Photo of the Day
|Lion eating a leopard.......tortoise|
(Chad, Grant, Andrea, Peter and Shaddy)
2 x lions (Ximpoko males) – Vielmetter, Nyosi River Rd
2 x lions (Jacaranda lionesses) – Peru, Russet Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Xinkovanini Rd North
1 x elephant bull – Mbali, Woza-Woza Cutline
2 x buffalo bulls – Java, Java Dam
(Chad, Grant, Andrea, Peter and Shaddy)
2 x lions (Ximpoko males) – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Southern Access
1 x lion (Sohebele male) – Peru, Voel Dam
1 x leopard (Makepisi male) – Peru, Hippo Rocky Rd
3 x rhinos
6 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Long Rd
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Long Rd
1 x elephant bull – Vielmetter, Jaydee Access
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Voel Dam
Going to bed worrying about where we would lions today, I was mildly confident that at least some lions would make their way onto the property during the night, and if any tracks were found, then so too would the lions be...little did I know that by the end of the day lions from three different prides would make appearances!
The morning mission was purely to find lions, but as the light was good, we headed to Argyle Dam to get some shots of the hippos against the rising sun before heading to the north-east; Shaddy and Giyani had the same ideas, so between the three of us, we covered our north-eastern corner and came to the sad realisation that no lions had come in from that side; luckily tracks for two male lions had been found coming in from the south, and the King’s stations were on that, while tracks for two lionesses came in from the north, so Simbavati and Motswari looked after those.
Makepisi male leopard had been located near where he had been the day before, so after failing in the east, I was heading towards him; tracks for the lionesses were picked up by guides responding to the leopard, so once he was somehow lost in a rather open area, we turned our attention to the lion tracks – the southern stations had located on the Ximpoko males near the Nyosi river, and as one of the Simbavati stations was heading there, he bumped the two Jacaranda lionesses, so without further ado, we joined the line up and were soon pulling in to see these young, but very gorgeous lionesses, and just like last week, they are looking in great shape!
They were resting on a termite mound in the shade and posing wonderfully for photos, both very awake on a hot morning. One of the lionesses then got up, walked twenty metres south, dug under a fallen log and came back; only when she lay down did we realise that we had just witnessed one of the least exciting kills in lion history! She had clearly spotted movement, walked over to investigate and came back with the tiniest baby leopard.........tortoise in her mouth! The little creatures little shell was no defence against the lioness’s strong jaws, and she eventually ate it – but not before just sitting with it in her mouth for ages!
|Lioness with her prized "kill"|
We left and went for a cup of coffee on the shady banks of the Nhlaralumi before heading back to camp, not seeing much else besides fair general game. Even around camp on a warm afternoon, the game was good – impalas, nyalas and warthogs all joined us for lunch before we headed out.
My mission for the afternoon was to find some buffalo bulls in the north and then head south for those male lions towards the end of the evening.
Checking the pools along the Sohebele River, we soon found a group of 6 buffalo bulls resting in the shade – not great for photos, but good to see. Not much further along the road we had a lone elephant bull along with hippos, baboons, impalas, crocodiles and kudus at Argyle Dam.
Grant went to see if he could relocate Makepisi male leopard from the morning and found him resting in the shade on the same termite mound he had been at three days ago! I wasn't far off, so I headed in that direction, passing quite a lot of waterbuck, giraffe and impala along the way.
Sadly the leopard was resting in the shade, but he was awake and alert and once again proved to be a good model for us!
Three rhinos had been found further south near the male lions, so on leaving the leopard, I headed in that direction – I almost turned around when one of the Sohebele male lions was located at Voel Dam, but thought that two big males were better than one, so continued with my original plan. Just before the rhinos we saw another lone elephant bull feeding in the shade of a tree.
|Elephant bull and rhino herd|
The rhinos were heading to a nearby pan, so after watching them for a while, we jumped ahead and waited at the dam for them to come and drink before making space for some other stations to visit them.
|Rhinos having a sundowner|
The day was cooling off, so we decided to make our way to the lions, and the timing was great- not for photography perhaps, but at least we got to see them awake!
They were resting in the riverbed, and just as darkness fell they woke up and started grooming before rising and heading north a short distance; our hopes of hearing them roar were dashed when both flopped down again and we headed back to the north.
|Ximpoko male lions resting in the Nyosi river|
The drive home was a bit of a rushed affair, but we still saw a genet, loads of impalas, two hyenas and two porcupines to round off a fantastic afternoon – the Big 5 and so much more in one drive! For my guest whose birthday it was, I would say that the animals of Motswari gave her quite a pleasing birthday present!
With most of the animals on the wish list ticked off, it leaves us with just cheetah and wild dogs to find tomorrow...easy-peasy!