Sunday, 17 June 2012

16th June – I Never Predicted That!

Photo of the Day

Herold and Difference and their guests enjoying a sighting of a pride of lions

Morning Drive

(Herold and Chad)

6 x lions (3 x males, 3 x females) – Karans, Majavi Dam

1 x rhino (Nhlangula male)

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Hamerkop Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Lucky’s Rd West

1 x buffalo bull – Mbali, Mvubu Crossing

Afternoon Drive

(Herold and Chad)

6 x lions (3 x males, 3 x females) – Karans, Majavi Dam

5 x rhinos

Daily Synopsis

Heading out this morning, I had one mission, to slowly make my way south to go and see Umfana male leopard on his impala kill that he had safely stashed up a tree last night. While I wanted to go and check out in the east to see if the lions had indeed gone to Majavi Dam, as I had seen them last night, I took a more central passage south, past Argyle and Sohebele Dams. It was a slow start to the morning, but in the beauty of a rising sun, we saw the hippos already fast asleep in Argyle Dam as well as a couple of herds on impalas on the open areas around there.

Sunrise ovr Argyle Dam and impalas in the area

Carrying on south, I bumped into Marka and suggested he goes to check for lions and rhinos in the east, but he opted to move west towards another rhino sighting instead and I carried on south. While it was quiet, I was confident in seeing a leopard, as a minimum...but then, the call came through that as the station that was checking up on the leopard approached, they noticed lion tracks leaving the area; then much to my disgust, the news came through that there was no more kill. There was no leopard. Bugger.

Somehow, these lions had managed to scale the tree and steal the kill, and with that, my plans got thrown out the window, but I decided to continue south in the hope of finding some sign of the leopard, or even the lions. I tried the hyena den along the way, but only found one adult hyena that soon moved off and with that, so did we.
Hyena from the den site
It was frustratingly quiet about, but we soon heard the unmistakable cracking of branches and located on a nice elephant herd that we spent a bit of time viewing as the calves played around with one another, quite oblivious to our presence.

Breeding herd of elephants
After coffee at Entrance Dam, and no sign of the leopard, we pushed back north, eventually finding a nice herd of giraffes feeding near the road.

A bit further along the road to a rhino sighting, we saw some nice dwarf mongooses moving about on a fallen tree next to the road which is always a treat, and not long after them, we relocated the male rhino still resting in the shade of a mopane thicket; while he wasn't overly active, it was still nice to see such a large beast at close-quarters.

Dwarf mongooses and Nhlangula male rhino
Our time was ticking by, and so I carried on back towards the lodge, not seeing a great deal, but sightings included a nice buffalo bull that strolled past the vehicle, and some distant waterbuck, impalas and hippos out of the water at Argyle Dam.

Old buffalo bull
So despite having got my prediction on the leopard sighting wrong, I was at least pleased to hear that the new pride of lions had been located by our trackers at...yes, Majavi Dam; something for the afternoon then!

The afternoon’s mission was to find some spots. Leopards appear to be almost extinct in our area at the moment, but I decided to search all the old haunts of our resident leopards in the north, but once more came up empty. Well, not empty empty; we did see two nice herds of kudus, impala, a business of banded mongooses, and even a herd of nyala ewes.

Kudu cow, a shy kudu bull and a nyala ewe
As the sun was dipping towards the western horizon, I decided to shift my attention to the lions near our eastern boundary, and made my way to the area where Herold was already sitting watching them with his new guests.
Sunset over Motswari
Unfortunately Herold radioed me to tell me that the lions were awake and now moving towards the eastern Kruger boundary, and if they crossed, that was good-bye lions. I put a bit more pressure on the accelerator, and arrived just as the lions popped out onto the Kruger Boundary.

Luckily, five of the members lay down, so we got to spend about ten minutes with them before, one-by one, they got up to go and join the sixth member in the bushes.

New Pride resting on Kruger Boundary
We sadly watched as they walked past Herold and then disappeared into the Kruger Park – not even a hyena walking along the Kruger boundary was enough to entice them back and I soon left them and went for a drink.

Lions moving off into Kruger and beyond...
It was a beautiful sunset that we enjoyed at Kudu Pan before setting off to try and find some leopards in the dark; it was again a quiet drive, and I couldn’t even find the rhinos I was hoping would be in the area (that was because Herold located them after dark in the area where I had been drinking, oh well!).

Sunset at Kudu Pan
Tracks for two lionesses heading towards Klipgat Crossing from earlier in the afternoon didn’t materialise into a sighting for us, and beside a glimpse of a genet, a distant bushbaby and a civet in the road, we saw very little, and I closed down at camp feeling a bit despondent about my failures this afternoon, but I guess I should remember that tomorrow is always another day!


  1. don't feel despondent - I love looking at your stunning photos and everyday wish I was there to enjoy the animals, sunrises and sunsets! And just look forward to tomorrow.

  2. Love that last photo, it almost looks like it's inverted!

  3. Chad, STUNNING photos of the lions, and landscapes bud!!!
    Welcome back :-)
    Lets hope for some spots soon, hopefully leopard spots...