Thursday, 2 August 2012

01st August – Winds of Change

Nthombi's inquisitive cub
Morning Drive
(Grant & Andrea)

Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Peru - Shkari Road
Lion ( x 2 males) / Peru - Tshabalala Road
Leopard (Nthombi and cub) / Vielmeter - Elephant Dam Road
Buffalo (breeding Herd) / Jaydee - Jaydee Pump House
Elephant (3 Kambaku) / Java - Java Access Road

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Grant, Andrea and Herold)

2 x lions (Ximpoko males) – Peru, Tshabalala Rd

1 x leopard (Mbali female ) – Java, Whitey’s Rest

2 x rhino (female and new calf)

1 x rhino (skittish bull)

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi

2 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Pan Rd

Daily Synopsis

Today was a busy busy morning starting out  with lion tracks on Motswari Airstrip. Both Grant and myself began to follow up and while doing so, Jimmy from Simbavati found the two male lions further south. Responding to these two was a tricky affair. The males were mobile and the best approachable road kept changing. After quite some time of confusion, we eventually found them and they soon settled down. It had been such a chilly start we decided a cup of hot chocolate was in order but once again our drinks plans were disturbed by a breeding herd of buffalo blocking the way. One bull was not impressed with us and I had quite a chuckle as one of my guests voices started raising at the back of the car as a big bull edged nearer. There were a couple of youngsters too which is always special to see. The Kings guys had found Nthombi female and her cub, so instead of a drinks stop we headed her way and I am so glad we did. It was the most incredible sighting as they had just finished feeding and the cub was in the most playful mood. Nthombi is such a patient and wonderful mother, spending time playing with her youngster…even when he stubbornly sat chewing her tail! It really was such a privilege to sit and spend time with the two of them and witness that interaction. So, that was the whirlwind of a morning for me - thankfully Chad is back on blog from this afternoon and will no doubt be full of stories. Until next time, Ciao...

Thank you Ms Campbell for looking after the blog for the last few days!  And thank you for leaving all of the animals out for me!  Doing a short link up in the morning, I could hear that the radio was alive with sightings – Nthombi and her cub on a kill, two male lions, buffalo and elephants about, so I headed out with high expectations with my new guests (a lovely couple from Spain, and some wonderful ladies from New York....and yes, they paid me to say that!).

Things started off a bit slow on a warm afternoon, with only a few impalas and kudus showing themselves before being informed that Nthombi and he cub had finished their kill and moved off...oh dear!

Impala herd
Still, in the first half hour, the lions and buffalos were located in the same areas as this morning, so I slowly bumbled in the direction of the buffalo herd, by-passing Java Dam as I went; not far from the dam, we spotted the unmistakable silhouette of a leopard in a rather dodgy marula tree, but it appeared relaxed, so we approached, and as approaching, the profile of Mbali became more apparent – ironic, as I had just asked Petros about her about 3 minutes earlier!  We spent some time with her as she lazed in the tree, but she was rather inactive, and after having a good view, me moved on to look for some more game.

Mbali female resting up in a marula
Truth be told, it was reasonably quiet with only more impalas and a warthog showing themselves as we headed to the south-west.

Arriving at the buffalo herd at sunset made for some lovely African scenes as the dust from 600-plus buffalos filtered out the sunset; we enjoyed their company until darkness started approaching and then opted to move in the direction of the two lions, hoping to get some roaring from them.

Breeding herd of buffalo with the full moon rising in the background
All we got, we sleepy lions...however, this is often more than we get to see of the ghosts!  Maybe things are changing?

Grant and Andrea were talking about the windy conditions, which puzzled me, as less than 5km away, there wasn't a breathe of wind at the lions...i had no sooner mentioned this to them when the wind instantly picked up!  Luckily for us, this stirred the lions into action and the two boys woke up and began yawning and grooming, rounding off a rather enjoyable sighting.

The two Ximpoko males rising with the windy conditions

Sadly, the wind meant that there would be no roaring – a waste of energy in those conditions – so we left them still cleaning one another and made for home in less than ideal conditions – we bumped into only impalas and a lone giraffe along the route.

Grant went for a quiet drive in the east and ticked off a rhino bull as well as another sighting of a rhino cow and new baby rhino!  We just hope that the wind that is so common in August does not go and blow all of our animals away now, but instead keeps on producing like it did today!


  1. Welcome back, Chad. I was a bit confused when I opened it until I realised you and Andrea did it together. Stunning pics! Keep you "cat luck" going, Chad.

  2. As always stunning pictures ! Thanks to share with us !