Saturday, 19 May 2012

18th May – Full of Fat Friends!!!

Photo of the Day
Sohebele male tucking into his buffalo

Morning Drive

No drive

Afternoon Drive


3 x lions (Sohebele males on buffalo kill) – Motswari, Kevin’s Camp

2 x lions (Jacaranda sub-adult lionesses) – Peru, Concrete Crossing

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd South

3 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Peru Entrance Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Argyle Dam

Daily Synopsis

With Grant’s guests having had an amazing five days and leaving early this morning, there were no drives directly from the lodge, but the guys out in the bush had a fair morning – Giyani found a rhino and a calf as he searched for a herd of buffalos in the north; luckily the buffalos headed north, so we had a mission for the start of the afternoon drive.

With my brother and sister-in-law visiting me, I was hoping the animals would play along, and for a first drive, I don’t think that they can have any complaints!  We started off heading straight to Xinatsi Dam to see if the buffalo herd had arrived yet, but sadly only found three buffalo bulls there, and tracks for the herd moving away to the east.  Luckily, they hadn’t moved far and a bit further down the road, they appeared amongst the thick mopanes, so we enjoyed time with them and a large number of yellow-billed oxpeckers – still amazing to think that only a few years ago we didn’t see these birds in our area!

Buffalo bulls, buffalo herd and dark chanting goshawk with a lizard kill
Leaving the herd, we heard that another herd (try say that after a few bottles of wine!) was making their way to Xinatsi Dam from the south, but I had the intentions of going to see another buffalo instead...well, not really a complete buffalo, but a buffalo none-the-less!  Arriving at the site of the Sohebele males’ buffalo kill, we found all three brothers busy feeding and goring their already fat bellies on the kill and spent a lovely time watching these boys feast.  The last time my sister-in-law had seen them, they were little cubs of 5-months old! 

Sohebele males feeding on the buffalo
With the vultures gathering in the dead trees and snooping around for scraps, the lions didn’t move far from the kill, but two brothers shifted to the road and flopped over into a comatose state, no doubt brought on by eating far more than they should have!

Hooded vultures around some fat and sleepy lions
We took this as our cue to leave and headed to Argyle Dam for a drink; along the way we enjoyed some impalas rutting, a herd of shy zebras that ducked behind a tree, two herds of waterbucks and some distant hippos – but more importantly, a wonderful sundowner whilst listening to the hippos in the distance; in fact, it was a night filled with amazing sounds!

Waterbuck and impalas
Following drinks, I thought I might try my luck with the two young Jacaranda lionesses that had been located near Concrete Crossing, and slowly bumbled along there.  To my shock, the area was “busy” with vehicle activity, and for the first time in a week I actually saw a few other people in the north!!!  Oh dear, I hope my quiet playground hasn’t been discovered!  Anyway, a couple of lights flashing about in the distance didn’t put us off too much, and we soon relocated the lionesses still lazing about in the middle of the rocky river bed, but their fat bellies meant that they had no reason to move any time soon...and well, they didn’t!  The surreal screams of a nearby elephant herd were probably the most memorable moments of the sighting, and we bumped into them on the way out.

More fat and sleepy lions; Jacaranda sub-adults!
As this wasn't going to provide the excitement I was after I went to see if the Machaton male leopard had returned to one of his impala kills, but while there was enough meat to warrant a return, it was clear that he had abandoned it and moved on, and so did we.  Going past Argyle Dam, we got spoilt with several hippos out the water, including a mother and her tiny baby!  We again were kept company by the sounds of a herd of elephant feeding in the woodlands on our right, as well as a hyena’s whooping call, but the sound of dinner was strong too, so we ambled back to camp for a marvellous dinner under the starlight with just the four guests in camp, and looked forward to what tomorrow might bring!


  1. LOL those Sohebele boys look about 36 months pregnant !! Rosie.

  2. Hey Chad, I love reading your blog -- to me it's like going for a quick game drive when I get home. Have been going to Ingwelala since 1984 and just love the place. Question -- you seem to be happy to stop ( switch off engine too ? ) and just sit amoungst breeding herds of Elephant ?? Whilst I really like these magnificent beasts , I have always given them a wide berth and have found them rather keen to do the same with us ?? I could handle the odd cheeky mock charge from the babies but the big mommy's not - - - Your comments??

  3. Morning!

    Thanks for the kind words, and glad you can enjoy the bush while living in the city!

    Oh yes, most definitely switch off the engine when viewing elephants!!! the sound of a running engine annoys them, hence them chasing you/other vehicles away. We park at a 20-30m distance, turn off and sit quietly - if the elephants are happy to come feed 5m from you then, they will...if not, they will move off in a direction away from you...but the engine must be off :) the breeding herds in the area are extremely relaxed and will approahc very closely without hassles...just be aware of elephant bulls in musthe, and rather dont even view them and look for more elephants :)

    hope that helps!