Sunday, 25 November 2012

24th November: Awesome Ellie's.

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack, Andrea & Marka.)

Rhino ( Male)
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Mbali – White Syringa Link.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Java Access.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Scholtz – Karans/ Scholtz Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Buffalo Kill Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Mbali – Buffalo Kill Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Java – Java Dam Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Shadrack, Andrea & Marka.)

Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Motswari – Wedge River Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / JayDee – Tamboti Pan.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Vielmieter – Elephant Dam.
Rhino ( Male & Female)
Rhino ( Male)
Lion ( Xipoko & Maband Males & Mafikizolo Female) / Vielmieter – Nkhoro Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

With Lions roaring in the North East Jacky and I decided to head to this area of thick Mopane forest although we did believe that they were calling from beyond our boundaries but having not visited the region in a while we thought it was about time and after all, who knows what you will find. Unlike the previous morning we found the Ingwelala airstrip empty the Wildebeest choosing wisely to vacate the area after their Hyena encounter and now it appeared there were Lions in the region. Winding our way through the dense emerald jungle of Mopane Jacky once again pointed in front of us to point out a large male Rhino who was inquisitive to who was disturbing the stillness of the area. On seeing him we killed the engine as no doubt he would be a skittish individual in a region that he does not have much interaction with us. He was a little nervous of our presence but did not run off and would only slowly move into areas that he had a number of Mopane's between himself and us when we tried to approach closer. 

Getting the best view that we could we left him to go his way not wanting to stress him as he moved into thicker vegetation. Shaddy had set off to the central area hoping to find himself and his guests a relaxed Rhino but while following up on tracks he eventually had to abandon them as there were too many Elephant in the area, making it difficult to see the tracks and not to mention dangerous. 

Needing Elephant though we headed in his direction and took over his sighting this was very short lived though as no sooner had we gone off road we heard a loud hissing noise similar to the noise one hears when air escapes a tyre. Sitting in amongst the herd they two picked up their heads and looked in our direction as our tyre went flat. With the Elephant moving off the decision had been made and our coffee stop had been chosen. While I set up coffee, Jacky changed the tyre but during all of this a few Elephant that had been lagging behind due to the baby they had by their side came wandering through our coffee break. Having anticipated something like this I had mentioned to our guests beforehand that should any Elephant come in our direction they must slowly make their way back to the vehicle. Lucky for us Jacky had finished and everybody loaded up as mom in protection of her calf gave us a little bit of a warning while her calf slipped passed our position in the direction that the others had left us in. Safely across mom turned and followed and we could return to our coffee. Getting mobile again we went in search of the herd again but they had accelerated their pace and were clearly in a rush to get to the nearby river.

Arriving along the rivers course we found a herd that was resting in the shade of the riverine bush but we could hear another herd busy in the water of the rivers pools.

Not being able to see from our bank we drove around to the opposite side and was amazed to see plus, minus a hundred Elephant in the area. Some of them feeding on the banks of the river, others rolling in the sand, while more drank and swam in and from the pools of water. We found a spot that had us in the heart of the action and spent the next hour sitting in one of the best Elephant sightings I've ever had. I could be here all day describing what we witnessed and that would do it no justice, it had to be experienced to be believed, for me the highlight was the noises, the crashing and crunching of trees, the splashing of water and the endless trumpeting and bellowing of the Elephant themselves. The sighting itself highlighted the very dynamic nature of these magnificent creatures that clearly are capable of feeling and expressing emotions. 

Being a number of herds that congregated at one spot they slowly, slowly started to drift apart in their respective directions after their reunion and with the last group making their way South we headed off back North to the lodge for breakfast.

Drive set off under hot humid conditions and we thought it best to stick around the water initially as not much would be venturing around in this heat. Hearing from a neighbour that he had seen a pack of Wilddog resting in the riverbed outside his house and a little North of Motswari, a couple of us headed to the area to follow up, after all they would never move in this heat and we all expected to be sitting with sleeping dogs within five minutes. Well five minutes came and went, so did ten and quickly fifteen and twenty followed with us finding nothing, not even a track, hmm.......................... 

Needing Leopard more Jacky and I decided to head in the direction where they had Mbali's tracks in the morning. Knowing that there were a number of good Marula Trees in the area we hoped to zig-zag around and get lucky with her sleeping in one of them. Criss-crossing all over the place and checking all her favourite spots we found them empty and as was with the Wilddog we found no tracks to even give us a hint to her whereabouts. Running out of spots to search Jacky and I resigned ourselves and with a little light left headed off in the direction of the Lions hoping to catch them in better light. 

Our drive South was a quit one, almost eerie, as what had happened to all the Elephant that had frequented the area in the morning? Reaching the Lions we found the honeymoon couple out in a beautiful clearing and our timing could not have been any better as no sooner had we settled in they began to mate. Being a quick affair it was all over within in a minute but we did reassure our guests who may of missed the money shot that they would get another chance within the next fifteen minutes. Two minutes short of show time the female gave the male the signal and once again he mounted her, this time it was a longer affair, a minute and half, before it was once again over. 

Having had a great sighting of this rare event we took our leave intending to stop for sundowners but along the way we found a drag mark and not far off the road to our left we found a large male Impala that had been killed. Becoming more aware of our surroundings we could see other Impala all staring to the East and could hear a francolin alarm calling in the same direction. The Leopard was not far but with the light disappearing on us we had to work quickly if we wanted to see it. Checking the roads to the East and then going off road to check the area we could find nothing. Checking on a nearby dam thinking it had gone for water we again found nothing and then came to the conclusion that it must be Ntombi and that she had dragged her prey under a thick Terminalia bush to hide it while she went off to fetch her cub. Having lost all light we vowed to return in the morning to follow up hoping that the Hyena and also the nearby Lions did not get wind of her Impala.

Squeezing in a quick drink we once again had to rush back to camp as to avoid having to wash up, a penalty awarded to all late comers. Chad may as well change department now.


  1. Awesome does not cover this blog, Grant. Stunning pictures. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Really marvellous elephant shots. Thanks so much for them. Eight young wart-hogs, is it usual for some many in one litter?

  3. Wonderful - you lead such charmed lives - thank you for making the fauna and flora of Timbavati come alive through your pictures and blog

  4. terrifics pictures!!!!! congrats!
    maia afrika