Saturday, 16 March 2013

14th March – Hello, Hello...and Some Sad Good-byes

Photo of the Day

Xiviti young male resting in the Sohebele Riverbed

Morning Drive
(No Drives)

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Andrea and Grant)
4 x leopards (Makepisi male, Argyle Jnr female, Xiviti male and Tingana female) – Peru, Sohebele Dam
1 x lion (Kinky Tail female) – Argyle, Argyle Dam
1 x elephant – Motswari, Reception
1 x elephant – Java, Java Access

Daily Synopsis
You thought I had forgotten about you all!!!  Well, I was a bit sick for a week, so Andrea kindly looked after the blog for me then, so thanks for that!  While on the subject of Andrea, we just want to wish her all the best in her future ventures, as she has decided to move on from Motswari.  It was wonderful having her as part of the Motswari family for the last year and a bit, and I am sure you will also all miss her lovely photographs and charming stories as much as we will miss her enthusiasm and wonderful smile.

Good-bye Andrea, and all the best with your future :)

Sadly, that is not the only good-bye we had to make in the past few weeks.  It is with much sadness that we heard of the passing of one of our dear staff members, Siphiwe Maholobela.  At a tender age of only 38, Siphiwe’s magic smile and powerful singing voice will be sorely missed at Motswari, a place where she worked at for the last 17 years.  Siphiwe was always a joy to see in and around the camp as she went about her housekeeping duties, which she  always did with a smile on her face.  RIP Ms Maholobela, you will be missed xxx

Siphiwe, you will be missed by all at Motswari

So, despite a sad couple of weeks, things out in the bush kept up, and the guides seemed to have had a rather special time out there, and based on my first “drive” in 2 weeks, I can tell you they weren’t lying!

Leopard viewing remained excellent, with Xiviti proving to be a star, as he, his mum and sister showed themselves regularly!  Shaddy and his guests had an amazing sighting one morning when watching the young leopard with an impala kill in a tree as he lay on a nearby termite mound.  On seeing some nearby impalas, he began stalking them and ended up catching and killing a fully grown impala ewe in front of the guests!!!  Not a bad feat for a 14-month old leopard!  Sadly, he lost it to the hyenas.

Makepisi also showed himself, as did some leopard in the south.  Elephant and buffalo herds seemed to be back in the area, but the best news was the return of our 6 lions in the north that we suspect are from the Jacaranda lineage...and the fact that there were actually 8 of them now seems to support this!  There was also a sighting of a large, old scarred male in the north, as well as all five Mafikizolo lions back together.  If that wasn't enough, our pack of 30 wild dogs returned in the south, and a female cheetah and a subadult cub also pitched up in the north one afternoon making for a great week of viewing!

I went out with Herold this afternoon, and things started quietly, with only impalas, kudu and a croc being ticked off.  Herold and Difference then tried to track some lions, but it was Godfrey that had the magic when he found a lone lioness chasing Makepisi male leopard around on Piva Plains!  Herold and Diff returned and we went to follow Makepisi as he headed south towards Sohebele Dam.  He went down into the Sohebele River, and as the other vehicle went around, we waited with Makepisi as he lazed in the river. 

Makepisi male resting in the Sohebele Riverbed near Sohebele Dam

We were then told that there were another two leopards below Sohebele Dam wall about 300m away, so we went to see Tingana and her brother, Xiviti as they too lazed in the river.  Tingana climbed the broken dam wall and Xiviti moved off to join his mom, Argyle Jnr who also pitched up, and with fat bellies, it is likely they had a nearby kill. 

Xiviti young male resting in the same riverbed, about 200m away!

Pulling a bit forward, we had Tingana resting on the dam wall, Makepisi now lying 60m away watching them, and Xiviti and Argyle Jnr drinking water together below the dam wall – 4 leopards in one view!!!  Tingana ran off when Makepisi approached and the other two leopards also moved off, but there was no confrontation, thankfully!

Xiviti and Argyle Jnr having a drink below the Dam wall while Tingana ran off at the approaching Makepisi male

A bit further north, the kinky-tailed lioness was resting near Argyle Dam, but sadly she was flat-cat and didn’t move while we were with her...but with so much other excitement, we didn’t mind!  We thus went for a drink before going back to the lodge, and had to explain to guests that not all drives are like that...well, based on the next morning’s drive, I don’t think they believed me! 

A very sleepy Kinky-tailed lioness, also resting in the Sohebele Riverbed

I’ll be back on drive on Monday, but will try keep you posted on happenings until then!


  1. I am very Sorry to Heat about this sad News. Siphiwe And Andrea, they both made motswari to a wonderful Place, where you would always like to go back. I wish only the best for you Andrea in the future ...
    Please keep all safe :)

  2. Very sad news about Siphiwe - I have just re read her story in Kathy Bergs book, the Women of Motswari - a lovely lady.
    I wish Andrea well for the future...
    Sue UK

  3. I almost feel like family myself as I read your blogs! so sad to loose someone so young. I am reduced to tears for you all! love your pics and hope your health is improving! thanks for all you do ! from Mississippi

  4. Welcome back, Chad...but what sad news in this blog. Condolences to all at Motswari on the passing of Sephiwe, and gosh....Andrea is leaving now too. God Bless in your future endeavors, will be missed, but hope you are going on to new adventures where you will still continue to blog and your many fans around the world can keep up with your news.

    Another wonderful blog (on the animal front), Chad...glad you are back and hopefully back to 100% health soon. What stunning, amazing pics yet again. Have also been tracking Marlons's pictures - amazing stuff too, and so wonderful of you all to post and interact with folks on Facebook as you do. THANK YOU!!

    Pam in California

  5. Good-bye Andrea, good luck for the future and thanks for your blog updates. My condolences to Siphiwe's family, her passing is sad news.

    Tammy Lee