Sunday, 24 March 2013

19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd March – And We’re Back!!!

Photo of the Day
Fighting giraffes in the early morning

19th March Morning Drive
(Herold, Peter and Johannes)
30 x wild dogs – Vielmetter, Double Highway
2  rhinos
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Scholtz, Big Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Karans, Old Closed Rd

19th March Afternoon Drive
(Herold and Johannes)
5 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Sweetwater Pan
2 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Lion Pan
1 x buffalo bull – Java, Tamboti Pan
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Western Cutline
1 x elephant bull – De Luca, Mpela-pela Pan

20th March Morning Drive
(Herold and Johannes)
1 x lion (Unknown large male) – Mbali, Battlefield II
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Java Dam Rd

20th March Afternoon Drive
1 x lion (Unknown large male) – Mbali, Battlefield II

21st March Morning Drive
2 x rhinos
1 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Western Cutline
2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Southern Access

21st March Afternoon Drive
(Herold, Johannes, Grant and Chad)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Crossing Below Argyle
2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Long Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Wilkins Way
2 x buffalo bulls – Motswari, Sean’s Clearing

22nd March Morning Drive
(Herold, Johannes, Grant and Chad)
30 x wild dogs – Scholtz, Compound Rd
2 x lions (Ross Pride?) – Tanda Tula, Pat’s Drive
1 x leopard (Xindzuti male) – Argyle, Argyle Dam
1 x rhino

22nd March Afternoon Drive
(Herold, Johannes, Grant and Chad)
30 x Wild Dogs – Scholtz, Scholtz Access
1 x leopard (Xiviti male with impala kill) – Argyle, Buffalo Pan Access
2 x rhinos (2 dominant males having a fight)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Leadwood Airstrip
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Madash Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Wilkins Way
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Mbali Dam
3 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Lion Pan
1 x buffalo bull – Jaydee, Tchwala Rd

Daily Synopsis

Hello again everyone!  Long time no see, but Grant and I have resumed driving, so the regular updates will commence from today, although with me, you can never be too sure just how regular they might be, but I promise I will try and stay on top of things! 


Herold and Johannes were manning the drives over the last few days and did quite well with rhinos, elephants and even tracked down an unknown male lion in the north, although based on his movements straight back south, it is possible that it was the Ximpoko male?

There was also a visit from the wild dog mega-pack, but sadly there was a lack of leopards the last few days, so we are hoping that they return soon!

On Thursday afternoon, we all received a large group of guests that had booked out the lodge, and began our afternoon drive straight from the airstrip after they had landed; the cloudy weather made for a gloomy atmosphere, but coming across two male elephants fighting, and then a breeding herd of elephants feeding in the Sohebele river not far off went some way to brightening things up. 

Besides that, we also managed to tick off giraffes, impalas, zebras, male kudu and waterbuck before stopping for a slightly late drink and heading back to the lodge for a delicious dinner!

The next morning we woke up to stars in the sky which meant two things; one, it was a clear day, and two, we were waking up far too early!!!  Luckily the light soon came in and the day began; sadly, the animals weren’t it a good mood, and Herold found a leopard after a bit of tracking, but he ran off – luckily Herold persisted and established a sighting of Xindzuit male that he enjoyed, but as Grant approached the area, the cat was lost.  Grant had also found a rhino that ran off, and the Simbavati guides found some wild dogs that, you guessed it, ran off!

Johannes was tracking a male lion that was heading towards where I was driven, and I apologised in advance for missing the tracks, only to hear I hadn’t, but that the lion had walked on top of my vehicle tracks; sadly it led to nothing, but that didn’t make me feel easier, and the morning that promised so much looked to be falling apart!

Hitting Java we saw duiker, impala and then out group of giraffes, wildebeest and zebras that frequent the area.  Two male giraffes were play fighting, but stopped to watch a hyena that came walking past.  Further along, we had another lovely group of giraffes before a radio call came in that some wild dogs were at the staff village of one of the private camps in the east, and as I was the closest, I made a bee-line straight for it, just passing one hyena as we went.

About 15 minutes later we arrived to find the large pack of wild dogs milling about near Scholtz Camp, and thanked Mr Lucas Ngwenya for calling us!  The dogs soon got mobile and we followed as best as we could through some thick bush before they found a puddle of water and drank and went to rest in the drainage line – based on their full bellies, they had a good meal last night and weren’t in a particular mood to hunt this morning.

We made space for the rest of the group to come through and headed to check on the hyena den, but found nothing, so we went further south to see two lionesses that we had been invited to by the southern stations; we ticked off some impalas, kudu and warthog along the way before finding the lionesses resting in the shade – they appear to be lionesses from the Ross pride, but im not sure, but they were big, and despite resting, we had a good sighting!

Heading the long way back to camp, we passed a large male rhino resting in the open next to the road, so spent time with him before moving back to the lodge for breakfast.

The afternoon was a good one too, and one that Herold probably had the best luck with – after trying to follow up on the male lion from this morning, he realised it was leading to nothing so went to see the large pack of wild dogs, but his best sighting of the afternoon was a big territorial fight between two massive male rhinos!  I was most envious of that, but that didn’t really take too much away from a good afternoon never the less!

I went down towards the central regions looking for leopard as Grant was working the north; but things started out with quietly, but then the elephants started pitching up, and we got to enjoy a herd of about 60-70 individuals that came down to drink in the Nhlaralumi Riverbed, making for a very special sighting as elephants of all sizes kept coming!

Grant also had a herd in the north, but he went one better when he and Jacky tracked down Xiviti male leopard with an impala kill.

I moved back in that direction passing impalas and kudus, as well as some giraffe.  We arrived to find that sadly a hyena had already stolen the kill, but the leopard was still around and tried stalking the hyena in an attempt to get the kill back, but it was never going to happen, so he gave up and ate the scraps instead!

Moving towards drinks near Xinatsi Dam, we didn’t see a great deal, but with the light fading and colouring a perfectly clear sky, we didn’t mind...after all, we had seen the Big 5 and wild dogs today, so it was not a bad day by any stretch of the imagination!

Let’s hope this run of good viewing continues...but if we struggle, we can always call on Emphraim, our head of maintenance!  He was driving back to the lodge and radioed in a pack of wild dogs (the third pack found today – 30, 14 and 7!!!) as well as a pair of lions on the Argyle Rd that some of the other game drives got to enjoy...let’s hope we have the same luck tomorrow!


  1. Wow a Big 5 day is always a great day!!! Excellent!

  2. Very nice. Gorgeous rhino. We'll be back April 13.