Wednesday, 8 August 2012

06th August – In Hiding!

Photo of the Day

Umfana male chilling up a tree - one of the animals that wasnt hiding from us today!

Morning Drive

(Chad, Grant, Giyani and Herold)

3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Northern Access

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Java Dam Rd

1 x elephant bull – Peru, Russet Rd

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Herold and Shadrack)

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

1 x leopard (Xindzuti male) – Peru, Madash Dam

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Simbavati Access

Daily Synopsis

My promise to not stray far this morning almost came true!  The morning started with a lovely sunrise followed by checking up on the leopard’s kill – sadly though, only a few bones remained with no sign of the leopards – we did however see a lone hippo coming back to the water and sat and enjoyed a pod of hippos near the shoreline.

Sunrise and hippos and egyptian geese at Argyle Dam
On Piva Plains we spent time with a group of male giraffes as they engaged in some play fighting and then became friends and all went and ate off the same tree together.

Giraffe herd on Piva Plains
Further along the road we enjoyed some nice kudu bulls, tawny eagles, impalas and steenbuck.  Giyani had tracks for Makepisi and Xindzuti male leopards, so I dropped Petros off to see them before I went looking for that large group of buffalo bulls near Lily Pan, but besides waterbuck and impalas, it was very quiet in the west. 

Kudu bull and elephant bull
Shortly before a coffee stop, we had another nice group of giraffes and a lone elephant bull, and could infact watch both whilst sipping on our coffee in the rivered.

Petros hadn’t had luck with the leopards, so I went to pick him up, but only saw more giraffe and impalas on the way home.

The afternoon needed things to pick up, so I decided to head south, especially as Grant and Andrea had found three rhinos there while doing some bushwork.  I passed Argyle Dam and enjoyed a lovely group of kudu bulls below the dam and the hippos out the water, including a tiny little baby!

Tiny baby hippo and crocodile around Argyle Dam...but no leopards
After giraffe, steenbuck, impalas and waterbuck on Piva PlainsMoving south was quiet, and again only impalas, duiker and steenbuck showed up until my guest said “stop, leopard!”  Helen had spotted a leopard resting up a marula tree about 70m away from us, and we quickly identified the short-tail of Umfana male, and got to spend the next half an hour watching him as he tried to get comfortable in the tree above us!

Kudu bulls, waterbuck bulls and giraffe bull on Piva Plains and around Argyle Dam
I did have to laugh, as Herold had promised me leopard this afternoon; our trackers had followed a drag mark from the camp for about 1.5km through some tricky bush before eventually locating the site where the leopard had dragged her kill to!  It was a stupid distance to drag the kill, and annoyingly, it was a kill of a cane rat (or Vhondo) – a large rodent that we hardly ever see!  The leopard had eaten most of it, but was nowhere to be seen.  Failing this, I had moved out the area and gone south.

I had been sitting with Umfana in his tree for a few minutes when Herold radioed to casually tell me that he had found me a leopard...Xindzuti male at Madash Pan!  I could happily refuse his invitation to go see his leopard as I had my own, and as it turned out, it was Herold that came to join me with my leopard!

Umfana male leopard resting up a marula tree
I left the area and went to see the hyena den and had a wonderful sighting of one adult and the three bigger cubs!  Even the middle black cub was bold enough to come up to the vehicle this afternoon – the first time I had seen her with such courage!

Leopard sunset

Another amazing sighting of the hyena cubs at the den site
We then moved on to drinks at Hide Dam before chancing the east once more; I drove all along the southern boundary to the Kruger Cutline and then back north; we ticked off side-striped jackal, genet and both spotted and giant eagle owls, but generally, the night, much like the day was a bit quiet...but at least i didnt get lost!

Spotted and giant eagle owls on the drive home


  1. The babies (and I do not want to hear that it is a calf or cub or a pup or geeselings), stole my heart but then there is Umfana! Thank you, Chad!

  2. Another day at office for Chad: what an office Chad. The envy of every single reader of your blog

  3. terrific pictures!!!! i want to be there!!!! i miss Africa a lot!!
    Maia Afrika