Friday, 11 May 2012

10th May – Rockfig Jnr and Cub put on a Show for Grant’s Birthday!

Photo of the Day

Rockfig Jnr and cub playing
Morning Drive

(Chad and Herold)

2 x leopards (Rockfig Jnr and cub) – Kings, Double Highway

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Northern Access

1 x elephant bull – Karans, Western Cutline

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Grant and Herold)

2 x leopards (Rockfig Jnr and cub with impala kill) – Kings, Double Highway

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Motswari, Camp Dam

1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Camp Dam

1 x buffalo bull – Argyle, Mfene Crossing

1 x buffalo bull – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom

1 x buffalo cow – Argyle, Ingwelala Crossing below Vyeboom

Daily Synopsis

So I joined Herold again this morning drive, taking one of our loyal blog followers, Len, on a day of private drives to enjoy some photographic opportunities and a bit of time to do our own thing...while Grant might have taken the drive, seeing as it was his birthday, we decided to let him sleep in and throw a bucket of water on him happy birthday mate!

The morning was another very cloudy and miserable morning that didn’t provide much in the way of photographic opportunities as we found our baboons and hippos at Argyle Dam.  Carrying on, we passed some nice birds, impalas and a pair of steenbuck as we headed towards the Nhlaralumi.

Steenbuck anda  Verraux's eagle-owl being mobbed by a drongo
There was not much out along the river; a pair of bushbuck, a couple of male giraffes, a few hippos in the water pools along the river course, a magnificent male kudu and a small herd of kudus that just ran off.

Giraffe and kudus
Marka, driving guests at Java that are here to basically see one animal – leopards – could not have done better this morning.  He was near to where Cynet from Kings had found Rockfig Jnr south of Double Highway, but had lost her when she crossed the Machaton River; Marka was in the area and went to give him a hand, and managed to relocate her – his reward?  Well, a few minutes later, she stumbled on a herd of impalas and managed to stalk and catch one in mid-air right in front of them!

I stopped for a welcomed cup of coffee before moving into that area, knowing that she would go fetch her cub almost immediately, and my timing was near perfect – as I was nearing the area where she was moving in, I was told that she had began calling for her cub, and I arrived just after the cub had come out of hiding and Len and I spent the next hour photographing them!

Rockfig Jnr and cub
The two were in a very playful mood, and while the opportunities were difficult with the cloudy weather and long grass, we thoroughly enjoyed our time with them.

Playful partners!
They eventually moved off along No Name River and we followed as best we could through some tricky terrain.  They came across a herd of impalas that the cub went running after, but mom’s calls brought him running back, and we eventually left them about a kilometre from the kill, heading straight back there.

Mom leading junior back to her fresh kill
On the rush home, we did pass one elephant, but not much else.

My afternoon was a chilled affair in the north; Grant joined drive and took his guests south to see the leopards on the kill, while Herold was out east and found a massive rhino bull drinking at a mudwallow.

I didn’t leave Argyle Property, and had been out looking for a herd of buffalo that had been around in the morning.  While not finding the herd, we did a lone female buffalo that looked a bit ill, and had no doubt been left behind when the herd moved off.  While watching her, a herd of giraffes popped out into the Nhlaralumi.

Buffalo cow and giraffe in the Nhlaralumi
A little further along the river, while enjoying a waterbuck, saddle-billed storks and a distant buffalo bull, some impalas burst out into a chorus of alarm calls not far off, and I raced over there, but sadly had no luck locating on the leopard that had caused them so much concern.

Waterbuck and saddle-billed storks in what was once Vyeboom Dam
Carrying on to Voel Dam for a drink, we enjoy another pair of steenbucks, warthogs, some birds of prey, a herd of zebras and a hippo in the dam.

Steebnuck, warthogs, dark chanting goshawk and zebra herd
After drinks, Len was content to slowly head back to camp, so I double checked the northern boundary to see if any lions had come in for the buffalos, but besides a chameleon and another buffalo bull, we didn’t see much.  At the camp, we were treated to a couple of hippos grazing near the camp, and the herd of buffalos had just finished drinking at the dam in front of the lodge and moved off to the north.
Hippo feeding near the airstrip
So all in all, not a bad day, but seems as though another lion drought is on the cards; lets hope that this changes soon!


  1. Absolutely magic shots of the leopards, they lift my spirits! Thank you Chad.

  2. Congrat GRANT !

    Eva 0 Christer

  3. I love Juniors eyes. They are so beautiful. Looks like your luck is back. Thank you so much for the pics. Happy Birthday Grant!

  4. Congrats on your birthday Grant (Rather late than never ;-) )
    Great shots as usual Chad. Love the new leopard cub. Great shots of the giraffes as well.


  5. Photography is just sheer guenius