keen on following up on the Jacaranda Pride so he stuck to the North around Argyle and Sohobele Dams, while Shadrack found himself in the same boat as us and pretty much took in whatever came his way.

We headed out to the West to check along our traversing boundary see if the dogs had perhaps returned. The first part of the drive was very quiet on the actual mammal front but the roads were alive with tracks. We picked up the Jacaranda's tracks heading to the South East which Herold spent his morning following up on. We then found Leopard tracks also heading South along the Tsharalumi River, while we followed them up for a while Johannes found tracks for a single female Lioness, more than likely the White Timbavati female, on the Eastern side heading to the South East. She must have walked a full circle as when she eventually left Motswari our night watchman saw her heading to the North West.

Not having any luck with our Leopard tracks we continued to the West were the tracks for cats were replaced by Buffalo and Elephant tracks. Still no actual physical animals though apart from a couple lone Elephant Bulls we picked up heading South. Shadrack had the first mornings luck with finding a massive herd of Elephant approaching and then swimming in the Tsharalumi River very near to Mbali Dam. Apparently this sighting was amazing and lasted most of the morning as the guys visited them hearing they were not going anywhere fast.

Herold did not have any luck with his Lion tracks but he did pick up on a Impala carcass that was hanging in a Maroela Tree with Machaton Male feeding from it. Unfortunately due to his shy daytime behaviour he soon climbed down from the tree ad hide himself in the surrounding thick vegetation. With there being a fair amount of meat left on the carcass the guys will try again on afternoon drive after dark when he is far more relaxed.

Our morning looked like it was one to be filled with the signs and tracks of all living things but no actual physical animals. Still on the West and nearing our Southern boundary we picked up on the tracks for the other White Timbavati Female and her cousin. From the tracks it looked like they were from the morning before,after the rain, so not really worth following up. We did however check on them for interest sakes and they led us directly West towards our traversing boundary and it would appear they have returned to the Klaserie. This means they are moving away from their sister and it could be some time before the big reunion we all are willing for.

Turning back to the North we picked up on Rhino tracks but no Rhino, this now completed our “ Big Five Signs,” for the morning. The challenge now was to see the actual animals that made them!

As we got further North we started to pick up on a fair amount of general game and even got to see the large herd of elephant that most of the guys had been watching all morning. They had finished with there bathing and had moved off to sand bath while still wet and begin to feed again. We spent a fair amount of time with them before having to head off to camp for breakfast. 

Nearing camp we received a message from Andrea that she had found Kuhanya on the airstrip up one of her all time favourite trees. Not having closed down yet and thinking of no better way to end our Safari than to see a relaxed female Leopard lying in a Marula Tree we responded.

With a sighting that typifies Africa etched into our guests memory we returned to camp on last time. With things quietening down at the lodge after a very busy Christmas and New Years, come to think of it the last six months, I'll be off drive until I go on leave next week. This does however mean that the blog will not be as detailed as usual but I'll keep a daily sightings report plus add the highlights of the guys drives.

So not being out on drive this afternoon things kept to their trend of late with it being a bumper full and the “ Big Five Drive” available should you wish. The highlight though must surely go to Herold who returned to the Impala carcass he had found high up in a Marula Tree during morning drive. He returned late hoping the Leopard that had hoisted it up there would be a bit more relaxed with it getting dark. He was right and the new big male in town was far more relaxed with their presence. It may have had to do with him being preoccupied though, as he stood back and watched while a male Lion climbed, Herold said it was more like clawed, his way up the Marula Tree, breaking a massive branch on his way, dislodging the carcass and then proceed to feed on it under the tree after falling out! He was not sure of who this male was as he had a dark mane, indicating he is not that young and was alone. He was also very shy of the vehicle and everytime they approached he would move off with his meal. Some day for Herolds guests as they not only got to see the Leopard but also the bonus of a tree climbing Lion, a very rare creature indeed! Could only happen with Herold! So Chad........ it is not only you who misses out on the great stuff!


  1. Man, it is a pity that the white lioness and cousin is moving away from the other white lioness. But in the wild, nothing can be taken for granted, and hopefully they return soon.
    Would have loved to see the male lion climbing the tree and dislodging the impala.
    So Chad is away and his girlfriend shows up, quite relaxed as well... How is her injury?


  2. Good to see Kuhanya pictures. Thanks for those.
    Sue and John

  3. Hi Lourens,

    Kuhanya's injury has magically disappeared as she shows no signs of it. It's amasing how resiliant wildlife is and what we think is major turns out to be minor in their lives.

  4. GREAT news about Kuhanya, thanks for the feedback guys (Grant/Chad) :-)