Monday, 21 May 2012

19th May – Noisy Neighbours Keep Us Awake!

Photo of the Day

Grumpy Mafikizolo lioness!
Morning Drive


4 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride – 2 males and 2 females) – Peru, Malongo Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Xinkovanin Rd North

2 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Long Rd

1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Leguaan Rd

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Shadrack and Herold)

4 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride – 2 males and 2 females) – Peru, Malongo Rd

3 x lions (Sohebele males) – De Luca, Drongo Drive

2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Camp Dam

2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Argyle Dam

2 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Mfene Crossing

1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Camp Dam

Daily Synopsis
I say “us” like I actually heard anything.  And in a way, I am quite surprised I didn’t!!!  Having an evening drive filled with noises last night, this trend carried on as the Sohebele males finished their buffalo kill around midnight and began roaring to high heaven, only to have the Mafikizolo Pride return these roars from the opposite side of camp!  All I heard was my house mate snoring.

Regardless, at least it meant that there were two prides of lions out there to be found, so I headed to the airstrip to begin my search, but after an hour, I had still found nothing!  Instead, we did enjoy an obstinacy of buffalo bulls and a magical awakening of the bush over Argyle Dam as the baboon played on the dam wall and the hippos grunted in the water.  It was so cold out there this morning that I almost went to join the hippos in the water!

Buffalo and hippos at Argyle Dam
Moving onto Piva Plains, we had our usual impala herd with the lone, confused wildebeest – im sure they had a mild heart attack last night as the tracks indicated that the Mafikizolo Pride had walked across the plains, and the Simbavati guides soon found the resting near Sohebele “dam”. 

Impala and wildebeest
I was on my way to follow up on a buffalo herd when I decided to go and see the Mafikizolo Pride, as I really wanted my guests to see their young, but impressive male.  I arrived and found him sitting out in the open with no sign of the others, but when I repositioned and the agro young lioness jumped out of the bush growling, I knew I had found them!

Mafikizolo male

There was an extremely poor visual, so I tried to get to the other side of the thicket, making sure to give them a wide berth, but while trying to manoeuvre around a low tree, our moving of branches clearly upset the young female and she came charging out the bush at us!  We let her settle down again and then decided not to press them, and moved along.

Mafikizolo lioness
Our mission was then to find some elephants, and while two herds had been found near Vyeboom Dam, while watching waterbuck nearby, I could hear the earth-moving equipment working on fixing the dam, and knew I wouldn’t be going any closer to that, so I turned the opposite direction to go find my own elephants. 

One dagga boy later, and we came across a herd of about 15 elephants that were extremely relaxed and moved to within a few metres of us to feed on the surrounding bushes – a magical moment surrounded by silence and the odd snapping branch.

Buffalo bull and elephant herd
Coffee was calling, so we moved down to the Nhlaralumi and enjoyed sitting on the rocks in the sun as the caffeine kicked in and we warmed up very quickly – a far cry from the coldness of the morning.  Heading back to camp, we ticked off more waterbuck, impalas and a nice family of warthogs on Piva Plains before arriving home and enjoying a lovely breakfast. 

Waterbuck, crocodile and warthogs
The bushwalk was nice – hot! – but uneventful, and the afternoon saw us looking for a nice, chilled afternoon filled with leopards and rhinos.  Well, it ended up being filled with bushes and trees, but it was still enjoyable!  The elephants did eventually pitch up at camp during lunch.

Shadrack and Johannes had tracked down the Sohebele males resting about 1km east of their kill, and our guides chose to enjoy these lions in peace while the other lodges shared themselves between the two Jacaranda lionesses and the Mafikizolo Pride.  I popped into the latter on my way south, but the visual was poor, and with the other vehicle in the sighting going to close to the young lioness, I decided to rather just leave and do my own thing.  Luckily, that was the first and last vehicle I saw all drive.

Elephant at the Camp Dam during lunch
Trying a bit of the east for rhinos we saw only trees.  In the south, we saw trees, and an impala...then another...and then even an impala herd with some shy kudus!  Wow, it was picking up!

A bit further along, we had a herd of zebras, but their closest relatives, the rhinos, made no appearance as we checked on one of the clearings in the south, so with a magical sunset forming, we opted for a drink instead.

Zebra herd

Heading home, I tried looking for leopards on Vielmetter, but it was dreadfully quiet – in fact, barring a glimpse of a genet, we didn’t have luck until Java.  Pity then, all we saw were diurnal animals, but we passed nyala, impala, a big herd of wildebeest, steenbuck and duiker.  At Broken Dam we could hear the Mafikizolo Pride roaring close by as we watched a genet, but we headed back to camp (past another hippos) for a wonderful, warm dinner around the fire in our boma – so while not filled with game, it was still a great day!  


  1. Chad,

    What camera and lens combination are you using for most of your shots ?

    Fantastic as usual


  2. Hey Chad,

    Wow.. your work is just wonderful! Would you be interested in placing some of these or ones that you feel good to share into a website called "Paint My Photo"? It would be a place that artists could go to use photos like these for practice. Usually the artist contacts the photographer with the artistic impression they made to share back. What do you think.. would you be into this? I would love to paint from the inspiration I get when I look at your work!

  3. Hi Lori!

    Thanks for the wonderful comments - please feel free to get in touch with me on - i do allow artists to use my imges (and charge a small fee for full res images to be sent to them), but as long as it is for private use and not for commercial/reselling purposes, then feel free to use the images on the blog for inspiration :)

    thanks a lot for the comments!