Friday, 3 August 2012

02nd August – Herold Houdini!!!

Photo of the Day
Umfana male stalking some impalas

Morning Drive

(Chad, Grant, Herold and Shadrack)

1 x leopard (Mbali female with Duiker kill) – Java, Sjambok Pod

1 x leopard (Machaton male) – Java, Crossing below Java

3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Wedge River Rd

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Grant, Herold and Shadrack)

1 x leopard (Mbali female with Duiker kill) – Java, Sjambok Pod

1 x leopard (Umfana male) – Vielmetter, Big Nigrescens Link

2 x rhino (female and female calf)

1 x rhino (Nhlangula male)

2 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Xikari Rd

1 x elephant bull – Mbali, Western Cutline

Daily Synopsis

Where Harry Houdini can make things magically disappear,  our very own Herold Houdini does a pretty damn amazing job of making things suddenly appear!  Today, Herold didn’t just see three different leopards, but he found all of them, as well as a lovely rhino and calf!
The morning was a lot stiller than it was when we went to bed, but as it progressed, the wind picked up and kept game viewing to a minimum...well, except for Herold!  He quickly managed to relocate on Mbali leopardess from last night, and as we had hoped, she had made a small kill – an unfortunate duiker!  He followed this up with finding the impressive Machaton male leopard walking along the banks of the Machaton riverbed and Grant got himself a few buffalo bulls.

I didn’t have this luck, and having seen Mbali yesterday, didn’t go there this morning.  I was on a mission for rhinos and elephants and have to admit, I failed miserably, with barely a sign of these large grey beasts showing themselves!

We did enjoy some of the reserves other inhabitants such as impala, waterbuck, kudu, steenbuck and a troop of baboons.

Waterbuck, baboons, female kudu and a windmill (female)
We then had a lovely sighting of a large group of giraffes in the company of some zebras that have been hanging around the same area the last week.

Zebras and giraffes
Moving on to coffee, we didn’t have much luck, and following coffee, things remained equally quiet, ticking off only more impalas and steenbuck before arriving back at the lodge for breakfast.

The afternoon saw me getting some new guests, and some new requests as it was Ginger and Marlene’s last drive: hyena, elephants and rhino!  Hyenas were the easy part, so I had intentions of checking Argyle Dam for the hippos and elephants before moving south.  The hippos were in the water, and the large crocodile was basking on a nearby sandbank which was impressive to see.

Hippos, crocodile and Herold Houdini at Argyle Dam
Elephant tracks in the north came to nothing, so when a herd was called in at Entrance Dam, I thought my afternoon became a lot easier.  Of course, the animals had other ideas and between good birds, giraffe, impalas, warthogs and kudu, it made getting south a bit difficult!

Giraffe, fish eagle, warthogs, impalas and steenbuck on Piva Plains and Sohebele Plains
We did eventually arrive at the hyena den to find three cubs with the adult out, and Petros could just see the two new cubs, but they didn’t come out the hole.

Curious/naughty hyena cub
While sitting with them, Herold found his third leopard of the day; fortunately it was only about a kilometre away and we went to join him as the leopard was stalking after a herd of impala and wildebeest; once more, he got into a great position, but not wanting to interfere, we left the area with no visual and went to try and help Herold relocate on the elephant herd...

Impala and wildebeest herd being stalked by the stunning Umfana male leopard
As magic as he is, he couldn’t make them appear and the tracks crossed Double Highway to the south; leaving dejected, Herold miraculously made two rhinos appear at Entrance Dam, and as I was once more following behind him, I soon joined to the sight of the mother drinking at the dam while the calf drank some milk!  It is all that little girl seems to do!!!!  No wonder they get so big!

Rhino and calf at Entrance Dam
After drinks and watching the full moon rise, we made our way to another of Herold’s sightings – Mbali leopardess and her duiker kill near Java Dam – we saw genet, white-tailed mongoose and hyena on the way, and arrived to find the leopard up in a small tree feasting on the duiker kill!

Mbali rating a duiker with a full moon rising over the bushveld

This was great, but it still wasn't elephant!  Luckily, we managed to bump into a lone elephant bull on the way home, and while it was dark, I am still pretty sure it was an elephant!  We enjoyed a short view of him before moving back to camp, albeit a bit late!

My challenge to Herold tomorrow....find me a lion!


  1. Chad, my challenge to you - another windmill with a dam - some special reference to my late dad. You will make this auntie's day. I would just like to know how you identified the windmill as female? Thank you for another magnificent drive!

  2. Chad as usual great pics. I repinned a few of them on pinterest


  3. lol, was wondering the same thing Hester.
    You got some amazing shots of Umfana male leopard.

    Great day in the bush Chad!

  4. Chad as usual your account and pictures made the bush come alive. I only hope the 3 nights we are there in September has equally good sighting