Friday, 26 October 2012

25th October – The Grass Is Definitely Greener!

Photo of the Day
Grazing Rhino

Morning Drive
(Chad, Marka, Grant, Herold and Shaddy)
2 x lions (Ximpoko males) – Vielmetter, Nkhoro Rd
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Buffalo Pan Access
3 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Buffalo Pan Access
12 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Leguaan Rd

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Herold and Shaddy)
2 x lions (Ximpoko males) – Vielmetter, Nkhoro Rd
2 x rhinos (mother and female calf)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Hide Dam Northern Access
2 x elephant bulls – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi

Daily Synopsis

Hello again!  I trust you all enjoyed Grants entertaining blog posts over the last week and a half, and as usual, I seemed to have missed out on a lot of good sightings, especially with a load of lions returning despite the inclement weather....but to be honest, I was quite happy to be reading about all the rain from the warmth of my bed in Joburg rather than being driving around in it!!!  

The effects of all the rain were immediately noticeable when I woke up on my first day back at work (having arrived late the evening before, but at least I could confirm that Grant hadn’t been making up all the stories of lions...i saw the bigger Mafikizolo male on the road in, and a bit further along another lone lioness....and a rhino, so not a bad drive in in the dark!), and I couldn’t get over how green and fresh the bush looked!

I awoke to hear that not only had the Timbavati Pride been on our airstrip last night, but a Mahlathini male had been in camp trying to catch a buffalo, but Petros had also found a lioness and a cub with a giraffe kill near the Motswari turn-off, so it looked like I wouldn’t be struggling for lions on my first afternoon back on drive!

It turned out to be a goodie – rhino, hippos, crocodile, kudu, waterbuck, impala, Mbali resting up in a tree, a not-so-wonderful sighting of the lioness and cub on the giraffe kill (it was in very thick bush next to the road), and even a 99 percent sure sighting of a pennant-winged nightjar!!!  We were having drinks and a bird came flying down, and it looked odd, and when it banked to the right, the two trailing streamers on the wings were unmistakable, and as this is the only bird in the region with such feathers, I know I cant be wrong, but as it was only a two-second sighting, I am somehow doubting myself?

A resting Mbali

Anyway, I was back in bush, survived the first drive and then began a full day of driving on Thursday.  Having had a leopard calling in camp last night, and hearing that John had heard lions roaring to the south east early in the morning, I headed sunshine!  

We saw some nice korhaans calling and displaying, and also ticked off kudus and impalas, but the east was a bit quiet...but we eventually found some lion tracks and began tracking, but it wasn't easy with the hard soils after the rains...Marka then picked up tracks further west, and Johannes even further north-west still...sadly his crossed the boundary, so we gave up as we concluded that it was a fruitless search, so off we went in search of anything else the bush wanted to show us....which appeared to be very little this morning!  We did manage a small herd of zebras before coffee, but it was generally quiet.

Korhaan and zebras

After coffee things picked up, and we found a load more impalas, but also plenty of giraffe as we headed back north – seeing four different groups in the latter part of the drive.

Male giraffes

We ticked off a lone buffalo bull, a male giraffe trying to mate with a female, but perhaps he was a bit shy as the kids and a few zebras) were watching?

A lone elephant bull kept us company for a short while before he ran off into the mopanes and we left him to it.

Buffalo bull, frisky giraffes, zebras and a lone elephant

Even the steenbucks were not running away from us this morning, and together with giant land snails, terrapins and crocodiles, we also enjoyed the smaller creatures this morning.

Relaxed steenbuck

In the afternoon I headed south, with a pop past Argyle Dam where we were treated to a pod of hippos out the water, the large croc and a load of general game on Piva Plains.

Hippos and croc at Argyle Dam

General game on Piva Plains

Moving south we saw more zebras, impalas, kudus, wildebeest and giraffe, but frustratingly missed a herd of elephants near Hide Dam, they only popped up as we were approaching a sighting of the mother rhino and her growing calf!  

They were in a rather tricky area to begin with, but eventually came out into the open and gave us a lovely view of them.

Wildebeest, mongoose and rhino and calf

Stopping for drinks a bit early, our main intention was to go and see the Ximpoko male lions near sunset hoping to see more than sleeping lions, so after a glass of wino, we headed in their direction...and found...sleeping lions.  One opened his eyes and rolled over, the other farted, but that was sadly about all we got!  Still, spending time in the company of two large male lions is always a treat!

Sleepy Ximpoko males

Moving back north, we bypassed another herd of zebras, impalas, steenbucks, a chameleon and an obliging spotted eagle owl to round off a nice day...

Chameleon and a spotted eagle owl

My Highlight of the Day (well, technically, yesterday)

Seeing as Grant has started this, I mind as will continue it!  Although I am already cheating, as my highlight was actually yesterday, and that was seeing a rhino in the middle of a large clearing!  I have driven past that clearing thousands of times, and never before seen a rhino on it, which has always amazed me, as it is perfect for rhinos!!!  So, to be able to eventually spend time with a rhino on the clearing was a real all I need is a cheetah to show up there!!!

Waterbuck and impalas about as surprised to see a rhino on the plains as I was!!!


  1. Welcome back Chad! What a great way to start off the new cycle, some great sightings and pictures.
    I must say I like the new highlight of the day section. And don't we always want to see cheetahs in every clearing that suits them :-)


    ps. Great photos buddy!

  2. Always wonderful to see the photos - I feel like I have been on a safari with you - keep up the wonderful work!

  3. Welcome back Chad - the animals seem to have been also putting out a welcoming party for you. What news of your book ?

  4. Obliging owl, displaying korhaan, shy-less steenbuck, yawning hippo, sleeping leopard, frisky giraffe, amazed antelope, lone elephant & buffalo, accommodating rhino and rude lion - all welcoming Chad back from his break. I did enjoy Grant’s posts and the new highlight of the day feature that he started but it is also good to have Chad back. (Should my posts here on the blog don’t make 100% sense – I copy it when I share the blog on my FB page. I just love this blog, the people, the pictures and the stories in it.)