Thursday, 11 October 2012

9th October – Lions, Lions Everywhere!

Photo of the Day

Nthombi on the prowl

Morning Drive

(Chad, Grant and Shaddy)

2 x lions (Ximpoko males) – Argyle, Hennie’s Rd

3 x rhinos

2 x rhinos

1 x rhino

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Entrance Dam

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Bushwillow Way

1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Great North

7 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Long Rd


Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Grant, Andrea and Shaddy)

2 x lions (Ximpoko males hunting buffalo) – Peru, Snare Rd

3 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Peru, Sohebele Dam

1 x lion (unknown male lion) – Motswari, Southern Access

1 x leopard (Nthombi female) – Jaydee, Airstrip

6 x elephant bulls – Peru, Sohebele Dam

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Java, Confluence Crossing

5 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Argyle Dam

2 x buffalo bulls, Argyle, Long Rd

3 x buffalo bulls – Karans, Majavi Dam


Daily Synopsis

After an amazingly exciting drive the evening before, I knew that little I could do would top that, so I headed south hoping that a few cute hyenas and perhaps some elephant babies would be a good way to start the day.  Finding a group of zebras near the camp at the start of the drive got us started in the right direction.

Zebras near camp

Things then got a bit quiet, but we had impala, giraffe (including another tiny baby) and kudus as we moved south, before I left Petros to track down two lionesses whose tracks were going south; in the north the Ximpoko males had killed and already finished a baby buffalo and were moving back south, so Grant went to see them.

I persisted in the south and soon came across some hyenas, but not at the den; not far from the hyenas was a herd of elephants, so things were looking good!

Tawny eagle, hyena and elephant herd

Some rhinos had also been found so I went to see if I could relocate on them; however, without Petros, I was a bit buggered!  I left the guests for a short while and tried “tracking” them down; this basically involved me walking and hoping to see a track here or there!  I managed, but after several hundred metres and no rhinos, I had to leave the tracks and go back to the guests without any good news, except that a coffee stop was imminent! 

After coffee I heard that the rhinos had been found a few hundred metres from where I had turned around, so we went to see them; it was a treat to see not only our three regulars, but they were also in the company of the young male and female!

Our time was up so we rushed back to camp for breakfast and a morning walk as the temperatures rose!

Lovely crash of 5 rhinos

In the afternoon, I had a plan to go and see the Ximpoko male lions after dark, hoping that they would roar, as that would be about the only thing to come close to the excitement of last night.

The drive began with me checking the Wedge north of camp, but it was reasonably quiet on that front; only impalas, steenbucks and kudus.

Moving to Argyle Dam we had hippos, waterbuck, impala, warthogs and a few buffalo bulls, but they had disappeared by the time we finished with the warthogs.


At Sohebele Dam, a group of elephant bulls kept us company for a bit before Nthombi was located right in the north of her territory again, and I decided to head in her direction; we ticked off more waterbuck, kudu and a distant herd of buffalo feeding in the Nhlaralumi as we made our way to the leopard!

Marka and his Shlaralumi guests enjoying some elephant bulls

Buffalo herd in the Nhlaralumi

Nthombi herself was a star, and after posing wonderfully on a termite mound, she got mobile and walked off to the west giving us some great viewing!

Another great sighting of Nthombi

I wasn't going to have a drink, but as it was still early and I didn’t think that the lions would move, I stopped for a sundowner before carrying on.......only to hear that the lions were walking into an area that we couldn’t follow as it was right by a landowners camp....oh bugger!

I only lost a bit of faith, but turned my attention to the area where tracks for three of the Mafikizolo lions had been heading in the morning, and fortune was on our side when we located them resting below Sohebele Dam wall...

Things got better, and just as I had wished for from the Ximpoko males, the three Mafikizolo lions all started roaring next to us – twice...what a magical experience

Mafikizolo males roaring for me after i missed out on the Ximpoko males!

Heading back to camp very content with our afternoon’s success, we were rewarded again when Andrea found yet another male lion right at the camp!  Between the Mafikizolo male roaring as well as this lone male, it was only a matter of time before the Ximpoko’s arrived, and sure enough, from just after 10pm, they spent the rest of the night roaring a couple hundred metres from the camp, leaving us with a clear mission for the morning....find more lions!


    Your photos are amazing... almost like you can touch the screen and feel what those beautiful animals would feel in real life :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Stunning, stunning pics but the leopards will always be my favorite. Thank you, Chad.

  3. WOW... Stunning pics as Always Chad!!!
    Nthombi,Nthombi,Nthombi... She is GORGEOUS!

    Great day in the bush Chad, and nice update.


  4. Chad, anything new from the white lion side? i know they haven't shown up at timbavati lately but would you know if they are still doing well? Cheers beat

  5. Chad fabulous pictures as usual and what fantastic sighting - Nthombi is a rock star