Tuesday, 10 January 2012

8th January – Shaddrack’s Magic – The Other White Lioness Returns

Photo of the Day
The 'other' white lioness returns - looking in great shape!
Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant, Herold and Shaddy)
2 x lions (Xakubasa Pride – 1 white lioness and 1 tawny male) – Jaydee, Madala Crossing
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Umbabat Cutline
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Jaydee, Makulu Dam
2 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Mfene Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Dizzy Drive
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Makulu Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Jaydee River Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Back of Java
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Hippo Rocky Rd

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant and Herold)
2 x lions (Xakubasa Pride – 1 white lioness and 1 tawny male) – Jaydee, Madala Crossing
2 x rhinos (relaxed females)
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Woza-Woza Cutline
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Java, Machaton Wedge
2 x buffalo bulls –Mbali, Mvubu Crossing
1 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, 1st Sharalumi Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Makulu Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Peter Pan Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Mbali Dam
1 x elephant bull – Vielmetter, Grasslands Rd
1 x elephant bulls – Jaydee, Makulu Dam
1 x elephant bulls – Jaydee, Tchwala Rd

Daily Synopsis
This morning was D-Day for Grant – his guests had been in Africa, at two premium reserves for 8 nights and hadn’t seen lions; this morning was their last morning, and almost giving up, 5 of them stayed at the lodge, so Grant went out with only one of his guests – a perfect recipe for something magic! 
With the whole reserve in desperate need of lions after 5 lionless drives, we all set off in different directions, checking all our boundaries.  I headed to the north-east, and enjoyed an hour of mopane trees before eventually seeing my first animals in the form of a lone wildebeest and a herd of impalas on a private airstrip in the east.  At the other end of the airstrip, we also had a kori bustard, the world’s heaviest flying bird!

Wildebeest, impala and Egyptian geese!
The east was dead.  Nothing.  Even tracks were not being found, so I was losing hope, as was everyone else as the morning wore on, and I stopped for coffee with some hippos at Scholtz Big Dam – although, to be fair, the impala sightings picked up prior to this!  Leaving coffee, fresh tracks for a herd of buffalo sadly crossed our southern boundary, and the warthogs and zebras we did find moved off quickly.  The morning took a turn when tracks for two lions were found heading towards another herd of buffalo at Makulu Dam.  With the trackers on foot, we had some hope, but this hope was realised quite quickly, and not long after my drinks stop, I heard Shaddrack had found the lions at Makulu Dam...and not the lions we thought they would be. 
Cheered up, I slowly headed in that direction, waiting for the line-up to clear, and I bumbled about Vielmetter looking for elephants, which I did eventually find after spotting loads of impalas and a pair of black-backed jackals.

Elephant herd
The elephant herd moved to a mudwallow and had a drink there before I left them and continued to the lion sighting, which I had told my guests about, just to cheer the mood up...what I didn’t tell them was which lions they were!

Drinking at a mud wallow
Arriving at the sighting, there in front of us lay a beautiful white lioness, right in the middle of the road!  The “other white lioness” and the tawny cousin that had, only yesterday, been on a buffalo kill with another young male lion in the Klaserie, had returned home!

Welcome home to the other white lioness!
The male barely showed himself, but the white lioness groomed and was at least awake, so we viewed her before making the long trip home as e passed kudus, impalas and a lone elephant bull!  The other guides enjoyed good elephants this morning, and Grant returned to camp, fetched his guests and made the long trip back down to the lions; he was rewarded with a fantastic sighting of lions, buffalo and elephants in one sighting – the young male lion even caused the buffalos to stampede back across the dam after they crossed right where the lions were sleeping!

White lioness
I had new guests in the afternoon, and with the lion pressure gone, I had a relaxed afternoon, and as they were here for three nights, I didn’t need to rush about.  Starting off with wildebeest and impalas at camp was a nice way to ease into the drive.
Wildebeest and impalas
I did venture south, seeing not all that much along the way, but once south, we had some distant zebras, a nice herd of wildebeests, and plenty of impalas.
Wildebeest herd
Not much further, we got to see those two relaxed female rhinos, and spent time with them before moving towards the lions.

White rhinos
We came across a small breeding herd of elephants and enjoyed their company before deciding to stop for a sundowner before going to see the lions, hoping they would be a bit more active in the cooling evening.

Elephant herd
Hippos at Makulu dam were not all that obliging, but as it turned out, more obliging than the lions that disappointingly just slept in the long grass and barely moved for the duration of our sighting – not quite that riveting, but hey, more “lion” than we have seen for the last three days!

Heading home was quiet, but it was still a good and pleasant start to my guests stay.  Hopefully tomorrow has a bit more action!


  1. Fantastic work. Love this good news about the white lions. They look so great. Makes me wish we were there again. I look forward to the blog everyday and really enjoy your reports and beautiful pics.I imagine you were so happy to see them Grant. A more pleasant sighting than we had that day we were there. Keep up the good work guys.
    Jen from Australia.

  2. Brilliant news Chad!!!
    Man, now if they can just join up with the other white lioness and the jacaranda pride!!!
    What do you think the chances are for that to happen Chad?

    Great pictures once again mate.


  3. I hope the white Lions are there in September. Well done for finding them

  4. Happy news and I hope the guest get you and the tracker some well decerved beers. Is this the white lioness that was so skinny some weeks ago?