Wednesday, 6 February 2013

4h and 5th February – The Rivers Flow Again!

Photo of the Day
Argyle Jnr' boy

4th February Morning Drive
(Herold, Marka Shaddy)
8 x lions (Ross Pride – 2 males, 4 females and 2 subadults) – Rockfig, Argyle Rd
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s girl) – Peru, Piva Plains

4th February Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Marka and Shaddy)
7 x lions (Ross Pride – 2 males, 4 females and 2 subadults) – Rockfig, Argyle Rd
1 x lion (Jacaranda male?) – De Luca, Ingwelala Airstrip
3 x rhinos
2 x elephant bulls – Jaydee, Argyle Rd
1 x elephant bull – Kings, Argyle Rd
1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Wisani Crossing
1 x buffalo bull – Vielmetter, Sweetwater

5th February Morning Drive
(Chad, Marka and Shaddy)
1 x leopard (Mbali Female) – Peru, Piva Plains
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s Boy) – Peru, Piva Plains
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s Girl) – Argyle, Piva Plains

5th February Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Marka and Shaddy)
2 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Scholtz, River Rd West

Daily Synopsis
Back in the bush after far too short and busy a break in the concrete jungle, and what a warm bush to arrive back to!  Falling asleep in 30 degree temperatures at 9pm was something I hadn’t done for a while here, but luckily the next day brought some respite...about 38mm of it in some parts!

I wasn't on drive in the morning, but our guides got to see some leopard in the north and lions way, way south, so I joined in the afternoon hoping to cash in on some leopard sightings, and with a 75 percent chance of rain, I wasn't brave enough to venture far, especially as I could see the storm brewing!

Having new guests, I took it easy and began trying to locate a leopard next to the staff village that the monkeys and guineafowls could see, but sadly he escaped us, and after some time trying and sitting with the impalas in the area hoping they would spot him, we moved on to Argyle Dam, spending time with a lone elephant bull and our hippos – one of which obligingly climbed out the water and gave a big yawn before splattering his dung everywhere...charming!

Watching impalas, waterbuck and lightening from the lookout point, I wisely decided to skip on Shaddy’s lions, rhinos, elephants and buffalos and move back towards the north, making it into the Motswari Hanger a minute before the heaven’s opened!  We enjoyed a relatively dry drink (12mm in 20min, versus close to 40mm in the same time further south, where both Shaddy and Marka got caught!).

On getting mobile again and wanting to look for the leopard one more time, Johannes told me that just before the rain he had found a big male lion on Ingwelala Airstrip, so I took a chance, not actually expecting him to have stayed in the open during the rain, but it paid off, and we found him resting just off the road before getting up and moving off – he was a bit nervous, so we didn’t push him, and left him mobile north, a bit confused as to who he was, but he did look a bit like one of the old Jacaranda males?  Will have to double check, but it didn’t concern me too much as we got to see our lion and still stay relatively dry before heading back to the lodge for a lovely dinner.

The next morning was cool, cloudy and windy, but drier than the night before – there had actually been such a downpour that all the rivers started flowing again!  The Machaton and Sohebele were just a trickle, but the Nhlaralumi was coming down quite strongly again making our crossing points once more uncrossable!

We enjoyed some smaller creatures to begin with, and were sitting with some waterbuck and impalas when we were informed of a leopard on Piva Plains, back where we had just been, so we made a U-turn and returned to the area to find Argyle Jnr’s boy moving towards a termite mound where he found a good spot and spent much of the rest of the morning.

Shaddy had been following up on lion tracks coming from our northern boundary, so I went a bit further south to see if the buffalos that they had been following up on had moved onto Java, but found nothing.  Luckily Marka was in better form and he got to see not only Argyle Jnr’s female cub, but also found Mbali female all around Piva Plains and Sohebele Dam!

In the south I enjoyed some giraffe, some flowing rivers, and another journey of giraffes.

On Java Airstrip we had more giraffe, impala, zebras and wildebeest before moving back to the lodge, sadly not having luck with the lions.

My mission for the afternoon was to find rhinos, so I began checking Argyle area before going south; we had impalas, waterbucks, warthogs and steenbuck in the north, as well as some lovely carmine bee-eaters.

Shaddy continued following up on the lions, sadly following the tracks off our southern boundary after the buffalos!  Luckily two rhinos showed up, so we managed to enjoy a sighting of them before stopping for a drink. 

The trip home was a quiet one, with us only bypassing giraffes and impalas – the thick bush doing a great job in hiding the smaller nocturnal creatures!  Either way, it was still a good couple of days considering the conditions, and we wait to see what tomorrow holds in store for us!


  1. Good to have you guys back with pictures, stories and lots of water. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pic of the day with Argyle Jnr' boy is awesome. He pose as a model!