Wednesday, 30 May 2012

29th May – Nthombi’s Killing Spree!

Photo of the Day
Mafikizolo male lion

Morning Drive


5 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride – 2 males and 3 lionesses) – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd

1 x leopard (Nthombi with 2 impala kills) – Vielmetter, Double Highway

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Entrance Dam

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Nkombi Pan

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Jaydee, Nkombi Pan

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Johannes and Shadrack)

5 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride – 2 males and 3 lionesses) – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd

1 x leopard (Nthombi with 2 impala kills) – Vielmetter, Double Highway

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Back Nines

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter-Java Cutline

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Peter Pan Access

Daily Synopsis

Chatting to Shadrack’s guests at breakfast, it sounded like a good morning, and Shadrack confirmed this for me – he saw lions, leopard, plenty of elephants and a herd of buffalo during the course of the morning, and this was great news for me, as I was joining him on drive this afternoon.

My Dutch family arrived, and I was mildly intimidated that the only place that Ingrid had been before was the impressive Serengeti, but based on her reactions to our first drive, we definitely weren’t outshone in that regard!

We had a pleasing first drive, and took it relatively easy.  I started off as usual heading towards Argyle Dam, and ticked off a lone male giraffe and some impalas along the riverbed, and found our hippos and crocodile quite inactive at the dam itself.

Hippos and impalas at Argyle Dam
I wanted to push south, hoping to follow up on the Mafikizolo Pride that had been seen in the morning, and chose not to head to Nthombi, as she had been found with not one, but two impala kills on the banks of the Nhlaralumi riverbed!  So I risked it and avoided her this afternoon, hoping to have luck instead tomorrow.  Johannes and Shadrack headed for the leopard sighting, and I was then worried that no one would have time to follow up on the lions, but luckily Giyani made quick work of the tracks and found them only a few hundred metres west of where they had been this morning.

This news allowed me to slow down my drive somewhat, as I only wanted to get to the sighting after dark, and I thus aimed in the direction of the new hyena den, but sadly, there was no one home.  Instead, we got to see a nice herd of elephants feeding along the banks of the Machaton river, and many of the young males entertained us by having some quite intense fights in the riverbed.

Young male elephants fighting
The females and calves eventually came down to the river and the young males moved off and played further downstream, some even pausing for a drink from the pools of water, while the females and calves showed us their ingenuity by digging in the sand to gain access to the clearer water that is just below the surface of the sand.

Females and calves arriving to drink and chasing the young males off
Darkness was approaching, and all the game drive vehicles had been through the lion sighting, to I headed over there, and compared to last week, out timing was spot on.  We had no sooner arrived with all the lions started to rouse themselves, and the yawning and grooming soon turned into action.

Mafikizolo male...AWAKE!
At first the now-three lionesses got up and moved off, leaving the very fat-bellied male watching on.  When the young male joined him, they both got up and sauntered off after the lionesses.

We followed behind, but in typical Mafikizolo fashion, the lionesses were not keen on the company and changed course if we jumped ahead of them – we thus stuck with the relaxed male, who clearly was not in the mood to walk, as he lay down every opportunity he got!

Reaying themselves for the night's hunting session

When he eventually moved off to join the lionesses, we left them to their own devices.  It was an encouraging sighting, as even with the addition of another nervous lioness, the pride remained sleeping in the open all afternoon, and maybe they are all eventually getting used to our presence!

Leaving the lions, we bumped into two rather relaxed jackals and spent time with them before moving off past a couple herds of elephants before stopping for a drink in the dark; not ideal, but worth it to see some active lions.

A pleasingly relaxed jackal!

The drive home was very quiet, only seeing a hippo at Java Dam, but it was still a good first drive for my guests, and with a bit of luck, there will be some leopards on show tomorrow morning!

And on a lighter note, go check out: for an interview that I did for one of the local nature magazines...its worth it, as you get to see me wearing a tiara!!!

Dont ask....


  1. LOL @ the tiara... Saw the inteview this morning and enjoyed it very much Chad.
    Great photos as always, let's hope you get some great shots of Nthombi tomorrow Chad.


  2. Everyone has commented on the tiara, not one person has mentioned the Minnie Mouse ears lol ! ;) Great pics as ever Chad. Rosie.

  3. Great elephant photos but the tiara is something else!!
    Sue and Andy UK