Monday, 25 March 2013

23rd March – Our Wild Dogs Stick Around

Photo of the Day

Painted Wolf

Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant, Johannes and Herold)
30 x wild dogs – Vielmetter, Camp Clearing
2 x lions (Ross Male and female) – Kings, Argyle Rd
2 x rhinos
1 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Horizon Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Java Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Whitey’s Rest
3 x elephant bulls – Scholtz, Kudu Pan Rd South
5 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Nyosi River Rd
2 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Nyosi River Rd

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Peter and Grant)
30 x wild dogs – Jaydee, Makulu Dam
3 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Wilkins Way
3 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Camp Dam
1 x elephant bull – Karans, Western Cutline
1 x elephant bull – De Luca, Western Cutline
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Lion Pan

Daily Synopsis
This morning was the last morning with the group, and Herold had his work cut out, as despite having shown his guests the Big 5, one guest had missed out on the lions and rhinos, so he needed to find some.  My guys had seen what they wanted, so we took a chilled bumbled in the east looking for the wild dogs that had been around yesterday, and headed off to the Kruger boundary; it was a lovely morning, but there wasn't a great deal about, but that is part of the beauty of the solitude of the east!  We did see some impalas and nice zebras, as well as our hippo in Majavi Dam.  There was also a load of elephant dung, but the tracks for the herd went into Kruger.

Moving towards where the dogs had been yesterday, we had more elephant tracks and soon came across three male elephant sparring and feeding in the road.

The search for the dogs proved fruitless, so we gave up and moved back west to where Herold had achieved one of his objectives and found tracked down a rhino.  The game viewing wasn't really picking up as we hit the central regions, but I was lucky to be perfectly positioned 300m from Vielmetter Camp when Rod radioed in that he had wild dogs in front of his camp; although had I carried on along my route, I would have found the rest of the pack – regardless, we had our wild dogs, and they were full of life running around in an open clearing!  As we sat thinking it was the smaller pack of 14 from yesterday, more and more dogs came running in from all directions!

In the morning light it was a special sight and it was so interesting to watch the Alpha pairing – the female is clearing very much in estrus and the sounds the male was making to attract her (or beg her!!!) was just unreal!  The pack eventually shot off south before moving back north; later in the morning Johannes found where a pack of hyenas had stolen their impala kill near Java, and Grant managed to trace their route right between the only area I hadn’t checked in the east!

We left the dogs and went for a cup of coffee before skipping on the rhinos to go and see some lions just south of Double Highway, right on the western boundary.  It was a bonus for me, as it was a male lion that I hadn’t seen before together with a lioness he was courting!  It was one of the Ross males and lionesses, and while they had been flat cat in the long grass most the morning, we got there so late that the hot sun caused them to move to the shade, so at least we saw some action!  The male did sit up and groom, and as soon as the lioness moved he shadowed her to the shadows, but she wasn't interested, so we never got to see them mating, but it was still a good sighting!  We then moved back to the north and found a herd of elephants before closing at the lodge.

We all had new guests in the afternoon and the job began again; I had a quiet first drive, with my main mission being to get to the wild dogs to watch them hunting again.  I spent time in north watching hippos, impalas, crocodiles, waterbucks and some zebras, but not a great deal else.  I then moved through the central regions along the Nhlaralumi, hoping to find the male leopard that had been seen there earlier in the afternoon.  Sadly it was not to be, and besides a lone buffalo bull at Lion Pan, there wasn't much to speak of.

The dogs got mobile and we arrived as they were resting on the road, not looking all that intent on moving, which seemed a bit disappointing at first, but after they shot off, I wished they had just sat still for a bit longer, as we soon lost them to the thick bush as the light began fading!  Still, the guests enjoyed the experience of a bit of extreme off-road driving and we all went to enjoy a drink in the Nhlaralumi. 

On the way home we didn’t get all that lucky, but Petros impressed the guests when he found a chameleon in the dark.  Speaking of the dark, our dinner in the evening was a lovely affair, and being Earth Hour, the lodge shut down all the electricity for one hour and we sat and enjoyed a dinner in the boma with candles and paraffin lanterns lighting our lives.  We hope that you all too enjoyed some dinner in the dark!

Celebrating Earth Hour at Motswari with our amazing team of chefs

Also, just to let you know that from tomorrow, we will be publishing our blog posts on a new website:  Please feel free to go and have a look at that page and give us your feedback as we strive to keep you all entertained about the happenings in our little piece of paradise!  This page will remain for archive purposes, so when you are feeling the need to scroll through the stories of the past, please do so too!



  1. Sorry but I dont like the new website at all as far as a wildlife blog is concerned. Photographs and writing far too small. In my humble opinion once you click on the blog the Newmark Hotel menu should disappear. You are trying to cram too much into a limited zone, let each have its own space.

  2. I totally agree, Motswari has one of the best blogs around, if it's not broke don't fix it.

  3. Thanks for the update, Chad. I also agree with the last 2 comments regarding the new blog. The layout of this present blog is great. I love the links to information on the lions and leopards on the side, which I do occasionally use to remind myself of who is related to who, as well as the links for past blogs. This blog is really user-friendly as well as being visually enticing. Perhaps when we click on a blog on the new website it could rather link back to a layout like this present blog.

    Tammy Lee

  4. Your articles are very well written and unique. self catering chalets in mpumalanga

  5. Hi! Your blog is always fun to read.I love to do south african hunting safaris . I like your blog, it have very nice pictures.
    Thank you for your efforts for making this blog.