Monday, 1 October 2012

29th & 30th September – Good Times Keep on Rolling

Photo of the Day

Nthombi in the late afternoon
29th September Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant, Andrea, Herold and Marka)
5 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – De Luca, De Luca Access
1 x leopard (Makepisi male) – Java, Java Old Airstrip
2 x rhinos (male and female)
3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Giraffe Pan Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd

29th September Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Andrea, Herold and Marka)
5 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – De Luca, De Luca Access
2 x leopards (Nthombi and her cub) – Vielmetter, Bushbaby Loop
3 x rhinos (male, female and calf)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Entrance Dam
4 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom
3 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Trade Entrance Pan
10 x buffalo bulls – Sweetwater, Sweetwater Pan

30th September Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant and Marka)
1 x leopard (Nthombi’s Boy) – Vielmetter, Steep Sharalumi
1 x leopard (Nthombi female) – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi
3 x rhinos (male, female and calf)
6 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Lower River Rd
4 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Sharalumi Access
3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Wisani Crossing

30th September Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Andrea and Marka)
1 x leopard (Nthombi’s Boy) – Vielmetter, Steep Sharalumi
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s Boy) – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom Dam
1 x leopard (Xindzuti male) – Peru, Sohebele Dam
2 x rhinos (male and female)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam
5 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Camp
3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Sharalumi Access
1 x buffalo bull – Argyle, Rudi’s Rd

Daily Synopsis

Apologies for another double post, but between not having my camera on drives and an internet that doesn’t work, it has been a bit of a challenge!

But, as always, leaving my camera behind is a sure way for the animals to come out!  Heading out a few minutes earlier, we soon picked up tracks for a pride of lions near the camp and began following up; within about 15 minutes we caught up with them, and it was the Mafikizolo Pride again, still searching for a meal – sadly they went static in a mopane thicket which didn’t provide for good photos, but always a good way to start off the day!

Moving south to follow up on the rhinos, we enjoyed a giraffe drinking at Java Dam in the company of some impalas before moving south once more; I had no sooner gotten past Vielmetter Camp when Herold radioed in a leopard on Java Airstrip, where I had just driven!  I promptly turned around and went to join him with Makepisi male!  He was so relaxed and gave us one of the best sightings I have ever had of him – and not one photo to show for it!  Luckily, my guests got some stunning shots as he walked up to every large termite mound, scaled it to scout for prey, then checked the holes for warthogs before carrying on!

We eventually left him when he moved into a dense area on a drainage line and went for coffee where another giraffe was drinking at Java Dam.  So for a drive that went south and north on the same road, we did pretty well!

The afternoon was a warm one, so we stuck to the dams and rivers, but didn’t see all that much to begin with – impala, waterbuck and some good birds.


The rhinos had been relocated, so we moved in their direction and soon sat watching the mother and calf feeding as the male still followed them around and got growled at whenever he came too close!
Not far away, Nthombi had been found with a kill but left to go fetch her cub – she was then lost, then relocated, then lost again and one of the stations asked me to move into the area to check along the river and we soon caught up with her as she was calling for her boy – within minutes he came bounding out the bushes near us and ran to join mom!

Crash of rhinos

Reunited, they had a drink before the playing began and we followed them for a while as they made their way back to the kill, but both were full of energy and spent their time in a very playful mood making for a stunning sighting!

Fantastic sighting of Nthombi as she leads her cub to a kill
Moving towards drinks, we came across some nice kudus before a lovely sundowner and a full moon rising behind us; after drinks we came across a herd of elephants in the moon light, and passing the hyena den, we were again treated to the 5 cubs out the den and walking around sniffing our vehicle to round off a fantastic day!

Kudus and sunset

Sunday morning would be one of the mornings where we had to pay our wildlife taxes as Grant would say!  I went east to look for the lions, but found nothing but a few impalas.  As a lion had been heard roaring on Java, a couple of us headed there, but after much searching, not a single track was found anywhere!

My morning was quiet until coffee when we got to watch a large journey of giraffes around Hide Dam.  After coffee we stuck to the river beds, and while we didn’t have “big Game”, we saw duikers, steenbucks, impalas, baboons, plenty of waterbuck, warthogs and several herds of kudus before getting back to the lodge for a bush walk, and what a great little walk it was!  We saw kudu, impala, duiker, nyala, a hippo out the water and a group of buffalo bulls!

Some nice general game this morning
In the afternoon, I headed south again to where Grant had seen Nthombi and her cub and the rhinos in the morning, and got well rewarded; Andrea and Grant stayed north, and well, they too were well rewarded; both saw Argyle Jnr’s cub chilling on a massive rock, buffalo bulls and elephant bulls, while Andrea also found Xindzuti male leopard resting in the Sohebele riverbed on her way home.
I had frustratingly drive past the exact spot that the young male leopard was found in the north, but as I journeyed south, I ticked off impala, kudu, giraffes, warthogs, and waterbucks, besides the elephants that kept us company at lunch.

Kudu bulls

Arriving south, while the three rhinos had been found, I went to see the two sub-adults that Giyani had found in the same spot we saw the three yesterday.

Two rhinos
After time with them, we went to a nice big herd of elephants feeding to the south of elephant dam – it was the same herd with the tiny week-old baby, and as they moved to elephant dam, we jumped ahead and waited for them...

Based on my guests reactions, this sighting turned out to be the highlight of their stay with us!  It was a pretty impressive sighting of the 25-odd elephants all lining up to drink at the dam, some as close as 5m from us (almost feared they were going to splash us!), in the late afternoon.

Tiny baby elephants
Eventually we had to pull ourselves away to go see the main reason we had come south, Nthombi’s boy!  He was found sleeping at Steep Sharalumi Crossing again, and we arrived as he got active and walked about a fallen tree trying to get into the thicket to find whatever was attracting his attention.
He eventually went and lay in the sand, but the light was going fast, so we left him after another enjoyable leopard sighting.

Nthombi's boy late in the evening
Heading home, we didn’t have a great deal of luck, only seeing a fleeting glimpse of a hyena and bypassing several antelope species, but the elephant sighting certainly made the whole day worth it!


  1. Chad, as usual your photos are superb! Love the baby elephants.
    Your photos have been resized so well and still have kept their quality, please can I ask you what re-size application you use?

  2. So worth the wait ... Thank you, Chad.

  3. Absolutely Fantastic Chad!! Thanks so much!
    Carol Amante from FBook