Sunday, 23 September 2012

22nd September – Closer and Closer...

Photo of the Day

Slowly the Mafikizolo Pride are letting us get closer and closer to their lives...this was the closest i have been to the young male in over a year and a half!!!

Morning Drive

(Chad, Herold and Marka)

1 x leopard (Rockfig Jnr female) – Jaydee, Vielmetter-Alberts Cutline

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Karans, Western Cutline

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Grasslands Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd

1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd North

3 x buffalo – Peru, Western Cutline

2 x buffalo – Argyle, Rudi’s Rd

3 x buffalo – Motswari, Wisani Crossing (on bush walk)


Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Herold and Marka)

3 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Peru, Nkombi Rd

1 x leopard (Rockfig Jnr female) – Jaydee, Vielmetter-Alberts Cutline

1 x rhino

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Argyle Rd

5 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom

2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Barnes’ Post

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Back Nines

1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd North


Daily Synopsis

Saturday was another rather warm day in the bush, with warm probably being a massive understatement, but fortunately, the animals were all out on show and we comfortably ticked off the Big 5 as well as a host of other game.

The morning began in a quiet fashion as we made our way south hoping to get the hyenas at their den before it got too warm.  We did begin by checking to see where Argyle Jnr had been stalking impalas the night before, but had no luck with that, and didn’t see much at all as we then moved down Western Cutline.  Eventually we ticked off impala, steenbucks, warthogs and even a shy civet in the daylight.

Just north of the hyena den we found ourselves a lovely herd of elephants that kept us occupied for more than half an hour as they fed right next to us.  The best part was a baby elephant calf that repeatedly came charging right up to the Land Rover to try and scare us off, but all he got was oooohs and aaaaahs from the guests – not quite the response he was hoping for I guess?

Elephant herd witha  cheeky calf
Moving along, the warmth had sent the hyenas into the den and it was inactive, although we did find one at Hide Dam where we stopped for some coffee.

Rockfig Jnr and her cub were still with the duiker kill, and as the line up had now died down, I headed in that direction, finding a couple groups of giraffe along the route.

Hyena and giraffes
Much to my disappointment, Rockfig Jnr was on her own, and there was no sign of her blue-eyed boy, but we still enjoyed a good sighting of her as she resting on a termite mound in the shade of a large boerbean.  A herd of impalas came walking about 40m past her and she became alert and sat watching them, but wth a full belly and no cover to work with, she didn’t make a move.

Rockfig Jnr chilling on a mound
Time had ticked away, so we made our way back to the camp enjoying a few birds of prey along the way, but not much else as we went.  The morning bush walk was a surprisingly productive one in warm weather, and we had impala, kudu and three buffalo bulls in the riverbed below the camp dam.

The temperatures didn’t drop much in the afternoon as I went in search of rhino – while three had been found in the south, I chanced my luck in the north and got lucky when one was located in the area, so I slowly bumbled into the general area.
We saw some impala, kudus, zebras, and a small group of buffalo bulls as we moved to the west.  After a few short minutes of tracking, Petros managed to relocate on the rhino bull, but he was always on the move which made following him in the thick mopane quite a task, but we succeeded and eventually got a decent view of him – and on World Rhino Day, I guess we should be grateful to still have rhinos to look at!

Buffalo bulls and rhino bull
Leaving him, we moved a short distance to join Shaddy with three of the Mafikizolo lions, and what a surprise to see just how relaxed they have all become!  The lionesses were in a bit of a thicket and were aware of us, but didn’t move as we pulled in.  The young male actually moved into the open, making it a tight squeeze to get into a position to view him, but he just lay there and watched was the closet I have ever got to him without him fussing about our presence!  So eventually, after a year and a half, our “new” pride has settled down!

Mafikizolo allowing us closer than ever before
Leaving the lions, we went to enjoy a lovely sundowner as the clouds came in from the west; no doubt a change of weather is on the cards tomorrow, so we shall have to see what it brings!  The drive home was a relaxed affair, but there was just not much to see besides and awful lot of bunnies...and sadly, not one of them had any Easter eggs for me :(

Another stunning sunset to end the day


  1. When I say that this blog and people "in it" has become a constant and a major motivation in my life, it's a major understatement. Thank you, guys & gal.

  2. Chad, thanks for the bush walk... despite the heat it was really great to see those buffalo on foot. Wendy named the baby elephant "Benjamin", he was really cute and deserved all the "oohs and aahs".