Tuesday, 3 January 2012

3rd January – All or Nothing!

Photo of the Day
Young Jacaranda Lioness
Morning Drive
(Chad, Petros and Grant)
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Java, Back of Java
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Java, Western Cutline
1 x elephant bull – Java, Western Cutline
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Leadwood Access
5 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Argyle Dam

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Petros, Shaddy and Grant)
5 x lions (Jacaranda Pride – 2 lionesses and 3 x sub-adults) – Argyle, Buffalo Pan Access
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr female) – Argyle, Argyle Dam
2 x rhinos (2 relaxed females)
1 x rhino (relaxed male)
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Karans, Majambi Dam
2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Long Rd
1 x buffalo bull – Argyle, Buffalo Pan Access
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Madash Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Back 9’s
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Peter Pan Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Java-Mbali Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Java-Mbali Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Sohebele Plains
1 x elephant bull – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access
Daily Synopsis
Howdy!  Hope that you all had a fantastic New Year and that 2012 has gotten off to a good start for you all!
Thanks Grant for taking over the blog for a few days, and I hope that I can continue sharing all the great sightings that we have had over the last few days.  Here are some of the images that I captured; was great having the Jacaranda Pride around for the last few days, and some good diversity of leopard (despite not taking photos, i saw: Kuhanya, Shongile, Makepisi, Umfana and Machaton male leopards) viewing in the north too – elephants dominated the sightings, but w also enjoyed good buffalo and rhino...besides the Big 5, only the south hasproduced good general game, with the north being a bit on the quiet side.

Some of the animals from the last few days
However, it didn’t get more quiet than it got this morning!  Having new guests that sadly missed out on our great Big 5 drive yesterday afternoon, I had some pressure to replicate it...by the end, I was just delighted to see impalas!
We started off with some good impalas on the airstrip, and approaching Vyeboom Dam we found a lone hyena that we followed until it found a dead fish that it picked up and walked off with before eating it.

Impala rams and a hyena with a fish she found (sorry its blurred!)

Trying to follow up on the Jacaranda Pride, we encountered waterbuck and then a large elephant bull that we spent time with before resuming our lion search.  Patrick went off on foot, but the hard ground made it slow going and he eventually lost the tracks, and we ran out of time so headed off back to camp.

Waterbuck, elephant bull and a tawny eagle on a very quiet morning!
I drove around the north, but had an extremely poor morning out – even impalas were difficult to find!  Down south, Grant and Petros got some good elephants, giraffe and zebras, but I struggled in the north.

Fortunately, I didn’t lose faith, as the trend of late seems that dead quiet mornings are followed by bumper afternoons, and this all-or-nothing pattern didn’t disappoint!
I had a new guest with me, and as my others had seen so little this morning, I had it all to do.  We started off with impalas, waterbuck and a wildebeest at Argyle Dam before heading to Sohebele Dam where a large elephant bull grazed on the plains as a herd of zebras joined the impalas at the water for a drink.

Zebra, impala and elephant around Sohebele Dam
While sitting there and telling the guys where to check for the lions that we tried to track in the morning, they bumped into them a couple hundred metres from where we had given up this morning!  With this great news, I relaxed a bit, but decided to head south to go and see some rhinos and elephants – the trip down was a bit uneventful, only seeing impalas and giraffe on route.

Impala and giraffe
Making my way towards the rhinos, we weaved through many elephants before eventually watching a nice herd that fed in a clearing right next to our vehicle – always a magic experience!

Elephant herd
As the elephants had chased the rhinos off this clearing, I had to go and join Shaddy in some thick bush, but we got to see the two relaxed females very nicely!  While watching them, the King’s Camp trackers found Umfana male leopard about 300m away, but as the leopard ran off, the game drives couldn’t relocate; it was fine, as I headed back north for the lions (which, in typical Murphy’s Law had a rhino and a buffalo in attendance!).

Rhinos and more elephants
The route back north saw me ticking off another four herds of elephants as well as some baboons, kudu, wildebeest and many impalas.
I arrived to find the lions resting in the open south of Buffalo Pan, and enjoyed a rather good sighting of them as they started stirring.

Jacaranda Pride Sub-adults
After a while, they eventually all got up and moved off north, we had one fantastic walk-by before letting them go on their way, and we headed for a drink at the nearby pan.

Jacaranda Pride getting ready to move off
As the Giyani had found a leopard at Argyle Dam, we didn’t spend too long at drinks, and headed in her direction – she had sadly lost her half-eaten impala kill to a hyena, but was still in the area.

Hyena after stealing Argyle Jnrs kill
It was Argyle Jnr, and despite a gash on her leg, she was looking great, and once more showing signs of lactating!  Last time we saw her, she had stopped producing milk, so clearly lost her first litter in four, but it appears that she definitely has new cubs! 
We had a beautiful sighting of her as she made her way towards where the hyena had dragged the kill, but when it pitched up again, Argyle Jnr snuck off into the long grass next to us and we left her in peace.

Argyle Jnr going to see if she could retrieve her kill
It was a great sighting to end off a great day!  I just hope that this quiet-morning syndrome doesn’t become a habit for our animals!  Although, if we keep having afternoons like we have had of late, I wont be all that upset!


  1. WOW WOW WOW!!!!!! Every time you post new pictures, I get goosebumps! you are truely talented, and you make my day even better when I start off viewing your beautiful photos. Just makes me miss the bush even more :( you have the best job in the world surrounded by magnificent sights! keep up the great work and looking forward to seeing and reading more exciting stuff. Catt

  2. LOVE YOUR PICS Chad but please give us some news on what has happened to the one white lion who was with the Jacaranda pride.Also any news of her sister and cousin.

  3. WOW, great post with stunning pictures as always Chad!
    Would also like to know about the white lioness and cousin?


  4. Fabulous photographs and account Chad! Wonderful to see the White Lions and the Buffalo. Best! Irene Grilo