Sunday, 26 August 2012

26 August - T.I.A (This is Africa!)

Photo of the Day
Morning Drive
(Chad, Herold, Grant and Andrea)

Rhino (Mother and Calf)
Elephant (1 Kambaku) / Motswari - Xinatsi Dam Road North
Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Motswari - Timbavati/Umbabat Cutline
Buffalo (4 Daghaboys) / Motswari - Timbavati/Umbabat Cutline
Buffalo (Dagha Boys) Java - Java Dam
Lion (1 young Machaton Male) / Peru- Old Gate Link
Lion (2 Ximpoko males) / Java - Crossing Below Java
Leopard (Rock Fig Jnr) / Java - Back of Java
Leopard (Umfana) / Vielmeter - Crossing Below Entrance Dam

Afternoon drive
(Herold, Chad and Andrea)

Lion (2 Ximpoko males) / Java - Crossing Below Java
Lion (2 Females, 1 Male) / De Luca - Deluca / Luttig Cutline
Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Karans - Moeniejag Crossing
Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Karans - Ingwe Drive
Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Karans - Ingwe Drive
Leopard (Umfana male) / Kings - Hyena Road
Buffalo (2 Dagha Boys) / Motswari - Xinatsi Dam Road North
Buffalo (1 Dagha Boy) / Motswari - Wisani Crossing
Buffalo (Breeding Herd) / Motswari - Motswari Camp

Wow! Today was definitely a good day to be back on blog duty…what a morning!  Somehow with my guests only staying for one night, we managed to see Big 5 in one drive - to be fair the leopard was very brief but we had found 3 yesterday afternoon so I was not too concerned but I am now getting carried away so let me start from the beginning. Heading out of camp we started with a large bull elephant. He was hiding behind some mopanes which did cast some interesting shadows across his skin. Chad found a breeding herd of elephant quite close by as well.

Heading along Timbavati/Umbabat Cutline we came across a small group of grumpy Daghaboys. This group included Stompie - our resident buffalo without a tail - and I was quite relieved to know he is still alive and well. With my guests wanting to see lion, I planned to follow up on the lion seen last night. As I neared the area, Diff from Simbavati called in a young Machaton male lion so we headed there instead. To be honest, it was quite a sad sighting as he is not with the rest of the pride and is looking rather thin and has some injuries on his back legs. He was not too relaxed was relatively mobile, so we left him in peace and went in search of rhino.

During this time the female leopard Rock Fig Jnr and her cub had been spotted so most guys were responding there. We had been particularly lucky with leopard last night, so for a change the spotted cat was not high on  my priority list. We found male rhino tracks and began to follow. Looping around to where we expected him to pop out, we found the female and her calf who the male was obviously trying to follow behind. They were slowly feeding and we had a lovely sighting of her. The Motswari trackers had been tracking the to Ximpoko male lion and found them in the riverbed near back of Java. However, the lion spotted the trackers on foot and dashed. A couple of us headed to the area in attempt to relocate with the vehicles. I was hoping to get a view up the riverbed from a good vantage point near Machaton Cottage and as Patrick and myself hopped off the car and walked into the bush, we bumped into a male leopard. He took fright and bolted and it sure gave me my dose of adrenaline for the day - I love my job! Soon after, Grant found the lion. We waited briefly for our turn and then watched as the collared male sniffed out an impala kill which had been made by Rockfig Jnr and stolen by a hyena - quite exciting!  A Bateleur sat perched nearby hoping for a snack. The male lion sat feeding on the impala and after a decent view we made our way back to camp rather late. But, as usual, not as late as Chad!

The afternoon started with a pair of old Dagha boys relatively close to camp. The wind was up and they were not the happiest pair. The one was really looking like he was on his last legs! At Xinatsi Dam, three hyenas were lying full-bellied nest to the dam. Whatever they had found must have been large, as they could barely move. A pride of lion had been found with a buffalo kill on De Luca and Chad was already in the sighting, so I started making my approach. It was a ridiculously long entry, about 1 1/2kms into the block just to find them - and when I say block, I mean the thickest mopane forest in the Timbavati! It was still a magnificent sighting with two females feeding on the carcass - sticking their heads right inside! We are a little unsure of which lions these are, reports were that there had been about 7 lion in the area so the debate revolves around the "Motswari 6" or the Timbavati females and other lions? We are not sure but there was decent amounts of meat still so I am sure we will figure it out in the next few days.

Chad and Herold managed to see Umfana male again as well as the two Ximpoko males from this morning. So, all in all a very good afternoon. When we arrived back at camp, a breeding herd of buffalo were drinking in the riverbed, so guests were able to sit on the veranda and sip on a glass of wine while watching this magnificent herd - another tough day in Africa!

See you all tomorrow,


  1. Great pictures Andrea, sounds like a perfect day. We have been in the US for a few weeks and will now enjoy catching up with Motswari news.
    Sue and John (Robotham)

  2. Glad to have you and your camera back on blog, Andrea. Stunning pictures.

  3. What species is the antelope pictured at the photo of the day? Nyala??