Sunday, 9 September 2012

6th September – The Sohebele Brothers Return!

Photo of the Day

Mbali female still looking good!

Morning Drive

(Herold and Andrea)

1 x leopard (Mbali female) – Peru, Termite Rd

2 x rhinos (two males)

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Klipgat Crossing

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Umbabat Cutline

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Hlaru Rd


Afternoon Drive

(Herold, Chad, Andrea and Shadrack)

2 x lions (Sohebele males) – Peru, Mbali River Rd

1 x leopard (Mbali female) – Peru, Mangwa Clearing

2 x rhinos (two males)

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Giraffe Kill Rd


Daily Synopsis

Okay, let me try this again!  Besides having had little to no internet the last few days, I somehow managed to delete all that I had written about today, so I am giving it another go!

The morning started out with the rain as promised by the weatherman, and damn, I hate it when he is right!  My guests had agreed to go out if it wasn't raining, and as there was only a pitter-patter to begin with, we agreed to try it, but we had no sooner climbed into the vehicle when the rain started coming down heavier and after about 5 minutes we conceded defeat and returned to the comfort of our warm beds at the lodge!

Andrea and Herold braved the conditions and were well rewarded by the sounds of things; Andrea enjoyed elephants performing yoga, a large breeding herd of elephants, a couple of male rhinos and even another leopard sighting as the granny of the reserve showed herself (Mbali that is, not Andrea).

I joined in the afternoon with a new set of guests including some guests for just one night, and with a 60 percent chance of rain for the during of their stay, it didn’t bode well; fortunately though, the animals didn’t really care about this, and we had a rather good first afternoon drive!

Starting with kudus, waterbuck, impala and giraffe before we reached the Sohebele Riverbed was a nice beginning, but it was while sitting with them that the game viewing began picking up.  The buffalo herd from the morning had been relocated but were acting nervous, and the reason soon became apparent when two male lions were found nearby!

Giraffes, kudu and waterbuck to startoff the drive

This drew the attention of a few vehicles that all made their way into the area, and soon these stations were all calling in sightings of their own; Marka had found Mbali leopardess again and the guys coming from the south had found a pack of 7 wild dogs – two rhinos were also in the area, so if one had a bit more light and didn’t mind rushing around, six of the “Big 7” were on offer in a relatively small round trip!  Heading into the general area, we ticked off my one set of guests request for zebras when we found a small herd on the crest of a hill.

Zebra herd
I however opted for quality over quantity and much against my usual preference; I went to see the leopard rather than my favourite animals, the wild dogs.  In the end, the choice was justified as the dogs were lost and we enjoyed a lovely sighting of the old girl as she walked around looking for her next meal, although she was looking in pretty good shape!

Mbali on the prowl
A couple of hundred metres along the road we arrived at the large breeding herd of buffalos that were now static and grazing in the area, but on hearing that the lions were waking up nearby, I made a move in their direction.

Buffalo herd
More than anything, I wanted to know who they were; they were initially identified as the same two males that were seen on the western boundary two weeks ago, that looked very much like the Sohebele males to me, albeit only two of them.  A few guides said that they were definitely not Sohebeles as the one was very pale, almost like a white lion.  I was not convinced, but had my money on them all being wrong, and was sure that I would find the Sohebeles there.

I arrived, and was indeed delighted to see my old friends, just as Grant had identified them as this afternoon!  They had really grown up, much like the missing brother we saw two days back, and were looking in fantastic condition and their manes have eventually started filling out – real lions now!

The one brother had a nasty wound on his face, no doubt a kick from a prey animal like a zebra, and he was lucky it missed his eye, and that he ended up with a massively swollen face and likely a fractured cheek bone, but for all the swelling, he seemed to be in no discomfort and it was great to see him; especially as it was his squinting right eye that confirmed their ID for me!

Sohebele brother with a nasty kick to the face
They got mobile and headed in the direction of the buffalos but somehow lost the scent trail and wandered too far north-east rather than straight north, so when they approached the riverbed, we left them and headed for a drink in the gloomy evening light.

Getting ready for the hunt
With rain threatening, we headed straight back to the lodge, not seeing all that much on the way, but considering what had been on offer this morning, tomorrow hopefully promises to be as good, even if it will be a bit wet!

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