Tuesday, 4 September 2012

2nd & 3rd September – Wild Dogs Return!

Photo of the Day

Wild dog pups!

2nd September Morning Drive

(Chad, Grant, Godfrey, Andrea and Shadrack)

4 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Karans, Majavi Dam

1 x rhino (relaxed male)

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Wedge River Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Wisani Access

1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Sean’s Clearing

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Wild West North


2nd September Afternoon Drive

(Grant, Andrea and Shadrack)

1 x leopard (Mbali female) – Peru, Giraffe Kill Rd

1 x leopard (Nthombi’s boy) – Vielmetter, 2nd Sharalumi Crossing

2 x rhinos (mother and female calf)

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Lily Pan

20 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Nyosi River Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Java-Mbali


3rd September Morning Drive

(Grant,  Andrea and Shadrack)

4 x lions (Motswari Pride) – De Luca, Luttig Cutline

3 x rhinos (male, and subadult male and female)

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Camp Dam

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Xinzele Rd

4 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Argyle Dam


3rd September Afternoon Drive

(Grant, Chad, Andrea and Shadrack)

7 x wild dogs – Peru, Wild West North

1 x leopard (Thumbela female) – Tanda Tula, Giraffe Plains

3 x rhinos (male, young male and female)

1 x rhino (relaxed male)

1 x rhino (semi-relaxed male)

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Jaydee, Nkombi Pan

20 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Pan

2 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Klipdrift Crossing

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Airstrip

1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Camp


Daily Synopsis

So im taking the lazy route today and posting a double blog, but that is mostly because I missed out on two of the four drives over the last few days.

Sunday was a cloudy and overcast day, and a far cry from the 41 degrees the day before!  I wanted lions, so took Petros and Jacky to go and follow up on the Mafikizolo Pride after they had finished their kill yesterday...fortunately, we didn’t have to look to far, and after seeing a lone elephant bull, we relocated the lions still resting at Majavi Dam.

Elephant bull and Mafikizolo lion at Majavi Dam

They were quite active, and the lioness and big male moved to meet the younger male, and after some time resting, the pride moved off towards the Kruger, where they eventually crossed over the boundary, but not before having a quick mate!!! 

Mafikizolo Pride moving to Kruger

I then went to help Andrea track a leopard and dropped the trackers off as I carried on searching the area for game – in the gloomy weather we saw impala, kudu, waterbuck, giraffe and some good birds, but none of the spots we were after. 

Giraffe, guineafowl and grey-headed bushshrike

The afternoon saw both Shaddy and Andrea finding their own leopards to break the drought, but Monday morning proved leopardless again; Grant and Shaddy did track down the Motswari Pride shortly before they too crossed east off the property.

I rejoined drive late in the afternoon, and had with me a couple of repeat guests that had driven with Grant in 2010; besides loads of leopards, white lions and three cheetahs, Grant had “failed” to show them wild dogs, so they returned to Africa for the fourth time hoping to get lucky with dogs...and needless to say, this was number one on their list.  As per usual, I explained that we were an open system and that while we could see anything, nothing was guaranteed.  I did comment that the wild dogs were due to return to our area this month, as the northern pack should be finished with their denning in Klaserie soon, and usually come back to our area in September, and as it was September now, they had a chance.

Imagine the surprise I got when I turned on the radio and heard the guides all responding to a sighting; assuming it was leopard, I asked for an update only to be told it was...you guessed it, wild dogs!  They were on our western boundary and the pups were not to used to vehicles, but I took a chance and headed that way, even ignoring Shaddy’s rhino he found near the camp.

We saw the crocodiles and hippos at Argyle Dam, as well as impala, steenbuck, waterbuck, kudu and giraffe along the trip west.  I had just stopped for a steenbuck that ran off when Petros casually pointed out the male rhino 100m ahead of us, so we went to spend a bit of time with him.

Hippo, kudu and male rhino

The dogs had gotten mobile, so we chose to leave the rhino a bit prematurely, and soon joined Giyani to one of the rarest sights in the wild; a pack of wild dogs running free!  There were two adults and 5 cubs, and as the cubs were a bit nervous, I actually don’t suspect that it is the same pack we usually see; we often got reports of just two dogs on the western boundary, and I think this may well be them?  What an achievement it is for two dogs to raise 5 cubs to three months old!

Wild dog pack

We spent a bit of time with them, but made space for our other guides as they were moving back towards the Klaserie, but needless to say, I had some rather ecstatic guests, so we stopped with a waterbuck to enjoy a drink.

The drive home was a bit quiet with only a few kudu, waterbuck, a glimpse of a genet and a large hippo out the water, as well as some elephants near and in camp!  One lone bull elephant was standing outside my house and was not too keen to see me based on how he twice came crashing through the bushes in my direction!
Waterbuck drinking at Lily Pan

Grant had a great drive, and not only found a herd of buffalo and three rhinos, but also got to see the long-lost Thumbela leopardess way down south...sadly she was fast asleep and didn’t have her gorgeous blue-eyes on show, but wonderful that she is still around!


  1. When looking at the date and noticing it says "2nd & 3rd", I wanted to accuse Mr. Cocking of cheating. Then I started to read and were soon swooning over guineafowl and a grey-headed bushshrike, between Mopani leaves, - stunning colors. The word kaleidoscope runs around in my head. Lion, rhino, kudu, waterbuck, vultures, hippo's, majestic elephant bull and the wild dogs - how can I feel cheated? Thanks Chad.

  2. the guineafowl wouldn't stand still for me 8-). Just wonderful colors and clarity! The lion story gives us a glimpse of the real world in the bush. Love your work, Thanks!

  3. I too am bowled over by the guinea fowl, but find the colouring of the wild dogs too unusual to put them on my fav list

  4. Wonderful pictures and blog - I really hope the wild dogs decide to come back when we are there later this month - in about 20 days