Thursday, 10 January 2013

07th January – The Chasers!

Photo of the Day

Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant, Andrea, Shaddy and Herold)
3 x wild dogs – Peru, Peru Entrance
1 x lion (lone lioness) – Motswari, Reception Link
1 x leopard (Umfana male with impala kill) – Vielmetter, Entrance Dam
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s Boy) – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Elephant Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Northern Access
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Lion Pan
1 x buffalo cow- Vielmetter, Entrance Dam

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Peter, Andrea, Shaddy and Herold)
19 x wild dogs (with impala kill) – Argyle, Wilken’s Way North
1 x leopard (Makepisi male) – Argyle, Wilkens Way North
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s boy) – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom Dam
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s girl) – Argyle, Vyeboom Dam
1 x leopard (Umfana male) – Vielmetter, Crossing Below Entrance Dam
1 x rhino
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Lion Pan
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Illegal Crossing
6 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd North

Daily Synopsis

After being the one that did all the chasing around yesterday, I was hoping for a more chilled day today, so headed in the direction of where the leopards had avoided me all day yesterday near Vyeboom Dam, and after the usual impalas to kick start the day, we arrived and scanned all the rocks below the dam wall, but found nothing, so we carried on to go and look for where the wild dogs had gotten to yesterday.  My curse clearly hasn’t come back too much, as it didn’t take long before one of the land owners radioed to tell as the wild dogs had just run past his camp, straight in our direction – about a minute later three dogs came running over the hill into view. 


Some nearby hyenas made a strange sound that caused all three dogs to charge off in their direction and as we arrived, we found a remarkable scene of three wild dogs fighting three hyenas, and despite being so much smaller, it was the dogs that won out and left the hyenas running off with their tails between their legs – while short, it was a wonderful sighting!  The dogs then sadly moved into an inaccessible area and we stuck with the hyenas and some baboons in the area – one of the hyenas was limping while the other had a bit of blood from the attack, but all will be fine I am sure!

Moving along the Nhlaralumi we again had luck with a lone buffalo bull sleeping in a waterhole and a nice herd of elephants feeding in the Nhlaralumi that we got to watch on foot.


After coffee, we went to go and see if Umfana male was still around his baby impala kill from last night, but on arriving, we only found the kill and no leopard.  Luckily a lone buffalo cow was at Entrance Dam nearby and came charging in our direction, but stopped near the car, sniffing intently – we weren’t sure if it was just the scent of the leopard faeces we had driven over or if she was sniffing for the cat itself...the answer was soon revealed when she moved to a thicket near the kill and the next thing a leopard came flying outof the undergrowth, closely followed by a buffalo!  We went in search of the leopard and luckily Kate spotted him hiding in a bush along the riverbank – he wasn't too happy, understandably, so we gave him a bit more space, but he was snarling and soon charged us and ran off.  We relocated him and gave him space, he seemed fine, but when we tried to position for a view, he got upset and mock charged again, so we left him alone and headed back to camp, passing a hyena resting in Hide Dam as we went.

It wasn't only the animals being chased by each other today, but our trackers were also chasing after animals on foot!  We awoke to a roaring lion close to camp, and soon found tracks for a lone lioness walking through the staff village, but sadly on being located on foot, she ran off, and Marka was unable to relocate her in the Land Rover, but Andrea managed to do so before closing down at the lodge – I was sadly already late, and despite going back out after breakfast, she had moved off. 

Andrea also found a young male leopard at Vyeboom Dam after I had driven there, so it was my mission to find him there in the afternoon – but having learnt from the last two days, I knew I couldn’t go there early, and needed it to cool down first, so I drove around to the east to see if the Sohebele brothers were back – we began with a group of elephant bulls near Xinatsi Dam, including the impressive Classic.  We continued with impalas, warthogs and zebras, but sadly no lions or signs of the lions coming back.

Moving back west, we passed Argyle Dam and enjoyed some hippos and a large crocodile, as well as good birds whilst on Piva Plains we had impalas and waterbucks feeding and play fighting.

Arriving at Vyeboom Dam, I again stopped and scouted all the rocks for some spots that would try camouflage the wearer, but there was nothing.  Moving to the northern crossing and coming back on the western bank, I eventually saw what I had been looking for for the last three days – leopard on a rock!

Getting into a good position in a tricky area, we relished the sighting as Argyle Jnr’s young boy posed like a star on the rocks in the last light of the day.

A francolin then caught his attention and he tried to stalk it, but the alert bird picked up his presence before he could pounce, and he lay down and went to sleep, so we pulled out. 

About 200m away, we stopped to watch our next leopard – the little girl for Argyle Jnr as she lay and watched the world go by from the comfort of Vyeboom Dam wall.

Moving on to see if the wild dogs had moved into a more accessible area, we were informed that they indeed had, albeit only marginally more accessible.  We arrived to find only two dogs feeding on a large male impala in the riverbed, so it was quite distant, but still a good sighting – soon the rest of the pack arrived to feed in a choir of yelps and whines that clearly drew the attention of Makepisi male leopard, and we sat and watched him watch the dogs (also very distant), but having already seen two leopards this drive, we weren’t too fussed and found it a fitting way to end off a rather good day with some wonderful animal interactions!

Makepisi watching some wild dogs feasting

Hope the good form continues!


  1. We had such an amazing time and such awesome sightings - thanks Chad. We're all missing Motswari terribly.

    Tammy Lee

  2. Yes, it was good to have the Motswari blog back in action - you lead absolutely wonderful lives - all of your readers must be really envious

  3. Howzit Chad,

    glad too see you are all back "working" ;-). Great pictures and glad you finally found you're leopard on the rock and I must say Argyle Jnr’s boy posed beautifully for you.
    Caught up with all the blogs this morning, and must say, there were some great sightings...

    Where in the world is Kuhanya? She was always close to camp but haven't heard anything about her in a long time...
    Another question, is there any news about the white lions that was split etc, I saw the blog about the other white lions, but know they are not the same ones.

    Thanks as always.

  4. We just spent 2 glorious weeks at our family farm Mansimvula and were so surprised to see so much in the very thick bush!! We even saw 5 leopards in one morning! That was a 1st for us. On our way to hans mere sky for golf one morning we even came across 25 wild dogs on the hunt- wow!!! When we return I log on to see your stunning pics and remind myself why I grind it out at work so I can get up there whenever a break presents itself!! Thanks for the lovely pics and informative blog. Viv king