Wednesday, 15 February 2012

14th February: Show Me The Love!

Pic Of The Day!
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Herold & Shadrack.)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari Northern Access.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Vielmieter – Vielmieter Entrance.
Leopard ( Argyle Jnr) / Argyle – Mpisi Kaya Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Herold & Shadrack.)

Lion ( Timbavati Pride: 2 x Females & 4 x Cubs.) / Buchner.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Buchner.

Daily Synopsis.

Being the day of love we were all hoping that our animals would show us some in the form of appearing so that we may marvel at them. We got off to a great start with a nice Bull Elephant literally just outside camp, ah.......... things were going to plan. Having got a good view of him we left him to his feeding while we headed North towards the tar road where we were going to ta ta ma chance and see if we could get lucky with Lion. Having checked everywhere else over the past couple of days it was our last resort. I'm not sure why we don't drive the tar road more often as we found ourselves a very relaxed herd of Giraffe that seemed intrigued by the vehicle and approached us within a couple of metres.

Not far from them we also had a nice herd of Impala and a family group of Jackal that were soaking up the mornings rays on the Ntsiri Airstrip. Things appeared to go from strength to strength when a sighting of Argyle Jnr with a kill was called in. Decision time, hearing that she had a fair amount of meat left on the carcass and the fact that our guests had already seen Leopard very nicely we decided to push on South along our Western boundary in search of Lion. Herold did however respond though but unfortunately when he arrived at the site she had moved off into a inaccessible drainage line leaving them with no visual. On a positive she was heard to be calling out to her cubs and they must be tucked away somewhere close, so maybe this afternoon we will see a whole lot of loving.

It appeared that we had made the right decision in not responding and stopping for morning coffee we looked forward to as a productive second half as we had the first. Resuming recharged and vitalised, amazing the power of caffeine, we continued our search for Lion. It however appeared the wildlife had taken an extended break and our morning turned very, very quite. So quiet in fact that we only found ourselves a Chameleon the rest of the drive. A nice rarity during the day and lucky for us a request from one of our guests, so that made their day.

Shadrack had headed South and apart from a couple of Dagha Boys he had himself a very uneventful morning. After his shadow Leopard Herold found tracks for Lion that he spent the rest of the morning following up on but it would appear the tracks were a couple of days old and it all got a bit confusing and difficult to work out with the different soil types and recent weather conditions.

With our guests having left without seeing Lion, Murphy's Law will have it that they magically appear this afternoon. We counting on it.

With us facing another hot afternoon drive we headed out there hoping things would have improved from this morning. Jacky and myself decided to head straight South via Sohobele Dam down to Java where we were in search of Elephant or Leopard on the property and if failing there we would head down to Vielmieter and check the areas of Hide, Entrance and Elephant Dams. Herold headed to the North East and then looped round to the West along the tar road, pretty much what we had done in the morning. I was not to sure where Shadrack had headed off to until I received a very broken message telling me that he had found what I thought he said was Lions. Stopping the vehicle hoping that would improve the quality of the message I asked him to repeat his message. Once again it came through very static but I definitely heard Lions and getting a very broken location I know understood why we could not copy one another, he was off the reservation in the North East on a property we very seldom drive. Not needing anything more we immediately turned the vehicle around and started the long pilgrimage North. I'm not sure what possessed Shadrack to head up there but we were sure glad he had.

 With the drive taking us nearly an hour we arrived shortly before sunset which allowed us enough time and light to view the cubs nicely. Pulling into the sighting the two mothers were lying out in the open while an older cub suckled from the one not showing any discomfort with the vehicles. The other three cubs all sook shelter in a nearby bush somewhat shy and not allowing the best sighting. We immediately recognised the mothers as the aunts of the White Lions and the older non nervous cub as the one's daughter that we had seen on a number of previous occasions in and around Motswari. The three younger more nervous cubs were those that we had seen shortly before the floods on a Buffalo Kill on Motswari. As they had frequented the Sohobele Riverbed days before the floods we were unsure of their fate and it was great to now know that they had survived!

With time on our side and alone in the sighting we decided that we would spend the rest of our afternoon with them in the hope that they would relax and come out of their hiding. Sitting their quietly and patiently it was not long before one gained the courage to venture forth and come join his aunt and cousin. This seemed to peak the interest of his brother and he to popped out of hiding to join the cuddle session. There sister was not as sure and she hung back in the shadows. We sat as they became totally relaxed with our presence and eventually paid us no attention and went about their playing and antagonising of one another, typical brothers. Missing out on all the fun their sister eventually gained the confidence to come out and join the party.

With all the commotion they created it woke their mom and it was not long before they were climbing all over her including her in their play. As is with all children there was a time for the games to come to an end and bath time to begin. One by one mom lured them in and went about giving them a good grooming much to their protest. With it getting dark and our tyre that had been slowly leaking air the entire time we had been sitting there we decided it best that we take our leave and head for sundowners and a tyre change.

We had defiantly been shown the love this afternoon, Happy Valentines Day!


  1. So happy to hear about the lion cubs and such great pictures of them. thanks for sharing!

  2. LOVE the pics!!! :-)