Monday, 20 August 2012

18th August – Chad’s last!!!

Photo of the Day
My first cheetah sighting in more than a year!

Morning Drive

(Chad, Marka, Herold, Shadrack and Grant)

2 x lion (Jacaranda young female) – Mbali, Mbali Access

3 x rhino (male, female and female calf)

2 x rhinos (skittish)

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Mbali, Java-Mbali Rd

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – De Luca, Umbabat Cutline

10 x buffalo bulls – Jaydee, Khona Bobesi

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Tchwala Rd

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Marka, Herold, Shadrack and Grant)

2 x cheetahs – Peru, Lily Pan Rd

2 x lion (Jacaranda young female) – Mbali, Mbali Access

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

2 x rhinos (male and female)

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Mbali, Rocky Rd

4 x buffalo bulls – Java, Confluence Crossing

2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Camp

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Xinatsi Dam Rd West

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Buffalo Kill Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Klipgat

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Western cutline

1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Camp

Daily Synopsis

I have an excuse this time!!! Dear old Eskom cut the power to the whole area for the day, so I was without a rather vital ingredient for uploading the blog, and despite once again making an effort to do it last night, by 1:30am, I had to throw in the least I had an elephant outside my room for company!

So, Saturday morning was my last drive with my photographers, and having seen some good leopards on 4 of the last 5 drives, I wasn't too fussed about leopards this morning, although I still spent time in the north looking for Mbali from last night.  On Motswari, we could smell fresh urine for a leopard, but had no luck – instead we saw some fair general game in the area; warthog, waterbuck, impala, zebra and steenbuck.

Warthog and waterbuck

Carrying on west was a bit quiet, with only impala and giraffes showing up, but Grant had accomplished his mission of tracking down the rhino and calf further south, and as an added bonus, they were with a large male, so after resuming my leopard search, I slowly moved that way.  Some alarm calling francolins drew our interest, but it only produced a nice sighting of two young hyenas from the Xinatsi Clan.

Giraffe and hyena

Moving south, we arrived to enjoy a nice sighting of the crash of rhinos, with the male being reasonably relaxed and both the female and calf were very happy in his presence; eventually we left all three grazing alongside the road and made our way back north.

Crash of rhinos

The trip home produced a herd of ten buffalo bulls, waterbuck, kudu, giraffe some frustration...Herold let me go ahead of him at an intersection as my guests needed to be back at 10am...not 3 minutes later he radioed and asked me why I had just driven past the lion 5m from the road!!!  It was one of the Jacaranda lionesses, but sadly she moved off into an area we were unable to access, so we continued home for a great breakfast!
Buffalo bulls

In the afternoon I had some new guests, so it was starting all over again; a herd of elephants were near Argyle Dam, so we bumbled over to them and enjoyed a nice sighting with the hippos in the water nearby.

Elephants near Argyle Dam

I then planned on heading to check up on the lionesses from the morning, and the buffalo herd that was in the area, but Herold beat me to it and found the lions a bit of a distance off the road, but still in an inaccessible area – he was more lucky with the buffalo though.

Waiting to go to the buffalos I headed along the Nhlaralumi and ended up with a wonderful herd of elephants drinking at one of the pools of water.

Elephants along the Nhlaralumi

The herd then came to the sand bank next to where we were parked and put on a show as the calves climbed up and down the bank as the adults dusted themselves.

Play time!

Shaddy had found a couple of rhinos a bit further down the river, so I moved to join that sighting, but sadly the rhinos were moving in some very thick bush, so the sighting was far from ideal...but I didn’t really mind, as this was a perfect excuse to take a chance to go see some other animals that had been found a few kilometres away...cheetah!

I haven’t see cheetah in the reserve since 31st July last year – everyone else has had the luck, but just not when the cheetahs were lost running into thick bush, my heart sunk...but luckily, they were relocated and I made my way to see them!  It was two young cheetahs, and they were not too comfortable with the vehicle, so I kept my distance from the more relaxed one as she called for her partner, and after a while, she was quite relaxed and we spent good time with her until it got dark and we left her on her own...not the best photos, but its a cheetah, so I don’t really care!

Cheetah calling for her partner

The drive home was quiet...and in fact, the general game was so quiet this afternoon that I didn’t even see an impala....i believe I could well be the first guide to ever conduct a drive where I saw cheetah and rhino and not one impala!
Maybe they will be out of hiding tomorrow!


  1. Great reporting and pictures - makes Motswari come alive

  2. Hi

    Great news about the cheetahs can you keep them there until October!!

    Sue UK

  3. Knew you would have a very, very good explanation, Chad. Absolutely worth the wait. Quite surprised about the cheetah. I was under the impression they need wide open spaces. Beautiful rhino shots. Love those from the rear!!!

  4. What an amazing pictures. I love the rhino's one. I say that in my language, Spanish:
    FELICITACIONES, EXCELENTES FOTOS Y RELATOS!!!! It is really a big pleasure for the people who are far away...i miss Africa a lot. Thanks Chad!!!!!
    Maia Afrika(facebook)