Tuesday, 24 July 2012

23rd July – What Windy Weather???

Photo of the Day
Nthombi's boy up a tree with their kill

Morning Drive

(Andrea, Herold and Shaddy)

7 x lions (Machaton Pride – 3 x lionesses and 4 x sub-adult males) – Vielmetter, Dizzy Drive

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Vielmetter-Jaydee Cutine

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Antheap Corner Rd

5 x elephants – Java, Java Dam

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Andrea, Herold and Shaddy)

2 x leopards (Nthombi and cub on impala kill) – Vielmetter, Double Highway

1 x leopard (Makepisi male with impala kill) – Peru, Tawny Eagle

1 x leopard (Klakisa female) – Peru, Jack’s Camp Crossing

1 x rhino (Nhlangula male?)

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Jaydee, Khona Bobesi

7 x buffalo bulls – Jaydee, Nkombi Pan

1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Camp

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Mangawaan Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, 2nd Nhlaralumi Crossing

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access

1 x elephant bull – Vielmetter, Nkhoro Rd

Daily Synopsis

My guests were really making this a holiday, and opted to sleep in this morning; and from what Andrea says, it was probably a good choice!  The clear blue skies and warm weather had been replaced by a blanket of clouds and an awful lot of wind; far from conducive for good game viewing!  Only late in the morning did the stations get lucky – Herold tracked down the Machaton Pride that sadly did not appear to have eaten again, even in the windy weather – Nthombi leopardess was a bit luckier and was found with an impala kill, and another leopard kill was found in the north – so the afternoon sounded like it wouldn’t be a waste....but I never expected the amount of game we did end up seeing!

As we missed on the early morning drive – combined with the fact that my guests had spent the last four days eating – we decided to skip on lunch and head out a bit earlier...it fooled all the animals, as rather than hiding, they were out in force – it has been a long time since I saw so much; and not just a lot, but many sightings of multiple species together!

We started out checking Argyle Dam, and had a lovely sighting of all the hippos basking outside the water, and for the first time, they didn’t just run back in, but rather remained there as we viewed them with a herd of waterbuck, kudu and impalas in the background!

Hippos, waterbuck and impala at Argyle Dam

Moving towards the antelopes, we had them all on the left, a fish eagle to the right, and another big herd of impalas and waterbuck in front of us.

Carrying on towards Mbali Dam, we arrived to find a large male giraffe eating on the side of the road, and while watching him, if felt like a scene from the Lion King with all the animals; we could see a herd of waterbuck, a herd of kudu, a herd of impala, a family of banded mongooses, a lone slender mongoose and a sounder of warthogs all in one scene!

Moving along the riverbed, we saw numerous steenbucks and duikers, impala herds and another couple herds of kudu and some more warthogs, and another journey of giraffes!

More giraffe, kudus and waterbucks

Passing what remained of Makulu Dam we saw more steenbuck and impalas, and heading towards Elephant Dam, ticked off another kudu herd with a glorious male in their midst.

Male kudu

A small breeding herd of elephants a bit further away kept us entertained as we waiting our turn to go to see Nthombi and her cub on their kill.

Breeding herd of elephants

Arriving at the leopards, we had the cub up in the tree trying to rest in an awkward position that was never going to work!

Nthombi's cub trying to get comfortable in a tree

Mom rested under the tree in a thicket, and eventually the cub moved and came down the tree to rest on the ground; Nthombi moved a bit, but eventually we left both of them resting behind a log.

Nthombi resting under a bush before joining her son behind a log!

Our motivation was that a few hundred metres away at Elephant Dam, a lone male rhino was wandering about, and as one of my guests still hadn’t see rhino, we went to see him – although, I am not sure if it was Nhlangula male or Mtenga-tenga?  Either way, we had a great sighting before parting company and going to enjoy our long overdue sundowners!

White rhino bull
Grace and the kitchen had prepared some great snacks, so we enjoyed all of that before making our way back towards camp.  Herold had found tracks for two male lions following a herd of buffalo near Lily Pan – the buffalo he found, but not the lions, so I went past the area hoping to get lucky, but we saw only impalas and scrub hares.

As my guests were not going on drive the next morning, I decided to pop in to see Makepisi male leopard and his impala kill on the way home, hoping he would at least be in the open; as I was nearing the area, we found another leopard in the open!  This time it appeared to be Klakisa female on the banks of the Nhlaralumi riverbed (right where we had enjoyed our seven species in one sighting earlier!), and tried to get closer; she slowly walked off, and I decided not to follow her, but rather go see Makepisi.  He had unfortunately eaten his share up in the tree, and was now resting on the ground, but at least he was in the open and we had a great view of an absolutely gorgeous leopard – still cannot believe how relaxed he is these days!!!

Makepisi male resting below the impala kill he stole

Leaving the leopard in peace, we headed home and once more enjoyed a lovely evening in the boma; although, considering all the food we had eaten today, it is not surprising that the portions on our plates were considerably smaller than they had been the days before!

I am back on drive tomorrow afternoon, so will keep you updated about what is happening in the bush then...and based on today’s performance, I am half hoping that it is windy again!



  1. Chad, your picture of the day is a real beauty - you have outdone yourself

  2. Hey Chad! You've got your photo mojo back! (not that you ever really lost it!) Lovely Pics!

  3. WOW. Makepisi really is a stunner Chad.
    Great shots as always from you!!!


    ps. a sounder of warthogs, how did they get to this???