Tuesday, 16 October 2012

12th and 13th October – Wet, Wet, Wet!

Photo of the Day

Jacaranda lionesses having a groom!

12th October Morning Drive

(Chad, Grant, Herold, Andrea and Shaddy)

4 x rhinos

6 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Northern Access

1 x elephant bull – De Luca, Western Cutline

1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Oppikoppie Rd

12th October Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Grant, Herold, Andrea and Shaddy)

1 x elephant bull – Mbali, Western Cutline

13th October Morning Drive

(Chad, Grant, Herold, Andrea and Shaddy)

3 x lions (Machaton lioness with two young males) – Kings, Little Ridge

2 x lions (Jacaranda lionesses with impala kill stolen from Makepisi male leopard) – Peru, Giraffe Kill Rd

2 x leopards (Rockfig Jnr female and cub) – Vielmetter, Back Nines West

1 x leopard (Makepisi male) – Peru, Lion Pan Rd

3 x rhinos

1 x rhino

1 x rhino

4 x elephant bulls – Vielmetter, Lucky’s Rd

10 x buffalo bulls – Jaydee, Double Highway

6 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Wedge River Rd

3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Sharalumi Crossing

13th October Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Grant, Herold, Andrea and Shaddy)

2 x lions (Jacaranda lionesses with impala kill stolen from Makepisi male leopard) – Peru, Lion Pan Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Makulu Rd

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Pan

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Martin’s Rd

5 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Camp

Daily Synopsis

I’m very good at making excuses as to why I do double posts, but considering the one and a half drives I had yesterday, I have very little to write about for a whole blog post!

Friday morning saw both Grant and I in desperate need of leopard, and together with Marka, we literally drove almost every road in the north, and found diddly squat!The fact that the rain had started coming down didn’t help with anything besides making us wet!

Zig-zagging the roads, we came across hippos, impala, waterbuck, giraffes and steenbuck, but for the most part, it was a rather forgettable morning!


After coffee, we persisted and Grant and I delighted in all the new migratory birds that have started arriving back, having competitions to see who could spot which on first!We also had a nice pair of nyala bulls, and while watching them, a large hippo came walking past, so it was a treat to see him out of the water, but besides that, it was deadly quiet; a few buffalo were feeding near the lodge too as we returned.

Hippo returning to the water late in the day

Thinking things couldn’t get worse in the afternoon, I awoke from my midday nap to a gloomy atmosphere outside, and as drive-time approached, so too did the rain – 37mm later it stopped, but a pity we were all already in bed after dinner!

That meant the drive was a wet one!I had new guests that wanted to brave the elements, and while we were not overly rewarded with sightings, we didn’t do too bad – waterbuck, hippo, crocodile, impala, kudu, hyena cubs, a lone elephant bull and a herd of zebras appeared amongst the rain drops!

Going to bed feeling the pressure to find cats on Saturday morning, we were all happy to awake to a clearing sky, and after 10 minutes of driving, we had a really rare sighting; Sunshine!!!

This didn’t bring the game out immediately, but by the close of the morning, it was a successful one for all of us!

Grant and I headed south, hoping that the conditions would be good for the hyena den; lion tracks were also in the area, so we were mildly optimistic.

The general game included a couple herds of zebras, several groups of giraffe, impalas, kudus and well, more sunshine!

Zebras, giraffe, Wahlbergs Eagle and a bit of sunshine!

Luckily for us, Rockfig Jnr and her cub had been found crossing onto our property, so we were both well placed to respond to her; but as the leopards had been quiet of late, there was a bit of line up, so I bumbled around and managed to relocate on four large elephant bulls that we watched until it was out time to go and see the leopards.

Elephants and dwarf mongoose

Some hyenas in the area had chased the leopards, but Rockfig Jnr soon came down and walked around, calling for the “cub” that came to join her!He is as big as her now, and not as relaxed with the vehicles as Nthombi’s boy, but it is no surprise, as we hardly see them these days!But both were looking in great shape, and after a while we made space and went to enjoy a cup of coffee before continuing on the good morning.

Rockfig Jnr and her cub

A bit further south a couple of rhino sightings had been established, so we went to see a large male, and not too far off, the trackers had also located on three of the Machaton lions, so we got to see them too, although, as it was already late, they were very inactive, but at least we got to see some cats!

The rest of the morning was a rushed trip home, but we saw warthogs, impalas, and more giraffe.

Giraffe calf, male rhino, sleepy Machaton lions and a family of warthogs to end the morning

The other guides had equally good mornings, and watched some wonderful interaction as Makepisi male leopard and the two Jacaranda lionesses that had stolen his kill!Miraculously, he stalked back in and frightened them off and managed to salvage a piece of the kill before moving off; Shaddy also had a rhino in the area to complete a great morning, and hopefully a return to form for us!

The afternoon showed some mixed weather; it was generally a good sky, but one rain cloud decided to drop its content over the central area putting pay to plans to track down Makepisi male or a rhino that had been around there in the morning!

The drive started off with impalas and baboons alarm calling near the camp, a sure sign of a leopard in the area, but our search produced no more than impalas, a tree squirrel and 5 buffalo bulls.

Buffalo, impala on the run, waterbuck and a tawny eagle

The two Jacaranda lionesses had been found in the riverbed, and not a great visual, so I held off for later, spending time checking the north; we had very good general game with plenty of impala all over the place, several groups of waterbuck, hippos, crocodiles, lovely eagles, giraffe, steenbuck and duiker.

Having avoided the rain, we checked for Makepisi, but had no luck, so when Grant relocated the two lionesses back eating the bones of the kill, in the open, I was near enough to respond quickly for a wonderful sighting of these two gorgeous cats!One posed majestically while the other nibbled on the bones.

Jacaranda lioness finishing off the remains of the impala kill they stol from Makepisi

A herd of waterbuck then got their attention, and with fat bellies they made a half-heartedeffort to stalk them, but eventually they just sought out each other and went to rest again as the light faded, so we parted company and went for a drink.

Jacaranda lionesses showing interest in some nearby waterbucks

The sky had cleared up wonderfully to showcase the marvellous Milky Way, but the other nocturnal animals were not so obliging – we passed copious numbers of impalas, and a whole wad of catfish swimming around in Crossing Below Argyle, but not much other excitement!

Still, with a Big 5 day under our belts, and some good quality sightings at that, it was a stark contrast to yesterday!A couple of herds of buffalo and a herd of elephants treated the guests to good viewing further south, and with the Machaton lions moving straight for the buffalo, there could be a surprise waiting for us in the morning...guess we shall once again wait and see what tomorrow brings!

Ending the day with a sundowner...at last!


  1. ‎... en die groot vyf is voltallig met die mooiste sonsondergang ... Dankie Chad!

  2. Superb photos once again Chad...
    Must say, I forgive you for double posting as the second half of the blog was awesome compared to what the first blog would have been :-)

    I would have loved to see Makepisi steal some of his kill back from the lions!!!


  3. Wonderful pictures as ever Chad ! I love them all, but tha one of the zebra in amongst the flowers is gorgeous ! Rosie.