Friday, 8 February 2013

6th and 7th February – Lions 1 – 0 Giraffe

Photo of the Day
Argyle Jnr's boy

6th February Morning Drive
(Chad, Shaddy and Marka)
2 x lions (Machaton lioness and young male) – Kings, Rockfig Pan
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s Boy) – Argyle, Argyle Dam
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Hippo Rocky Rd
2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Reception Link

6th February Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant and Shaddy)
2 x lions (Machaton lioness and young male) – Kings, Rockfig Pan
2 x leopards (Rockfig Jnr and son) – Kings, Concrete Crossing
3 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Elephant Pan
1 x buffalo bull – Scholtz, River Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Scholtz, Sumatra North-South Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Karans, Western Cutline
1 x elephant bull – Scholtz, Mananga Cutline
2 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Illegal Crossing
1 x buffalo bull – Java, Peter Pan Access
1 x elephant bull – Java, Peter Pan Access
2 x elephant bulls – Peru, Woza-Woza Cutline

7th February Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant and Shaddy)
2 x lions (Mafikizolo lionesses with giraffe kill) – Jaydee, Madala Crossing
4 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Pan
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Southern Access
1 x elephant bull – Jaydee, Tchwala Rd

7th February Afternoon Drive
(Chad and Grant)
2 x lions (Mafikizolo lionesses with giraffe kill) – Jaydee, Madala Crossing
4 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam
1 x elephant bull – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi
2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Reception
1 x elephant bull – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi
3 x buffalo – Java, Crossing Below Java

Daily Synopsis
Once again my humblest apologies for the slow posting of these updates, but there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day this cycle!

Rewinding two days, I almost cant remember what I did!  I headed out east for a change of scenery, but found it rather quiet in that area, with only some kudus and impalas about, although there were loads of tracks for elephants and buffalos, we sadly didn’t manage to find any.  Shaddrack luckily had found what he was looking for – a leopard, so off I went to Argyle Dam to see it.  it was Argyle Jnr’s boy, and he had been lost as I approached the area, but luckily he disturbed some francolins and that alerted us to his whereabouts and we managed to find him again, but he was on a mission of note and didn’t pause for a second, sniffing around as if trying to follow his mother or sister, so we eventually left him to it.

Moving west, we went to follow up on some buffalos after a quick coffee stop, and enjoyed some impalas, waterbuck and hippos as we went.  The buffalos were not where they had been left earlier in the morning, but working the area, we soon found the small herd and spent time with them before moving back to the lodge where another two buffalos were waiting for us!  These same two buffalos also made an appearance on bush walk and got the guests’ hearts racing as they charged off into the bush!

The afternoon saw me getting two new guests and I made a choice to head east; surely on a hot afternoon like this some elephants and buffalos would show themselves, and they did!  On Scholtz we started off with a herd of elephants that soon crossed into a wet area we couldn’t follow them into, then we had a very grumpy buffalo bull, and eventually a wonderful sighting of a lone elephant bull wallowing in a little mudwallow and he kept us entertained for a while before going to have a rub on the bushes nearby!

I then moved to the central section and made my way to see some lions courtesy of a kind invite by Kings; passing impalas and giraffe, I soon arrived as the Machaton lioness and one young male got active – sadly they too walked into a wet area and we had to leave them to wander off alone.  We took this as our cue to wander off back to the lodge.

I was wanting leopards the next morning, so I went and searched all around Argyle Dam for the leopard trio, but had no luck with them – we did see impala, waterbuck, kudu, hippos and baboons before we were informed that Rockfig Jnr and her cub will still where Grant had seen them last night; trying a bit longer in the north, I soon started moving south, only to hear that they were lost. 

This wasn't the end of the world, as some lions had been found with a fresh giraffe kill in the Nhlaralumi River a little further south, so I made my way to see this, and it sounded interesting as the hyenas had managed to get the kill from them.  When we arrived, after a very, very quiet stretch along the Nhlaralumi that didn’t even produce one impala, and found three hyenas in the area feeding on the giraffe, but no lions.  Eventually one lioness popped up on the eastern bank and the hyenas ran off, but the lioness moved into the mopane again and that was the end of that.

Shaddy had found some rhinos and elephants not far off, but when I arrived all were gone, and my time was up, so I didn’t spend long in the area – we did find our own herd of elephants further along, but the trip back was a bit quiet – we did tick off giraffe herd, a giraffe and calf, impala and wildebeest.

I wanted to try for the lions again in the afternoon, so made my way west, also hoping to get luckily with some leopards...sadly my Land Rover had other ideas and broke down while watching some waterbuck.  A short while later we were mobile again in a new vehicle, but the luck didn’t change and we didn’t manage to find any leopards, but did see zebras, impalas and kudu.

The four rhinos had been relocated, and we had a lovely sighting of them wallowing in a mudpool before scratching and grazing in the area. 

After a drink stop, we went to see the lions on the giraffe kill, but our luck had clearly run out, because as we were making an approach, they left the carcass and moved into the grassy bank where we could see nothing but ears!  Oh well, we shall have to try tomorrow!  It was still only two lionesses from the Mafikizolo Pride, and they did a great job making such a large kill – I highly doubt they will manage to keep it though, and Grant and I debated whether the hyenas would chase them off, or if the Ximpoko males would arrive (attracted by the vultures), or if maybe the rest o the Mafikizolo Pride would arrive?  Guess we will have to wait and see tomorrow!

The drive back saw us passing buffalo, giraffes, wildebeest, zebras and impalas, as well as a giant eagle owl to round off a good day, even if we didn’t have all the luck...fortunately, we were lucky enough to have finished dinner just as the thunder and lightning brought the much for it not raining today Mr Weatherman!

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