Wednesday, 23 January 2013

21st and 22nd January – Is that the Sun I See?

Photo of the Day
Nthombi lounging in a marula tree watching some nearby hyenas

21st January Morning Drive
1 x elephant bull – De Luca, Ingwelala Airstrip

21st January Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Johannes and Marka)
1 x leopard (Nthombi female with an impala kill) – Jaydee, Argyle Rd
2 x rhino
1 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Argyle, Argyle Rd

22nd January Morning Drive
(Chad, Johannes and Marka)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – De Luca, Western Cutline

22nd January Afternoon Drive
(Chad and Marka)

Daily Synopsis

Following our soaking drive yesterday afternoon, and with most of my guests checking out today, we all opted for a morning off as the weatherman had predicted a 98 percent chance of rain throughout the day...needless to say, Marka braved the drive and didn’t even get wet!  Yip, the rains had eventually passed and the sun even showed itself, much to the surprise of my now sunburnt arms!

Marka’s drive sounded like a frustrating one, mostly because every crossing he went to turned out to be uncrossable!  Even on Argyle Rd, the bridge in and out of the reserve was totally flooded, even to 4x4s, and this posed an issue for my guests that had to leave today!  As a result, my day was spent driving backwards and forwards to the bridge trying to see if it was crossable – I managed to walk across and we contemplated walking the guests across to meet their transfer that was waiting on the other side, but on trying to cross the whole bridge on foot, I realised it wasn't happening...luckily by 1pm the water subsided enough to allow us to get across in a Land Rover and off my guests went, and in came a new guest so it was back to the grind stone in the afternoon.

With limited access in the east, my afternoon saw me driving past Ingwelala bridge for the 6th time today but this time we paused to enjoy the tranquil scene as a hippo popped its head up and the fishes tried to get upstream. 

We spent time watching impalas as we made our way to where Argyle Jnr and her two cubs had an impala kill earlier in the afternoon, but as there was no off-roading, the sighting never actually materialised and we had to enjoy more beautiful scenery, loads of impalas, some kudus and waterbuck before closing for an early afternoon drink at Mbali Dam.

Nhlaralumi and the broken Mbali Dam!

After that, we spent some time watching a foam nest frog make a nest, and then tried the leopards again, but they were not there again – luckily at about this point, Nthombi leopardess was found further south with her own impala kill, so while it was a long trip, we made the move and headed in that direction.  Some very fresh rhino tracks caught our attention and a couple hundred metres further, we found the male responsible for it and spent some nice time watching him scent-marking and grazing around before shooting down Argyle Rd to see Nthombi.

We passed a lone hyena, but got to see two more than came to investigate the kill that was safely hoisted up an adjacent marula tree to where Nthombi had comfortably propped herself up.

Having had a lovely sighting of this gorgeous cat, we made the long trip back to camp, only seeing scrub hares and plenty of impalas along the way – so while it was not the best Motswari has to offer, it was still a wonderful drive and in the conditions, we all returned to camp extremely chuffed.

The next morning saw the sun once again gracing us with its presence as we moved to the west to follow up on some buffalo Marka had seen last night coming into our area, and hoping they would draw in some lions.  Starting out with zebras and impalas, we managed to cross the Sohebele River near Argyle Dam and saw the hippos before moving west more. 

We ticked off waterbuck and impalas, but it was quiet out there, and the buffalo tracks moved east adn then back out west, possibly because of a male lion whose tracks we tried to follow without luck – he was seemingly the same individual that Marka and Johannes had been tracking near Motswari at the start of the drive. 

After coffee we made our way back to the lodge and enjoyed another couple herds of zebras, two troops of baboons, impalas and some kudus, as well as a family of warthogs before closing down.

The afternoon drive was, well, forgettable!  I decided to try head south, despite two of my guests not having arrived yet, so off I bumbled down Western Cutline to Moeniejag Crossing, and after looking at it and thinking, “hmmmm, that looks crossable” and getting confirmation from Petros, I hit the water and drove about 85.7 percent of the way before I got that all too familiar sinking feeling and my Land Rover eased to a gentle halt in the middle of the riverbed.  A radio call and sometime later, Rudi from Karan’s Camp arrived with on a tractor with a laugh and pulled us out!

Stuck in Moeniejag Crossing....nice one Chad!

By this stage the guests had arrived, so I moved back north and enjoyed impalas and waterbuck, as well as more hippos and a crocodile before meeting Andrea for the link up.  Continuing with drive we headed towards the Nhlaralumi River, but saw very little besides impalas, waterbuck and a lone giraffe.  Along the river even they seemed scarce, so we stopped for a drink at Confluence Crossing and enjoyed the last bit of light fading as the fish frolicked in the rapids.

It was already late, but we still had a way to go as we hit Argyle Rd and went all the way around, as I wasn't getting stuck at this time of night!  The trip was exceedingly quiet, and only a brief buffalo sighting is worth mentioning, and zebras on one of the airstrips, but yet again, the game viewing left a lot to be desired...but on the bright side, at least we got another full day of sun to start drying out the bush!  Let’s hope things get better tomorrow!


  1. Wish we were there ... and not in an office in Joburg!

  2. chantelle stobbe23 January 2013 at 20:04

    luv the photos of the zebras :) fantastic job as usual Chad!

  3. Yeah Chad, good luck bud. At least the rain was not as much as last year :-)
    Nthombi is looking great...

    85.7 percent through the crossing, man, so close but yet so far LOL...
    Thanks for the updates and great photos.


  4. LOVE the pic of the zebra looking backwards, fantastic light on it ! Rosie.