Friday, 21 December 2012

19th December – The Lion Mystery?

Photo of the Day
Rockfig Clan with the zebra kill they stole from our mystery pride of lions!

Morning Drive
(Chad and Shaddy)
6 x lions (Jacaranda Pride – 3 males, 3 females) – Scholtz, Big Dam
2 x buffalo bulls – Scholtz, Fungwe Rd East
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Western Cutline
6 x hyenas (Rockfig Clan eating a zebra) – Vielmetter, Big Nigrescens

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Andrea and Shaddy)
6 x lions (Jacaranda Pride – 3 males, 3 females) – Scholtz, Big Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Lion Pan
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Makulu Rd
3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Marula Pan
5 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Mfene Crossing

Daily Synopsis

Getting mobile this morning, my mission was to head south to look for some rhino, but Giyani radioed me and gave a rather extensive update for the things he had found already this morning; of which my rhinos were one of the things...a pack of hyenas munching on a zebra was another, and as it was on my chosen route, I proceeded as planned, bumping into kudus, impalas and a herd of elephants as we went – but as the latter moved into a mopane thicket, we let them be and carried on towards the hyenas.

What made the hyena sighting interesting to us was that the tracks told of a story of these hyenas having stolen the zebra kill from a pride of lions, and a pride of lions that was mostly made up of youngsters?  At first I assumed that it was part of the Machaton Pride, but Petros said that there were tracks for lions of less than a year old?  Who could this pride be?  The question would have to wait a while, as we arrived at the hyenas and spent some good time watching them feeding, but they were slightly nervous, and this led us to believe that the lions were actually not too far away.

The hyenas were making short work of the zebra, but as their bellies filled up, they slowly peeled off and went to lie in the shade, and after a while, we decided to go look for the lions.  While we thought they were close, Giyani had tracks for them up at Java Camp too, and the tracks we had were heading there, but as we approached the area, we saw that their tracks were moving from Java Camp towards the zebra kill, so off we went back to the initial tracks and Petros began doing his thing while I went to look for the rhinos.  As usual, he had more luck than me!

While we couldn’t find the rhino, we did enjoy a lovely sighting of a couple of groups of zebras and a herd of giraffes in a typical African setting before we made our way back to Petros. 

It was not long after we left that another guide in the area said that he had seen the lions while having coffee in the area that the trackers were operating, but what appears to have happened is that the lions saw the trackers and got up and moved; sadly they moved into a property that the other vehicle couldn’t follow, so I raced back to resume the search, but sadly it was to no avail...and to make it more frustrating, we still don’t know which lions they are and if they are relaxed or not?  I could only speculate that it might be the Timbavati lionesses and their four cubs, but how could they be chased off by hyenas?

Either way, lions were definitely not on our menu this morning, but luckily Shaddy had tracked down the 6 Jacaranda lions in the east, so at least there was something foe my new guests in the afternoon!

Setting off with some new guests, and some old, we began at Argyle Dam with a host of birds as well as some super sleepy hippos before moving on to search for the two leopards and perhaps a rhino near our northern boundary, as both had been around this morning. Sadly though, we only ticked off loads of impalas and waterbuck, but not a great deal else, so we started heading to the east to get to the area where the lions had been in the morning....had being the operative word!

They had moved, which wouldn’t be an issue if the area wasn't a wall of mopane and right on our southern boundary, but fortunately our guides managed to relocate them a bit further north, and even more amazing, in a nice little open patch, so I actually decided to have a sundowner before going to see them.  This was great, as my new guests had passed a comment about how unlikely it seemed that we could ever find lions with the summer vegetation...well, a few minutes later we were watching 6 of them!

They were awake and a few moved around a bit, but it appeared that they were waiting for complete darkness before making a move, and having spent the night unsuccessfully trailing a buffalo herd, I am sure that they are in the mood for food this evening.  We were too, so we left them and headed back towards the lodge, not having any luck as we went along, but we still had yet another great day of viewing at Motswari.


  1. The hyena pictures really caught my eye. You are magic with the camera! Luke

  2. Super shots of the chameleon and also of the pair of Saddle-billed storks. Thanks so much

  3. Did the hyena eat the zebras eye!!!???