Wednesday, 14 November 2012

12th and 13th November – Babies Abound!

Photo of the Day
Tiny baby elephant calf

12th November Morning Drive
(Andrea, Peter, Marka, Shaddy)
2 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Jaydee, Jumbo Drive
12 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, 1st Sharalumi Crossing
6 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Marula Pan
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Western Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Tawny Eagle Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Jaydee, Tamboti Pan

12th November Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Marka, Andrea and Shaddy)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Old Mpisi Khaya Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Makulu Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Second Sharalumi Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Madala Crossing
2 x elephant bulls – Java, Leopard Rock Hide
1 x elephant bull – Scholtz, Borneo-Scholtz Cutline
6 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Wedge River Rd
2 x buffalo bulls – Jaydee, Tamboti Pan
4 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, First Sharalumi Crossing

13th November Morning Drive
(Chad, Marka, Andrea and Shaddy)
2 x lions (Lioness and cub) – Argyle, Horizon Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Oppikoppie Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Mangova Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter-Java Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Bushbaby Loop
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Nkhoro Rd
3 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Bushbaby Loop
6 x buffalo bulls – Jaydee, Madala Crossing
9 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Sharalumi Access

13th November Afternoon Drive
(Chad and Marka)
2 x rhinos
1 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Lily Pan
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Peter Pan Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Crossing Below Java
1 x elephant bull – Jaydee, Tchwala Rd
1 x elephant bull – Java, Java Airstrip

Daily Synopsis

I didn’t drive on Monday morning, but it didn’t sound particularly productive out there, and only having two guests in the afternoon, I took a chance and went east on my first drive hoping to track down the six Jacaranda lions; this is always risky, as one could end up seeing absolutely nothing on the first drive – the plus side is that things can only ever get better!!!

Luckily my guests were just so happy to be in the bush and loved everything they saw; we began with impalas and wildebeest on Kudu Pan Clearing before finding the lion tracks and checking around – sadly the conditions were not great for tracking following the rain yesterday morning, but eventually Petros went on foot and began following up while I checked the east.  Only at Majavi Dam did we get lucky with our temperamental hippo, and as usual he splashed around and put on a show for us!  While watching him, a lone hyena came ambling past the dam to the south.


It was getting dark, and Petros wasn't having a great deal of luck; nor were Jacky and Patrick who were tracking a lone lioness and cub near the lodge, so as the sun was setting, I collected Petros and while waiting for him, heard some branches breaking nearby and went into the bush to find one of the largest elephant bulls I have seen for a while!  He was one of the collared ones, and a good 50-years old, and what a big boy he was!  Luckily he was also very relaxed and fed a few metres from us before moving off, and so we too went for a drink to enjoy a wonderful sundowner as Petros had the guests in stitches of laughter with his rendition of my leopard dance!

After drinks we tried for the lions in the dark, but instead came across a chameleon, a genet, some giraffes, and best of all, a relaxed African wild cat that posed for us for a while; best part of the whole drive was that we didn’t see another soul!

We almost repeated this feat the next morning too; I was just intent on bumbling in the north, hoping to get lucky with lions; soon we found tracks for the lone lioness, but they were near our boundary and heading straight north – we still checked the northern boundary and as Petros was scanning the ground quickly – a sure sign he had seen tracks – I looked up and thought I saw a leopard coming down off the termite mound on our left – then I realised it didn’t have spots, and was only small because it was a lion cub following its much bigger mother!

Sadly for us, and everyone else, they were mobile north, so we got to follow them for only about 100m before they crossed into Ingwelala – still, it was a wonderful surprise!  While with them, we heard elephants to the south, and soon located on a nice herd feeding to the north too and spent time with them.

Marka found a bigger herd a few hundred metres away, and I made my way there on hearing that there was a baby elephant no more than a couple of days old; we got into the heart of the herd and soon found it, and man, what a cutie he was!

The whole herd was a joy to watch and were so relaxed, some feeding within touching distance of us!

Carrying on, we checked the northern boundary, and soon found a nice herd of giraffes, waterbuck and impala gathered on one of the clearings, this after enjoying the antics of a baboon troop at a distance, but it was still wonderful watching their babies at play too!

After a coffee stop and leaving Petros to check on tracks for a male lion, we carried on and found rhino tracks that Petros began tracking in the late morning – not ideal, and the grassy area he walked through made tracking slow, so eventually we ran out of time, but we still saw impalas, kudu, and some zebras in the area as the morning warmed considerably!

The afternoon started with me receiving new guests, as well as the news that the rhino was found at the other end of the block we had been tracking in!  So off we trundled in that direction, but as usual, when one has to get to an area in a hurry, the animals were all out on show – impalas, waterbucks, hippos, kudu males and best of the lot, a herd of zebras with a new born baby in their midst (as well as an adult supporting a fresh wound from a lion attack, no doubt when the Jacaradas were that side 3 days back!).

Passing herd after herd of impalas we arrived to a lovely sighting of the rhino feeding in a mopane woodland – he has gotten wonderfully relaxed these days, and is a joy to watch!

Carrying on, we relocated a herd of elephants that Marka had found swimming in Lily Pan earlier, and once more, we were enthralled with them and  how close they came to feed around the vehicle – there was also a month old baby with them.

We enjoyed another stunning sunset with a view over the Drakensberg before checking Vielmetter for some leopards, but besides passing impalas, wildebeest, zebras and a genet, it was a bit quiet out here is to hoping that some predators come back tomorrow!



  1. I cannot believe that you have seen a African wild cat. They are almost impossible to see.


  2. What a great first day it was for us!! Craig and I miss your drives considerably and the constant sightings we had in our 3 days there. Truly a difft story on the neighboring reserve. We will surely be back to see you soon! All our best to you and Petras. Craig & Ginger

  3. Thanks asalways Hester!

    And Jems, weare lucky enough to see wild cats on a weekly basis here, although a bit easier in winter it must be said!

    Hi Ginger and Craig! just saw all of you absolutely wonderful comments about your time at Motswari - really delighted that you enjoyed your time with us so much, and sorry that the next safari didnt quite match up, but hope you still saw some lovely animals that side!

    Hope you well, and thanks again!