Saturday, 6 October 2012

4th and 5th October – I Should Leave My Camera Behind More Often!

Photo of the Day

Rhino calf after a cooling wallow

4th October Morning Drive
(Grant, Andrea and Marka)
1 x leopard (Mbali female killing scrub hare) – Peru, Xinzele Rd
1 x breeding herd of buffal0 – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
2 x buffalo bulls –Peru, Xkari Rd

4th October Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant and Marka)
1 x leopard (Makepisi male) – Peru, Hippo Rocky Rd
3 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Western Cutline
13 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Argyle Rd
5 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Camp
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Trough Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Crossing Below Argyle
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Argyle Rd

5th October Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant and Marka)
1 x leopard (Nthombi’s boy) – Viemetter, Bushbaby Loop
1 x leopard (Rockfig Jnr female) – Kings, Double Highway
3 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Nyosi River Rd
2 x buffalo bulls – Java, Whitey’s Rest

5th October Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Andrea, Peter and Shaddy)
1 x leopard (Nthombi female) – Vielmetter, Nyosi River Rd
1 x leopard (unidentified male) – Peru, Sohebele Plains
3 x rhinos
1 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Argyle Dam
2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Ingwelala Crossing

Daily Synopsis
Hopefully my last double post for a bit before getting back to normal, but internet is still playing up, and between not doing a drive and leaving my camera at the lodge, I haven’t had much to post!

Thursday morning was the morning my guests decided not to do a drive, despite having not seen a leopard, and as predicted, guess what they saw!  A leopard!  Marka and his guests were lucky enough to watch Mbali catch and kill a scrub hare in front of them after our guides spent most the morning tracking herd down.  Other sightings included a massive herd of buffalos, but not much other big game.

I rejoined drive in the afternoon with a private, sole-use photographic vehicle for my two guests and their photographic guide; often such groups only want leopards, so I was delighted to hear that it was their first time in Africa and they were so eager to see anything!  

The drive started off with impala, bushbuck and an elephant bull north of camp – one of five that had spent all day at the lodge.  Leaving them we went to Argyle Dam and saw waterbuck, crocodiles and hippos before carrying on past more impala and waterbuck.

Makepisi male was found sleeping on a termite mound to the west, so I timed it to be the last station in the sighting, and we arrived to a glorious sight of this young male chilled on a termite mound; suddenly the impalas, waterbuck and kudus that had graced us earlier were almost forgotten about!
We had time, so spent about an hour watching him, and patience paid off and he eventually woke up and posed magically for the pics (of course, as I had no camera!).

Leaving him in peace, we enjoyed a sundowner before going home along the tar road hoping to get lucky with some lions that had been reported en route to Motswari earlier in the day, but nothing was found, except for a few buffalo.

The morning saw me heading south hoping to get to the hyena den early and find some life; animals on the way slowed us down and we saw some nice birds, impalas, a few zebras and then an empty hyena den.  Still no luck!

Rockfig Jnr leopardess was located and then lost near Entrance Dam, so I headed into that area to give a hand, but luckily the trackers form the south relocated her and a sighting was re-established, so I made my way to see her and again enjoyed some lovely leopard-viewing; she was reasonably active but did also pose nicely on a grassy termite mound for us.  I thought we might see some action when she found a warthog grazing in the open, but she just sat and watched as it walked off, clearly too big even for her?  While diving around looking for her, we had three different hyena sightings which is always welcomed!

I went for some coffee at Hide Dam before seeing some giraffes and wildebeest, as well as more impalas; I tried my luck in the east on the route home, hoping for a sign of some lions, but other than more giraffe and impalas, we came up empty handed.

The afternoon saw me take my camera for a change, and as usual, the leopard had other ideas!  Luckily our intention was to find rhino, so after checking the north (seeing more giraffe, kudu, waterbuck and impala) and tracking a lone rhino off the property, we stopped to enjoy some drinking impalas and a lonely hippo!

Giraffes, impalas, terrapins and kudus

The three rhinos had been located earlier in the afternoon heading towards one of the pans, so we headed in that direction and managed to relocate them, but sadly just as they had finished bathing and drinking – the male was still rubbing on a rubbing post, but the mother and calf walked off feeding to the south where we left them on the riverbed.

Crash of rhinos

I tried to get to some elephants near elephant dam, but on hearing Nthombi roaring to the north, I went to look for her; sadly I had no luck, so stopped for a drink instead; only after this had the leopard been found near Sweetwater, and while we got to see our third different leopard in as many drives, it wasn't an easy area, and was not good for photos; when she started stalking a steenbuck, we left her to it and moved on.

Nthombi in the dark

Heading home we stopped at Big Nigrescens to photograph some stars on another perfect evening in the bush!

The only nagging issue as I dosed off was where we were going to find lions in the morning...but as everyone would be looking for them, I knew that the chances were good that if any lions moved into our area, they would be found!


  1. Ruth M Kennan-Fairlamb7 October 2012 at 02:02

    Nice job if you can get it!

  2. ... a rhino titivating after a mud bath ... Chad will find us a surprise.