Thursday, 23 August 2012

23rd August: Making Amends.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant.)

Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Marula Pan.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Wisani Crossing.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Giraffe Pan.
Lion ( 2 x Timbavati Females) / Motswari – North Of Camp.
Leopard ( Mbali Female) / Karans – Western Cutline.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Chad, Herold & Pete.)

Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Motswari Northern Access.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Sean's Clearing.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam Rd North.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam Rd West.
Lion ( 2 x Timbavati Females) / Argyle – Western Sohobele Rd.
Leopard ( Unknown Male) / JayDee – Ndlophu.

Daily Synopsis.

Falling to sleep to the sound of a Leopard calling on the opposite side of the river I hoped it would still be there in the morning. When the monkeys started to alarm call at morning coffee and the Nyala barking when we loaded up on the vehicle we knew that the predator was still about. So we set off confident that this morning was going to be our morning and were we had failed yesterday we would succeed today. Once again it was not long before we found our first animal in the form of a Buffalo Bull making his way out of the camp and towards Marula Pan situated behind the staff village for a morning drink.

Surely the monkeys and Nyala did not mistake him or his movement for something more ominous, they had gone awfully quit now, hmm............. Continuing on our way we slowly circumnavigated camp looking for any sign or track that would give away our nemesis. Checking Giraffe Pan we found ourselves a nice breeding herd of Elephant that we decided to spend a little time with as they were super relaxed and went about there feeding right next to the vehicle. 

Watching our time we returned to our objective and continued to search the roads in and around the camp but there was no sign of what we were looking for. Incorporating areas further a field we found ourselves a young male Impala that had a very bad gash on its flank that looked like it had happened very recently. Checking the area we found tracks for a young Lioness which I immediately contacted Johannes to share the information with and while filling him in on our route and what we had found he asked me if I wanted to see the Lionesses, at which I knew immediately that he was sitting with them. Asking him where he had picked them up he told me at the crossing we had just driven through they obviously were still in the block and we had gone right round them. Returning to the crossing we found them drinking from the river before making their way to the West and in front of camp. To me it appeared to be the same females from the night before minus their cubs, which I believe they have left to hunt. Johannes disagreed and having had a better look at the Lionesses from the previous evening believes they may be part of the six new Lions that we now occasionally see. No matter who they were, names and identities are immaterial as we were sitting there with two very impressive and beautiful creatures as they slowly went about looking for a meal. Getting a great sighting of them and with them fast approaching our traversing boundary we made space for other stations to enjoy before they crossed out of our traversing area. 

Whilst following them we received an invite from Kings Camp to visit the site where Ntombi had her kill but in her place this morning was one of the up and coming male star Leopards of the South, Shnoppy Madoda. Not having had any luck with Leopard tracks in the North as of that time and not having the time to take the chance we decided we would head in his direction all be it a camel hike that would require our passports. Settling on a route that would take us down there the quickest we set off but it must have been written in the stars as no sooner had we crossed a junction that would take us either East or West and having chosen to head West we received a call from the Motswari Bush Crew, aka Herold, Chad, Andrea, Patrick, Petros and Difference, informing me that they had found Mbali Female not far from our position in the East! Immediately turning round and heading back to the junction and heading East our guests must have thought we had finally lost it. Being far closer it did not take long before we arrived to find the gang with our elusive spotted friend. On arrival she was standing on a termite mound posing as if saying where had we been and what had taken us so long. She stood there for a couple of pictures before moving off exploring the scents of the area. We followed her as she made her way from termite mound to termite mound before inspecting a Marula Tree that she finally climbed to get a better view of the area. Our guests could not have asked for a better sighting and even the sun played along by popping out from behind the clouds bathing her in golden light. With her finally finding a branch she was comfortable on and lying down to rest we decided to move on. 

Finding ourselves very close to the Hyena Den and with our luck having changed from the day before we decided to push it and check if the den was active. It was a step to far and as with all our previous trips we found no activity, even the second time after taking morning coffee before setting back to camp on the Eastern boundary. Arriving back at camp we had none the less achieved our mornings objective in style, plus! Now for a chilled afternoon.

Heading out in the afternoon our only real plan was to visit the Hyena den at some point or other but otherwise we were free to wander. On leaving camp we received a message from a station in the South informing us that on his way back to his camp in the morning he picked up on two Cheetah, now there would be a nice bonus. Abandoning the half plan to head to the North East we turned around and headed South along the Tsharalumi River. Apart from the few different sightings of Dagha boys we had early in the drive we picked up on very little else that we had not already seen that included, Giraffe, Kudu, Steenbok, Duiker, Bushbuck and Waterbuck. 

We arrived in the area were they had last seen them and began checking the roads in the area for any signs of them we added Leopard to our search as a relaxed female was also found at the same time. Checking along the river and then all nearby drinking spots we found no sign for either cat. Starting to expand our search to roads further a field we spotted the distinctive shape of a Leopard standing in the fork of a Marula Tree but on approaching it it disappeared so fast that one would have thought it was a Cheetah had we not seen it in the tree. Running out of areas to check and not coming up with any leads we decided to head for the Hyena Den while we still had a little light on our side. Arriving at the Den we found the same ghost town we had on our previous four visits. Not to be out done again we stuck to the area and took early drinks and then returned to the Den in the days last shards of light. On this occasion we found all the youngsters out proving to us that life still did exist and that a trip South first thing in the morning would be in order as we could not put the spot light on the young cubs.

Turning our attention to home we detoured in the area that Mbali had been left in the morning but as was the theme of our afternoon we came up empty handed and closed down on a relatively quit drive by our standards of late. Such is the bush, we wait and see what lies in store for us tomorrow.


  1. Mbali is so beautiful. Stunning pics, Grant. Thank you.

  2. Another great write up, guys. - thanks so much! Just love my daily "Motswari" fix! You make me miss Africa soooo much.