Monday, 7 May 2012

06th May – So Grant Wasn't Lying!

Photo of the Day
Rockfig Jnr's young male cub, with gorgeous blue-eyes!

Morning Drive

(Chad, Marka, Herold and Johannes)

2 x leopards (Rockfig Jnr and cub on impala kill) –Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd

1 x leopard (Umfana male) – Vielmetter, Back Nine’s East

1 x leopard (unknown skittish female) – Karans

6 x hyenas (with old impala carcass) – Motswari, Southern Access

1 x breeding herd buffalo – Vielmetter, Entrance Dam

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Karans, Umbabat Cutline

1 x elephant bull – Vielmetter, Vielmetter-Java Cutline

1 x breeding herd of elephants –Java, Java Dam

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Marka, Herold and Johannes)

6 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam

2 x leopards (Rockfig Jnr and cub on impala kill) –Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd

2 x rhinos (female and calf)

1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Kings Camp, Mafikizolo Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Woza-Woza Cutline

1 x elephant bull – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access

1 x elephant bull – Peru, Mvubu Crossing

Daily Synopsis

I wont lie. Waking up at 5am this morning to get ready for game drive was quite difficult, especially as I haven’t done it for 10 weeks; but it didn’t take long to realise it was worth it.

The cloudy weather wasn't great for photos this morning, but the animals played along extremely well. We had literally just left camp when a hyena popped out onto the road dragging the remains of an old impala carcass, and we spent the next half hour watching as the clan fought over the scraps, had a drink, and enjoyed nature’s equivalent of “biltong”...

Xinatsi Clan of Hyenas with an old impala carcass

Carrying on south, hoping to get lucky with Rockfig Jnr and her cub, we headed down Western Cutline to Java Dam, not seeing much besides some kudu along the way. At Java Dam though, we arrived just as a herd of elephants were making their way to the water to drink, and enjoyed out sighting as the sun tried to poke through the clouds.

Elephant herd at Java Dam

Eventually, Classic, one of our large resident elephant bulls popped up; he is in full musthe and was clearly following the herd looking for a mate, but needed a drink to replenish the moisture he was losing as he dribbled urine everywhere. When he made a bee-line for us, we gave him space and carried on with our primary mission.

Classic in full musthe following the elephant herd

Giyani managed to find some vehicles viewing the leopards, so I headed down in that direction, seeing warthogs and impalas as we went.
Warthog piglet

As Umfana male leopard had also been found near Entrance Dam, Herold and Marka went to see him as he attempted to hunt some impala, but I stuck with Rockfig Jnr and arrived to find her making her way back to the kill, which still has at least 2 days worth of meat on it, but she really needs to put it up a tree before the hyenas arrive!

Rockfig Jnr and her impala kill

Eventually she went back into a thicket and her 5-month old cub came out and joined her; this young boy has the same gorgeous blue eyes as Thumbela, and will no doubt be a hit in the future! He was not totally relaxed, but we had a wonderful sighting of the two of them playing, albeit a touch difficult for photos in the long grass and thick bush.

Rockfig Jnr and her 5-month old male cub

Leaving the leopards, we went a couple hundred metres down the road to where a massive herd of buffalo were coming onto the property from the south, straight for Entrance Dam; we slowly made our way through masses of buffalo (at least 500-600 in this herd), including our own spotted buffalo!

500-strong buffalo herd, with our own spotted buffalo!

Jumping ahead, we waited at Entrance Dam for the herd to arrive, and our patience was well rewarded with a fantastic sighting of the buffalos crowding the water for a drink!

They also had loads and loads of ox-peckers , both red- and yellow-billed, to keep them company.

Buffalo and oxpeckers at Entrance Dam

As our morning was all but over, we decided to leave them and make the long trip back north, not seeing much besides an elephant and some kudu en route.
Johannes found his own herd of buffalo in the north this morning, as well as two herds of elephants and a skittish female leopard.
The other guides all went south for the afternoon, leaving me as the sole vehicle in the north, which I guess was my intention for the afternoon, and besides the Kruger workers grading the boundary between us and them, I didn’t see a single soul on game drive, which is always a treat.
I went west towards the Kruger, seeing zebras, impala and warthogs on Karans, but had no luck with Johannes’s buffalo herd from this morning.

Zebras and impala on Karans

Heading back to Argyle Dam for sundowners, we ticked off a couple of herds of waterbuck, couple herds of zebra, a lone wildebeest, impalas, hippos, baboons and a massive crocodile before enjoying a drink on the banks of the dam.

Zebras and waterbuck on Piva Plains

After that, we didn’t have all that much luck with big game, but saw a buffalo bull, a few chameleons, two different owls, spiders and even a nice small-spotted genet before closing down.

Spotted eagle owl
In the south, the guys were treated to two herds of buffalos, Rockfig Jnr having a drink at Entrance Dam before returning to her kill, the rhino mother and her calf (in the company of an elephant and buffalo herd), and even the ten Machaton lions making their way towards the buffalo herd!
Its only a matter of time before one of our prides makes a buffalo kill; lets hope it is tonight!


  1. WOW, great photos... Welcome back Chad. I LOVE the new leopard cub, he has gorgeous eyes!!!
    How is Thumbela doing? :-)


  2. Wow Mojoman, some beautiful pictures in there and so many of them !! Rosie.

  3. Chad you are a genius photographer and I cannot wait to meet you when we stay at Motswari in September 2012

  4. Sounds like a great day Chad, just the sort of day that makes us want to come back even more!
    Sue and John

  5. Chad's BACK ... WOW you got amazing photos of Rockfig and her baby ... they are absolutely delightful. Great drives Chad, welcome back.

  6. Fantastic the leopard cub!!

    Sue and Andy

  7. I certainly did not know that leopard cubs had blue eyes! Is this an exception?

  8. thanks for the lovely welcome backs and following this blog!

    sure this youngster will make many more appearances and steal many hearts, he has already stolen mine!!!

    Grushenko; no, blue eyes are not common in leopards, and they usually have golden eyes like a lion - this family lineage however has blue-grey eyes...the mother has pale eyes, but the grand mother had blue eyes too, and this mother - rockfig jnr - had a previous daughter called Thumbela that had even bluer eyes! gorgeous family of leopards, and so happy this guys is slowly getting used to the vehicles!