Monday, 19 November 2012

17th November – Lions...I Almost Thought They Were Extinct!!!

Photo of the Day

Timbavati lioness and two of the cubs neir their buffalo kill

Morning Drive
(Chad and Herold)
30 x wild dogs – Karans, 1st Sohebele Crossing
4 x lions (Timbavati lioness and three cubs with a buffalo kill) – Buchner
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Argyle Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Long Rd
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Buffalo Pan Access
6 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Oppikoppie Rd
5 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Long Rd

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Shaddy and Herold)
6 x lions (2 Timbavati lioness and 4 cubs with a buffalo kill) – Buchner
1 x leopard (unknown skittish male) – Motswari, Reception
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Camp Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Elephant Pan
1 x breeding herd of elephants – De Luca, Drongo Drive
1 x breeding herd of elephants – De Luca, Drongo Drive
4 x elephant bulls – Buchner
1 x elephant bull – Buchner
1 x elephant bull – Buchner
1 x elephant bull – Buchner

Daily Synopsis

Today saw me taking it easy in the north looking for lions, so I started along our airstrip and kicked off with a small herd of zebras feeding alongside a herd of impalas before carrying on along the northern boundary to see what else had popped in during the course of the night.  Not long into the drive, we got a message from the distant reaches of the reserve that some lions had killed a buffalo on Buchner, so Herold headed that side to follow up while Shaddy went looking for the wild dogs...luckily for them, both of them came right and enjoyed great mornings!

A less spotted Petros!

I stuck to the north, and just as well, as my dear Land Rover wasn't in the mood to play along today, and the started motor eventually gave up on me, but not before we enjoyed some time with a group of buffalo bulls and best of all, a yellow-billed oxpecker amongst them.

Another elephant and some general game showed up as we headed past Buffalo Pan, and then while watching another bull elephant, my vehicle died; luckily we push started it and got Grant to come meet us near Argyle Dam to change vehicles; there wasn't much about as we headed there, but we did manage to relocate on a large elephant herd that Herold had found earlier in the morning.  And more importantly, we found a new car!

Resuming, we followed the elephants as they rested in the shade before pushing north through some tricky areas, and actually left to go have coffee at the dam, but on going through the crossing, I saw a few elephants at the water, so asked the ladies if they would rather go watch the elephants drinking than have coffee straight away, and they said “yes” was the right choice!

We ended up having a truly spectacular scene of about 70-80 elephants coming down to the river to drink, as well as a group of buffalo bulls just further north!  There were elephants everywhere, and they just kept coming!  They were of all shapes and sizes, and it was a really unforgettable scene!


We eventually moved off and went and had our coffee before making our way back to the lodge, where the herd came to drink in the just before lunch – although this time there were “only” about 50 of them spread out in front of the lodge for all of the guests to enjoy!

Even at the start of my afternoon drive, they were still around, so we made our way around and enjoyed a sighting of several groups of elephants scattered around the lodge before making our way to Buchner, and along the route, we saw yet more elephants, kudus and impalas, but our focus was on the main reason for the journey...lions!

As we arrived, Shaddy let me know that the lions were moving away from the kill, and I knew that this meant that they were going to go and have a drink at the water in the riverbed, so after having them walk past us a couple of times, we went to where the water was.

It was then a wonderful few minutes as the lioness and four of the cubs came and lines up to drink, and just at the right moment, the sun broke through the clouds and bathed the scene in a warm glow as the camera shutter’s clicked away!

After satisfying their thirst, the lions made their way back to the kill, but stopped just short and came to rest in the river before eventually moving back to the carcass where only one youngster went to feed before he too tired and went to sleep, so we decided to head off and go and have a drink before the rains came our way.

On the way to a nearby pan, we passed several very large elephant bulls, with some of the largest tusks I have seen in a while!

After drinks, we swung past the lions on our way out, but they were all still asleep in the riverbed, so we moved on and made the long journey home, not seeing a great deal it must be said, but we enjoyed watching the lightening that flashed all around us on the distant horizons, but for once, the weatherman was wrong, and we didn’t get the rain as promised!

John, the night watchman, had a great start to his evening – within an hour and a half, he saw elephant, buffalo, leopard and hippo in the camp!!!  Who says you have to go on drive to see animals? 


  1. Thank you Chad ..... Absolutely magnificent. xx

  2. Awesome, you saw them! Chad, thanks again for a wonderful time in the Timbavati. Jennifer and I were sad to leave and will certainly try to return to see those lions!

  3. You could NEVER show me too many lion pictures!! I happen to love lions the most. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.


  4. Ross 20 november 201220 November 2012 at 13:42

    So good to see yellow billed oxpeckers returning.Cattle dipping knocked them back somewhat and in the 10 years I worked at Mots/mbali I never saw a single one.