Tuesday, 14 August 2012

13th August: Playing Around.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack, Andrea, Marka & Johannes.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Giraffe Pan.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Buchner.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Middle Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Mbali – Woza Woza Cutline.
Leopard ( Argyle Jnr Female & Cub) / Argyle – Old Mphisi Khaya.
Leopard ( Mbali Female) / Peru – Jakkalsdraai.
Lion ( Mafikizolo Pride) / Karans – Ingwe Drive.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Herold, Shadrack, Andrea, Marka & Johannes.)

Leopard ( Makipi's Male) / Peru – Madash Dam.
Rhino ( Male)
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Argyle Dam.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Peru – Klipgat.

Daily Synopsis.

Cats being the order of the morning we all chatted at coffee and set out areas that we would check so that we had the area covered and to avoid checking the same roads. We set off to the North of camp looking for a relaxed Leopard but in it's place we first found the very large herd of Elephant that has been hanging around the camp the past few days followed by a large herd of Zebra. This was a very welcome surprise as the area is not one that you would think they would favour. Sitting with them as the sun rose we were able to photograph them in near perfect light and we all know that Zebras make great subjects anyway so it was near picture perfect.

With them eventually moving off we continued on our way but it was once again not long before we picked up on three Dagha Boys rousing themselves from their evenings rest and slowly making their way down towards the Tsharalumi River. As busy a morning we were having it sounded like the rest of the gang was also having a good one as Andrea called in fresh tracks for Lions in the East heading to the North West. 

While making my way to help her out Marka called in that he had found Argyle Jnr Female and her cub, hmm................. what to do, what to do! We decided to continue on towards Andrea but no sooner had we made the decision she called in that they had followed up on the tracks and located a dead Buffalo that the Lions had killed in a water trough but had moved off on their approach. With the sighting being extremely close to the landowners house and a sensitive area the farm manager was going to inspect the sight and see how we could go about establishing a sighting. With that on hold we decided to head in the direction of Argyle Jnr and her cub. Our Leopard frustrations from the previous afternoon were to continue though as the area they were in was a deep, rocky drainage line littered with fallen tree and stumps. As we approached the sighting mom and cub split and mom moved off, knowing how elusive she is we chose to stick with the cub but his mother has obviously rubbed off him and he to kept to the drainage line and the thick vegetation associated with it. Loosing him after a very short visual we spent the next twenty minutes relocating him and when we finally did he once again moved off. Not wanting to pressure him more than we had already I explained to my guests that he clearly did not want to be viewed and we left him to go about his morning undisturbed. Our luck was in though as Mbali Female had been found further to the West after some good tracking from both Simbavati and Leadwood. Knowing she would not disappoint we forewent morning coffee and headed in her direction. With the sighting having quietened down we were able to drive right in and we found her sitting on a termite mound resting. There was no comparison between the two sightings as she was out in the open and completely ignored our presence affording us a great view. Spending some time with her she eventually rustled herself from her nap, stretched and then slowly got mobile, having had a good sighting we turned our attention to getting back to camp.

As for the Lions, well they had not returned to the Buffalo and chose to rest in amongst the thick Mopane offering no sighting. Maybe after dark they will be a little more relaxed and we will get a chance to view them by spot light. We wait and see.

Heading out on afternoon drive our mission was to find Giraffe and Hyena. The Hyena should not be a problem and the property that the den is on is normally good for Giraffe as well, so we were heading off South. We were not the only ones to have this idea and it appeared that nearly all of the gang were heading that way. So changing our plans a little as the most direct routes were already taken we chose to head to the Tsharalumi River and whined our way along the river South, also another good region for Giraffe. 

It was just as well that we changed plans as approaching a pan there in front of us crouched a Leopard in the middle of the road. Initially not knowing who it was we stopped and watched it from a distance but once we identified it as Makipi's Male we approached a little closer. It was not long before he moved towards the pan and half heartedly chased a Blacksmith Lapwing, having finished terrorising the pans avian population he crouched down opposite us for a drink of water providing us with an unbelievable sighting. Quenching his thirst he started to head off to the East along the drainage line that fed the pan. We would normally have headed off now having had a great sighting but we needed to hold onto him until the next stations arrived as there was now a fair amount of interest in him. With stations descending on the area quickly we didn't have to wait long and could return to our trip South quite quickly.

With the day having warmed up very nicely it was surprising that the trip along the river was not more productive and in fact we had a very quite spell through the central section. It was a big surprise that we had not yet found a Giraffe as they had been all over the place the past few days. Receiving news that the Hyena Den was now active we chose to head in their direction and try catch them in the days last light. 

rriving at the Den we found three adult females, the two older pups and the medium. It looked like the youngest pups were in the dens entrance suckling from mom. Sitting with them awhile it appeared they had all just finished feeding and it was now play time and it did not take long before they included us in their games, firstly approaching the vehicle and testing what possibly could be edible or chewable and on discovering nothing suitable they then ran about playing chase using the underneath of the car as the safe zone, specially the Medium as it fitted quite easily under the chassis. They would then peer from underneath the car and when one of the others approached they would run out the opposite side making their escape. Being spell bound we totally forgot about the Giraffe and sat there till sun under. With the last rays of light we pulled ourselves away and headed off for drinks. 

It would be Murphy's Law that the spot we chose to drink had a large herd of Giraffe all involved in different forms of activity. So we enjoyed our drinks while they went about their business of feeding and mock fighting. The scene was complete when a young Hyena decided to join us for drinks approaching to within a couple of metres trying it's luck.

Wrapping up drinks and with everything having now drifted off we made our way home after a very enjoyable afternoon. This now only leaves finding the King of the Jungle, but I guess that is tomorrows challenge. 


  1. Even the hyenas become lovable creatures. Stunning leopard shots, Grant. Your pic of Makipi's Male will now replace the Tiara King's pic of Ntombi until Andrea is back. It will be very difficult to choose between your pics so I will stick with the leopards.

  2. Hi Grant. It has been so long since we has any word on the welfare of the White lions.If you have any news on how they are going, if in fact they are still alive please share it with us. I often wonder what has become of them and also their tawney cousin. Thanks for all the great work from all at Motswari. Hoping to get back for another visit one day.
    Regards to all,
    Jen from Australia