Wednesday, 26 December 2012

24th December – T’was the Day Before Christmas...

Photo of the Day
Argyle Jnr's boy

Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant, Marka and Johannes)
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s boy) – Argyle, Buffalo Pan
1 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – De Luca, Drongo Drive
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Karans, Mananga Cutline
3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Wedge River Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Sharalumi Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Wedge River Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Wisani Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Mbali Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Jack’s Camp
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Giraffe Kill Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Peru Entrance

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Marka, Herold and Johannes)
8 x wild dogs – Tanda Tula, Argyle Rd
14 x lions (Giraffe farm pride with 2 white lions on a buffalo kill) – Kambaku, Kambaku Dam
1 x lion (Ross female) – Kambaku, Kambaku Dam
1 x leopard (Xindzuti male) – Argyle, Argyle Dam
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s Boy) – Argyle, Buffalo Pan Open Area
1 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
3 x buffalo – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Pan
15 x buffalo bulls – Kambaku, Kambaku Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Camp
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd North
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Vyeboom Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Buffalo Pan

Daily Synopsis

So eventually, I am on my last blog post for the year!  Yip, im on leave and handing over the blog duties to Grant and Andrea for the rest of 2012!  What a crazy year it has been, and from my side, I do hope that you have enjoyed the virtual journey with all of us as we try to share the magic that is Motswari!

I also hope and pray that you have all a wonderful Christmas and festive season wherever in the world you may be, and may you too have a prosperous New Year next week!

As far as the day before Christmas, well, for some guests in particular, Christmas came early, and they were treated to something quite special, but I will leave Grant to fill you in on his rather incredible Christmas eve drive that included the Big 5 and wild dogs for the second time in a week!

My day might not have been as eventful, but it was a good one never the less.  As we were now looking for leopard again, I went towards Buffalo Pan with Grant hoping to get lucky with Argyle Jnr’s family members.  It started off well with some gorgeous impalas and waterbucks when Grant told me he could hear hippos fighting near Vyeboom Dam, so I headed to help him find it, especially when he started wondering if it was perhaps not rhinos fighting, as all he found were fresh rhino tracks.  I searched the area, but was soon informed that it had indeed been hippos having a fight at a small pool in front of one of the camps, so we gave up our search, but we did manage to find some elephants in the area, so it wasn't all in vain.


Back at the “dam” where Grant and I had driven, we found a rhino resting in the open by the dam wall!  It is amazing how driving at a different angle can reveal different things!  He moved around a bit but soon went back to sleep and we carried on to look for the leopard.

Grant also told us it was worth going to see the masses of red-billed queleas on our northern boundary and all of the raptors that they were drawing in!  I had discussed these birds with the guests yesterday as I was amazed at how they had all suddenly arrived in the area, but around this new nesting colony, the sounds were unreal as thousands upon thousands of birds flew around and the raptors hovered waiting for the buffet to open!

Moving back to buffalo pan, I bumped into another vehicle, but luckily he was watching a leopard, so I got to see my spotted cat!  The young male was resting on the dam wall, and posing wonderfully for the camera before he moved on into a thicket and we made space for some of the other vehicles before going for a cup of coffee, but not before ticking off giraffe, zebra, impalas and waterbuck.

After coffee, it was damn hot, so we headed to Mbali Dam, and as has been the pattern the last week, there were loads of elephants around the area, and we enjoyed some more great viewing of a mass of elephants as they fed and drank in the area.  With the mercury rising, we headed off to camp for breakfast, and strangely, midday bushwalk!  Luckily it was a good walk and we encountered two breeding herds of elephants on foot!

The afternoon had some exceptional viewing, most of it by Grant who had made some special arrangements, and clearly also a deal with Santa, as drives like that don’t happen often!

My drive was a chilled affair, and my guests asked for hippos, so I went to Argyle Dam where we watched the hippos and the crocodile as well as a lone elephant bull in musthe.

Herold then heard impalas alarm calling near the dam wall and found but soon lost a leopard in the area.  I returned to take a chance, and some eagle-eye spotting from Kara, one of my guests, allowed us to find Xindzuti male leopard about 30m from the elephant bull in musthe!  He was reasonably relaxed as we followed him through some tricky terrain, and didn’t once run from us.  Sadly he walked into a thicket and we lost him – but as there were impalas on the opposite side, we sat and waited, convinced he was stalking them, but nothing materialised, so we moved on.

I wanted to go south to look for a herd of buffalo, and hope to find the Ximpoko and Mbande male lions that had been trailing them last night. The trip south was a bit quiet, with only a few impalas around, as well as some monkeys.  Fortunately we managed to find the buffalo when they too decided to use the same drinks spot that we had chosen and we got a fantastic view of the herd gathering around Hide Dam.

My best part of the sighting was when a buffalo quite literally came within touching distance of Petros. It stood there for a long time with its head almost resting on Petros’s feet, and the temptation got too much for him, so he reached out his hand and touched the buffalo on its horn! 

We stopped for drinks a short distance away and watched as the herd slowly moved off from the water as sunset on a warm day in the bush;  we then made for home, but sadly didn’t come right with hyenas or lions as had been my plan, but after the last few days we have had, we were all delighted with what we had seen...almost as delighted as we were with the wonderful Christmas dinner which the whole Motswari team had worked so hard for, and we had a really wonderful evening in the boma with all of the guests!  

Andrea will post the blog for that tomorrow, but don't forget to check out yesterday’s great blog post with a wonderful video of some roaring lions!

And if you missed the other updates from the last few days, here is a link to some lovely leopard photos:


  1. Good pics as always. Please provide some info about the camera/lens used. What type of post processing?

  2. Wowza! Your images are like Blue-Ray, High Def!!!! Nice work, so easy on the eyes!


  3. WHITE lions.. Where ??? Are they the ones that we haven't heard about since January this year, when they separated from each other, and if so is the tawny male also with them? Hope we get some pics of them please.
    To all at Motswari I hope you have a great New Year. Mine will also be great if I get to visit again in 2013.
    Happy New Year
    Jen from Australia

  4. Just love your photos. A huge dream of mine to go on a trip like that. It might come true and it might not, but in the meantime, you're living my dream and I'll be following.

    I do a lot of photograpy myself both on the blog given here and on