Monday, 9 January 2012

7th January – Out of Luck with Lions

Photo of the Day
Makepisi male in the shadows

Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant, Herold and Shaddy)
2 x rhinos (2 semi-relaxed males)
2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Hanger Rd
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Long Rd
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Illegal Crossing
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam
2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Ingwelala Crossing

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Herold and Shaddy)
1 x leopard (Makepisi male) – Java, Broad Street
2 x rhinos (relaxed females)
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Lion Pan Rd
2 x buffalo bulls –Motswari, Xinatsi Dam
2 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam
5 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Western Nhlaralumi
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Argyle Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Makulu Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Double Highway
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Garage Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Peru Entrance
2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd North

Daily Synopsis
The morning saw us all looking for the return of some lions, so heading to the north-west seemed to be our best chance of picking up the Jacarandas...well, that was until Grant found out that they were tantalisingly close to Argyle Rd, but just out of view on a kudu kill – in the same spot they had killed a baby giraffe a day earlier west of Ntsiri Airstrip!  The good news is that the one white lioness is with them, and the other white lioness and tawny cousin are apparently united with a young male of a similar age, eating a buffalo in the Klaserie – so while we might not have our lions, at least they are doing well and we are ever hopeful of their return!
Starting with two lone elephant bulls and impalas near the lodge as I tried to track a herd of buffalos, the morning seemed positive as I slowly drifter towards Vyeboom dam; that was a picturesque sight with the brewing clouds in the west, but my favourite sighting was that of all the birds gathered below the dam wall to feast on the large number of fish stuck in drying pools below the dam wall – fish eagles, little egrets, great white egrets, marabou storks, grey herons, pied kingfishers and more, all of which were relishing this bounty, and seldom missing a fish – like shooting fish in a barrel I guess?

Scenery and wonderful birds at Vyeboom Dam - Marabou storks and pied kingfishers
As I was passing the dam, I was informed by Andries that he could see two rhinos from his camp, less than a kilometre from my position, so I headed over and found two males amongst some impalas and waterbuck.  They were semi-relaxed, and while they didn’t run off from us, they did move off.  We didn’t put pressure on them, but did relocate them on the otherside of the terminalia thicket, and enjoyed a fair sighting as we waited for Shaddy to arrive.

Two new male rhinos
Carrying on to Mbali Dam for morning coffee, we saw impalas, waterbuck and the now resident hippos in the dam.

It didn’t take us long to locate on a herd of buffalo that we began tracking as they bathed in the mud wallows that Makepisi male leopard normally frequents, but as he was still at the little remains of the kill, we knew he wouldn’t pop up!  The herd seemed rather nervous and soon moved off.

Buffalo herd wallowing in the mud to help with the irritating midges

Heading back to camp saw us ticking off giraffe, waterbuck and impalas, as well as the tail-end of a herd of buffalo at Xinatsi Dam – the same herd that eluded us this morning!

Buffalo herd leaving Xinatsi Dam
The afternoon involved checking the Wedge for any sign of leopard, but we didn’t even find any sign of life!  The warm day was keeping the animals hidden, so I stopped off at Motswari Private Camp to show my guests this beautiful lodge.

Resuming drive, we ticked off waterbuck and impala near Argyle Dam and then headed south.  Herold and Difference worked their magic and somehow spotted Makepisi male leopard resting under a fallen tree some distance from where he had finished his kill in the morning.  He was still relaxing there when I arrived.

Makepisi male leopard

On Java Airstrip, we had a nice herd of impalas with a zebra that we spent time with, before making our way further south.

Impala and a lone zebra
A herd of elephants disappeared into a massive mopane thicket as we arrived, but we still had a fair view before bumbling along to see two female rhinos feeding on the banks of the Nhlaralumi.

Elephant without a tail dustbathing
We stopped there for drinks after they moved off, and actually bumped into them further down the road when we continued with drive.  The trackers had been busy with lion tracks, but the number of elephants and buffalo bulls in the area made it a bit too risky to track further, and we resorted to trying Argyle Rd for a chance of seeing the lions on Ntsiri airstrip, but as Grant saw nothing but impala, wildebeest and hyenas there, I took a shorter route home, only adding black backed jackals to the list, as well as some zebras and impalas before arrive at camp, albeit a bit late!

Female rhinos


  1. Makepesi in the shadow... a great picture.
    Thanks Chad.

  2. Thanks for helping me to stay in touch with my wild side... your photos are lovely - hope to meet you in the bush one of these fine days!

  3. What a fantastic day !!!!

    Thank you Chad
    Delmar & Caroline

  4. thanks guys and gals! glad you all enjoying the blog!

    Hey Delmar and Caroline! thanks for follg the blog! hope it brings bck good memories :)

  5. I would like to come back soon, after seeing this pictures.

  6. Yes it does bring back great memories ! Would have rather been there among these amazing animals than in the office :(

    Best Regards
    Delmar & Caroline