Friday, 1 June 2012

31st May – Bad Timing, Kuhanya!

Photo of the Day

Kuhanya deciding to leave her tree before some guests actually get to see her!!!

Morning Drive

(Chad and Herold)

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi

1 x buffalo bull – De Luca, Argyle Crossing

Afternoon Drive

(Johannes and Herold)

1 x leopard (Umfana male with impala kill) – Vielmetter, Entrance Dam

1 x leopard (Kuhanya female) – Motswari, Sharalumi Access

1 x rhino (Nhlangula male)

1 x buffalo bull – Jaydee, Nkombi Pan

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Java Access

Daily Synopsis

Heading out on my last drive for the next couple of weeks, I was hoping to end it off with a bang, but from the start, it had that air of being a quiet morning. I needed buffalo, and went to follow up on the buffalo herd that Herold had near camp yesterday –it took ages to even find their tracks, but it looked like they had headed back the same way they came, and into one of the biggest blocks of land in our area. It was rather quiet driving around, but luckily there was a gorgeous sunrise to keep us company.

Gorgeous sunrise over a slighly misty bushveld
A few impalas and shy kudu came into view, but no buffalos. Eventually tracks for a much larger herd of buffalos appeared, but the tracks were a day old, and Giyani eventually found them on his way up to Buchner. I thankfully did get lucky with buffalo – which considering that there were tracks and droppings on every road I drove should not have been a surprise. Pity it was only one buffalo! Still, it was one buffalo more than I had seen the last few days and we spent some time watching him.

Its a buffalo! At last!
Carrying on to look for some zebras, I headed towards our Airstrip and Argyle Dam – we saw a lone wildebeest, impalas, baboons and some steenbuck on the way, but no zebras.

Wildebeest, impala and baboons

Coffee at Lover’s Leap was most welcome as we saw watched waterbucks and hippos in and around Argyle Dam, but the morning was quiet across the reserve. Giyani had found a relaxed male rhino in the east, but having had good rhinos yesterday, I didn’t respond. Umfana male leopard’s kill was there, but he had moved into the undergrowth to sleep, and there was no visual of him, much to Herold’s frustration. He too had tracked the wild dogs back south, off the property, but late in the morning did find two large breeding herds of elephants.

Waterbuck and impalas on Piva Plains
I didn’t see a single elephant all drive, but things picked up a bit with nice waterbucks, impalas, good birds, and later, back at Argyle Dam, we found our zebras – a herd of 12 that were feeding in the riverbed right below Lover’s Leap – clearing its all about timing!!!

Lilac breasted roller, crocodile, fish eagle, impala, waterbuck and zebras

We headed back to the lodge, seeing some nice warthogs feeding alongside the road, and some more on the airstrip to round off a fair morning – no big stuff, but always enjoyable...

Warthogs feeding

Talking of timing...Kuhanya timed it badly! My guests had checked out, we had finished our rangers meeting, so it was now the middle of the day and I was getting ready to sit down and do the blog when Johannes radioed to tell me that was with “my girlfriend”; is there anything that man can’t find? I’ve been looking for her for 29 years and here Johannes just bumps into her!!! Then I realised he actually meant Kuhanya when he said that she was sleeping up a tree a few hundred metres from the lodge – only mildly disappointed and not having taken a photo of her for some time, I headed out there and spent time watching her resting (in a non-romantic way) – the light was awful as the clouds moved in, but was still good to spend a bit of time with her again – she sadly jumped down and moved off west towards Ingwelala, but hopefully she wont be so scarce next month.

Kuhanya relaxing in a marula tree near the camp between game drives!

The afternoon drive saw Herold and Johannes out, and they had fairly good afternoons, although,Kuhanya had naturally disappeared again – luckily Umfana male leopard eventually showed himself, and Johannes went further south and also ticked off rhino in addition to his elephant and buffalo sightings; not bad for guests that are only here for one drive! Will see if he can do it again tomorrow afternoon once more!


  1. Kuhanya... our favourite!
    Is she pregnant??
    As ever wonderful pictures.
    Thank you, Sue and John

  2. Hi Chad! I love your work. It makes me wonder what Kuhanya has seen on her journeys.. her eyes are so expressive. May I ask what your policy is on other artists using your works for inspiration on their own watercolors? Just curious..

    Lori from Canada

  3. Sadly she is not getting quite impatient; her younger counterpart when she was growing up, Nkateko, already has a 6-month old cub way in the south!!!! its my dream to see her become a mother!

    Lori, i responded on the other post :)