Elephant Plains Game Lodge

Big 5 Sightings 03 to 09 March 2014

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see twelve wild dogs hunting impalas on A-main.

 

African wild dogs - Louis Liversage

African wild dogs – Louis Liversage

Monday, 3 March 2014

(24ºC, 39mm rain)

  •  Three Majingi male lions feeding on a juvenile buffalo kill on A-main
  • One buffalo bull resting in the water at Big Dam
  • Tingana, the male leopard, resting close to EP Lodge
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on EP airstrip
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on One Eye Pan Road
  • Twelve wild dogs moving east on A-main
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on EP open area

 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

(30ºC, 200mm rain)

  •  A young Robsons male leopard moving west from Rhino Ring East
  • Twelve wild dogs moving west on Simbambili Firebreak
  • Salayexe, the female leopard, resting up in a tree on EP driveway

 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

(30ºC, 85mm rain)

  •  Twelve wild dogs feeding on an impala kill on Francolin Road
  • One buffalo bull feeding on EP driveway
  • Two sub adult Styx male lions and two sub adult Styx female lions resting on Safari driveway
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Simbambili Firebreak
  • One elephant bull moving east from EP driveway

 

Elephant bull - Louis Liversage

Elephant bull – Louis Liversage

Thursday, 6 March 2014

(27ºC, 8mm rain)

  •  One elephant bull feeding west of Kraaines Pan
  • Four buffalo bulls resting at Poacher’s Corner
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Rocky Road

 

Friday, 7 March 2014

(32ºC)

  •  A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on MMM-North
  • A young Robsons male leopard resting at Serengeti/Manyeleti Crossing
  • One buffalo bull resting at Poacher’s Corner
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on EP airstrip

Saturday, 8 March 2014

(32ºC, 3mm rain)

  •  One elephant bull feeding on MMM-North
  • One Styx female lion resting on MMM-South
  • Twelve wild dogs hunting on Safari airstrip
  • One buffalo bull feeding on Simbambili Firebreak
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on MMM-North

 

Majingi male lions - Louis Liversage

Majingi male lions – Louis Liversage

Sunday, 9 March 2014

(32ºC, 3mm rain)

  •  Salayexe, the female leopard, moving east from EP driveway
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on EP driveway
  • One buffalo bull resting at Rhino Pan

 


Big 5 Sightings 24 February to 02 March 2014

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see two Styx female lions with three cubs resting south/east of Ingwe Pan.

 

Styx lioness with her cubs - Dawie Jacobs

A Styx lioness with her cubs – Dawie Jacobs

Monday, 24 February 2014

(29ºC, 2mm Rain)

  •  Tingana, the male leopard, moving east from Bushcamp East
  • Mvula, the male leopard, feeding on a waterbuck kill just off One Eye Pan Road
  • Bawuti, the young male leopard, resting north of Mhisi Mati
  • The Styx lion pride resting at Ingwe Pan
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Konkoni Road
  • One elephant bull feeding around Old Bushcamp
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants drinking water at Bushcamp Pan
  • One buffalo bull resting on Grasscut Road

 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

(27ºC)

  •  A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Leopard Drift
  • One Majingi male lion moving west on our Southern Boundary
  • Three buffalo bulls resting at Serengeti Pan
  • A pack of nine wild dogs resting north of Simbambili Dam
  • Another breeding herd of about six elephants feeding on Rhulani Road
  • One elephant bull feeding on Marula Bult
  • One elephant bull feeding at Tamboti Crossing

 

 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

(31ºC)

  •  Four Styx sub adult lions resting at Ingwe Pan
  • Two Styx female lions with three cubs resting south/east of Ingwe Pan
  • One elephant bull feeding at Wessels Old driveway
  • Another elephant bull feeding on Little Gowrie driveway
  • A breeding herd of about fifteen elephants feeding on EP open area
  • Bawuti, the young male leopard, resting close to Little Gowrie Lodge

 

Giraffe feeding - Dawie Jacobs

A giraffe feeding – Dawie Jacobs

 Thursday, 27 February 2014

(33ºC)

  •  A breeding herd of about fifteen elephants drinking water at Big Dam
  • Kwatile, the female leopard, moving east from Buff Pan
  • Kurula, the female leopard, moving north from Gowrie Main
  • The Styx lion pride resting south of Ingwe open area
  • One bull elephant feeding south of Ingwe open area
  • Two buffalo bulls resting at 2nd Windmill

 

Friday, 28 February 2014

(35ºC)

  •  Five buffalo bulls resting on Madash Road
  • Two elephant bulls feeding at Leeukuil Pan
  • Four sub adult Styx lions resting on A-main
  • Salayexe, the female leopard, moving south in the Manyeleti rivers
  • A breeding herd of about fifteen elephants feeding on Safari airstrip
  • One buffalo bull feeding on Seepline Road
  • Two Styx female lions resting with three cubs in the Molowati river
  • A breeding herd of about 150 buffalos moving north in the Molowati river
  • Anderson, the male leopard, resting close to his impala kill on EP airstrip

 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

(34ºC)

  •  A breeding herd of about fifteen elephant feeding on A-main
  • A breeding herd of about 150 buffalos feeding on Seepline
  • Two Styx female lions resting with three cubs in the Molowati river
  • Tingana, the male leopard, moving west from EP/Manyeleti Crossing
  • Anderson, the male leopard, moving north from Kraaines Pan
  • One bull elephant drinking water at Treehouse Pan

 

Male hippo giving us a yawn - Dawie Jacobs

A male hippo giving us a yawn – Dawie Jacobs

Sunday, 2 March 2014

(26ºC, 20mm rain)

  •  Tingana, the male leopard, moving south from EP open area
  • Three Majingi male lions resting at Land Cruiser Crossing
  • One elephant bull moving south from A-main
  • One buffalo bull resting in the water at Big Dam
  • The Fourway pride of lions resting on Safari driveway
  • The Styx lion pride resting at Buff Pan
  • Three buffalo bulls feeding on EP open area

 

 

 


Big 5 Sightings 17 to 23 February 2014

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see Tingana, the male leopard, feeding on an impala kill at Simbambili open area

 

Tingana the male leopard - Devon Becker

Tingana the male leopard – Devon Becker

Monday, 17 February 2014

(31ºC)

  • Five wild dogs moving east from MMM South
  • One buffalo bull resting at Big Dam
  • Another buffalo bull drinking water at Simbambili Dam
  • A breeding herd of twenty elephants feeding on Airport Link
  • One elephant bull moving north on MMM South
  • A breeding herd of fifteen elephants feeding on Guarri Central
  • One elephant bull feeding at Bushcamp Pan
  • Anderson, the male leopard, moving west from EP airstrip

 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

(33ºC)

  • Moya, the female leopard, moving north from our Southern boundary
  • Tingana, the male leopard, feeding on an impala kill at Simbambili Open area
  • A breeding herd of five elephants moving west from Simbambili Dam
  • One buffalo bull resting at Big Dam
  • A breeding herd of twelve elephants feeding on Madash Road
  • Another breeding herd of ten elephants moving south on Track South

 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

(30ºC)

  • Tingana, the male leopard, feeding on an impala kill at Simbambili Open area
  • A breeding herd of fifteen elephants feeding on Impala Road
  • Another breeding herd of ten elephants moving north on Madash Road
  • One elephant bull also moving north on Madash Road
  • Two buffalo bulls resting at Serengeti Pan
  • A breeding herd of five elephants feeding east of Kudu Drift
  • Another breeding herd of fifteen elephants feeding at Grizzly Bear Crossing

 

Elephant cow - Devon Becker

Elephant cow – Devon Becker

Thursday, 20 February 2014

(32ºC)

  • The Styx lion pride hunting impala on Tamboti open area
  • A pack of nine wild dogs feeding on an impala kill south of Simbambili Dam
  • Tingana, the male leopard, feeding on an impala kill at Simbambili open area
  • One buffalo bull resting at Old Bushcamp
  • A breeding herd of ten elephants moving south from A-main
  • A breeding herd of fifteen elephants drinking water at Simbambili Dam
  • Another breeding herd of ten elephants feeding on Shinzele Road
  • Another breeding herd of six elephants moving north across Simbambili open area
  • A breeding herd of about 200 buffalo feeding at Knobthorn Pan

 

Friday, 21 February 2014

(26ºC)

  • A pack of nine wild dogs hunting impala around EP Driveway
  • A breeding herd of seven elephants feeding on Central Road
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants moving north on Madash Road
  • One buffalo bull drinking water at Big Dam
  • Kwatile, the female leopard, moving north from our Southern boundary
  • A breeding herd of twenty elephants feeding on Madash Road
  • One buffalo bull resting on Big Dam Link South

 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

(26ºC)

  • The Styx lion pride resting on Safari Donga North
  • A breeding herd of about 200 buffalo resting on our Southern boundary
  • A breeding herd of fifteen elephants feeding on A-Main
  • One buffalo bull resting at Serengeti Pan

 

African wild dogs - Devon Becker

African wild dogs – Devon Becker

Sunday, 23 February 2014

(30ºC)

  • The Styx lion pride resting on Safari airstrip
  • Mvula, the male leopard, resting east of Treehouse Pan
  • A breeding herd of six elephants feeding on Kudu Drift
  • Two buffalo bulls resting at Serengeti Manyeleti crossing
  • One buffalo bull resting at Serengeti Pan
  • One elephant bull feeding on Wetpatch Road
  • The young Robson’s male leopard moving west from Mfezi open area
  • A breeding herd of fifteen elephants feeding on Rhino Ring East
  • One elephant bull feeding around EP airstrip

 

 

 

 

 

 


Big 5 Sightings 10 to 16 February 2014

The Big 5 highlight of the week was nine wild dogs moving north on MMM North

 

African wild dogs - Dawie Jacobs

African wild dogs – Dawie Jacobs

Monday, 10 February 2014

(32ºC)

  • A breeding herd of ten elephants feeding on EP/Shirley`s cutline
  • The Nkuhuma lion pride resting on Methlowani Road
  • One buffalo bull resting in the water at Big Dam
  • Mvula, the male leopard, moving west on Wessels Old Driveway
  • One buffalo bull feeding on Mfesi open area

 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

(31ºC)

  • Tingana, the male leopard, feeding on a female blue wildebeest kill on Safari airstrip
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on MMM North
  • One elephant bull feeding on Safari airstrip
  • One buffalo bull resting on Safari airstrip
  • One elephant bull feeding on EP/Shirley`s cutline
  • Lamula, the male leopard, moving east on A-main
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on A-main
  • One buffalo bull resting in the water at Big Dam

 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

(32ºC)

  • Nine wild dogs moving north on MMM North
  • A breeding herd of ten elephants feeding on Wessels/Annette’s cutline
  • Five lions of the Styx pride resting at Wessels/Annette’s cutline
  • Another breeding herd of twenty elephants feeding at Serengeti crossing
  • Three buffalo bulls resting in the water at Pommies Pan
  • One elephant bull feeding on Seepline

 

Louis and a Styx lioness - Dawie Jacobs

Louis and a Styx lioness – Dawie Jacobs

Thursday, 13 February 2014

(32ºC)

  • Tingana, the male leopard, moving west on Safari/Shirley`s cutline
  • One elephant bull feeding on Konkoni Road
  • One buffalo bull resting in Serengeti Pan
  • A Breeding herd of five elephants feeding at Serengeti crossing
  • Another breeding herd of fifteen elephants moving north from our Southern boundary
  • Salayexe, the female leopard, moving east from EP Manyeleti crossing
  • Another breeding herd of fifteen elephants feeding east of EP open area

 

Friday, 14 February 2014

(26ºC)

  • One elephant bull feeding on MMM North
  • Two buffalo bulls resting in the Manyeleti River, close to Old Bushcamp
  • One elephant bull moving west on Central Road
  • Two buffalo bulls feeding at Eastern Bank Manyeleti
  • A breeding herd of five elephants feeding north of Safari/Shirley`s cutline
  • Another breeding herd of fifteen elephants moving east on Rhulani Road
  • Two buffalo bulls resting on Madash Road

 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

(28ºC)

  • Salayexe, the female leopard, moving south on Jerry Drive
  • A breeding herd of about twelve elephants moving South on Madash Road
  • Tingana, the male leopard, resting west of Shirley`s Crossing
  • One elephant bull moving east from EP open area

 

Female impala running - Dawie Jacobs

Female impala running – Dawie Jacobs

Sunday, 16 February 2014

(32ºC)

  • Tingana, the male leopard, moving south from Central Road
  • One buffalo bull resting at Kraaines
  • A breeding herd of five elephants moving east from Simbambili Dam
  • One buffalo bull resting at Leeukuil
  • A breeding herd of ten elephants feeding on Safari/Shirley’s Cutline
  • A pack of nine wild dogs chasing impala around Big Dam
  • One elephant bull moving east on Wetpatch Road

Manager’s Report January 2013

Wild Photo of the Month

Wild Photo of the Month by Eric Leboucher, Voiron, France

Wild Photo of the Month by Eric Leboucher, Voiron, France

Here’s to new beginnings in 2014! I truly hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday time with family and friends and that you returned home safely, rested and ready for 2014!

Breakaway pride cub by Morné Fouché

Breakaway pride cub by Morné Fouché

This is the first January in a few years’ time that I don’t have to mention how we got flooded during the month. I thank my lucky stars that all went smoothly and the drastically heavy rains chose to give us a breather this year. However, there were still two days during which we received some very good rains. The main Manyeleti River did not come down in flood, but the smaller Pungwe River was in flood for a few hours the one morning. It was a bit tricky for a 4×4 to go across, but it was doable. There was just one problem, though… We had two sets of guests that were driving sedans and wanted to leave early the morning. But there was no way that they would have been able to cross in their low vehicles. So we sat it out and gave the swollen river time to calm down. At 9:30 we decided that the smaller cars would now be able to be towed through. Devon and I towed the cars through the river in reverse, so as to prevent water pushing up into the engines and air filters. Both cars got across easily and with no hassle. The month of January was also quite hot, with some days where temperatures reached into the middle 40 °C.

Elephant female by Devon Becker

Elephant female by Devon Becker

The sightings have reached a point of almost becoming unreal during the past few months. Our January guests were once again treated to various lion, leopard, wild dog and cheetah sightings, to name but a few. I don’t want to speak to soon, but it seems as if there might be one or two cheetahs that are possibly considering making part of our traversing area their home, which would be awesome! The reason I am saying this is because we have been viewing them more regularly than in the past. So let’s hold thumbs for this! On one of the morning drives, our vehicles had just left the lodge when they bumped into the Breakaway pride of lions and all their cubs, feeding on a zebra kill on our airstrip. There is no better feeling than to start your drive with a bang, then knowing that for at least the next two days, feeding lions are going to be a stone’s throw away from the lodge!

This month we will be saying goodbye to Braam, who was our maintenance manager. His passion has always been to get involved with anti-poaching, so he is leaving us to pursue his dreams in that field. We would like to wish him good luck with his future endeavours. Anti-poaching is a very important part of the industry and I do hope that he will be happy with his new career path. We have not yet found a replacement for Braam, so you will have to stay tuned to next month’s report to see who gets to fill his shoes.

Trapcam photo of the month - Hyena drinking water

Trapcam photo of the month – Hyena drinking water

With the trapcam picture for this month, I thought that I would show you a night time shot. The trap cam has an infrared light with a motion detector. This is so sensitive that it can even pick up movement at night. We always get great day time shots of diurnal animals, but have not yet posted a night time shot of a nocturnal animal. Well, here we go! The trap cam picture of the month is of a hyena drinking water late at night. Hyenas have the reputation of mostly being scavengers. Well, that’s not true at all. Hyenas have loads of stamina and strength in their front shoulders. They also hunt down their own prey by running them down, until the prey cannot go anymore. Once they get hold of the prey, they would start tearing the animal into pieces. I know that this sounds very harsh, but when you come to think of it, it’s quick and relatively painless to the animal, unlike being suffocated over a couple of minutes. Lions are known to take up to 30 minutes to suffocate a buffalo. I hope you enjoy this trap cam photo of the month!

To all our guests who celebrated their birthdays this month, we hope you had a fantastic day, filled with love and laughter. May your future hold many more happy and joyful days! At the lodge, we had no birthdays this month.

I now hand you over to our Head Chef, Linda van Heerden, for this month’s delicious recipe.

Mushroom Bruschetta

Mushroom Bruschetta

Mushroom Bruschetta

Ingredients

200g Button Mushrooms, sliced
½ Onion, diced
1 tbsp. Thyme
1 tbsp Garlic
2 tsp Butter
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
½ French Loaf
3 tbsp Basil Pesto
Parmesan Cheese for garnish

Method

Fry the onions in the butter and olive oil mixture, until they are just tender. Add the mushrooms, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms have cooked and all the liquid has evaporated.

Slice the French loaf into 1 cm slices, brush with garlic oil, then toast in the oven until it is golden.

Spread the basil pesto over the bruschetta, and spoon the mushroom mixture over this. Using a vegetable peeler, make parmesan shavings. Drop the shavings on top of the bruschetta. Add a rocket salad that has been dressed with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Serve and enjoy!

Well, that’s all from my side this month. Have a good one!

Wayne Dovey


Rangers Report January 2013

Hippo bull by Louis Liversage

Hippo bull by Louis Liversage

We started the year with some great sightings, similar to 2013. We had a few wonderful sightings of a male cheetah and then a few days later a female cheetah with two cubs blessed us with their presence for a number of days. We were also very fortunate to spend time with the wild dogs again this month. The weather was really unpredictable, though. We would start the drive with sunshine all around, only to have rain in the middle and end off with clear, open skies again. We experienced some extremely hot and humid days, with an average maximum temperature of 31°C. We also had 81 mm of rain.

Leopard

Xivambalana by Morné Fouché

Xivambalana by Morné Fouché

Like usually, the leopard sightings were great this month. As far as territories go, there seems to be some major changes emerging on the horizon. Salayexe is still looking good and we saw a lot of her this past month. The core of her territory stretches over our property. As far as we can tell, it looks like this beautiful cat has developed a belly over the last month or so. It would be so wonderful if she is indeed pregnant once again. Hopefully in the next few months, I can report that we have new cubs. Kurula came to visit us. She also made a kill while being here and brought the cubs over. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the “not so little anymore” cubs after we haven’t seen them for a while. They are almost old enough to be pushed out by their mother. There is a male and a female cub. Now, out of any litter of cubs, you will find a skittish one and one that is very relaxed. In this case it looks like the female is the shy one, with her brother being the adventurous one. Everything still looks promising for Kurula and she still has her 100% cubs raising record, thus far. Thandi was also out and about, still making kills for her son Bawuti. He will also have to leave mom’s side not long from now and then her focus will return to mating again and raising a new litter of cubs. Thandi has expanded her territory further west and she and her mother Kurula have the two biggest areas of all the female leopards in our traversing area. Kwatile was also seen once or twice this month and the last time we saw her she was lactating and had suckle marks. That is really good news for us. All we can now do is sit and wait. When the cubs are big enough, she will bring them out from their den site to show them off to the world. Moya was also out and about and she killed a juvenile kudu. Although she did give birth, we haven’t seen the cub/s yet. The young male leopards Wabayiza and Xivambalana are looking good and growing up fast. They are also getting bulkier by the day. These two young males are really pushing the boundaries, as they are still roaming inside Mvula’s territory. For how long he would allow this, remains a mystery. Lamula is in really good shape and it looks like he could take on the world. Lamula might get a challenger very soon as the Anderson’s male and the young Robson’s male are both moving more into Lamula’s territory. To make matters even worse, Tingana is pushing more south as well, putting even more pressure on Lamula. While Tingana wants to expand more to the south and east, Anderson wants to expand more east into Tingana’s territory. Out of all the male leopards, Mvula is the biggest and oldest, with the biggest territory and with only one potential challenger, Tingana. The young Robson’s male is growing in confidence and he is buying time getting bigger and stronger, while waiting for the opportunity to challenge one of the males for a territory.

Lion

Elephant by Morné Fouché

Elephant by Morné Fouché

What a wonderful time we had with all the lion sightings this month. We were really spoiled and we couldn’t ask for more, or better. The four Breakaway pride lionesses and their nine cubs came to visit us again. They stayed in our area for a long time. The females managed to bring down a big zebra just off of our airstrip and they were feasting on it for days. The cubs are looking stunning and they are growing up fast. The eldest ones are estimated to be between 8-9 months of age and the youngest should be around 6-7 months of age. I really hope that all nine cubs will make it to adulthood. So far, so good! You can see that these four ladies are really good mothers, as they learned from the best. The Styx pride is also looking really good and very healthy. The female with the tiny new cubs is moving the little ones in and out of our traversing area the whole time. They are now older that two months and will start moving around with mum and the rest of the pride. More good news is that the other big female is also pregnant and it’s not going to be too long before we will have more cubs. Both these females have mated with both the Matimba and Nkuhuma males, but not with the Majingilane males. I just hope that these females don’t walk into the Majingilane males, as they will definitely kill the cubs because they are not the fathers. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that great things will happen to the Styx pride this year, as the last couple of years were not the best for this pride. The Majingilane male lions really kept a low profile this month, as we only saw them once when they came into our area to scent mark and left again the next day.

Buffaloes

Male cheetah by Morné Fouché

Male cheetah by Morné Fouché

We did not see any of the big breeding herds this month. As buffaloes are really bulk feeders, it is crucial for them to be moving all the time, in their continuous quest for enough food and water supplies. The old buffalo bulls are still out and about, spending their days lying in the water or mud wallows, or just relaxing somewhere in the shade. The dominant males that have left the herds last year to fatten up have all returned to the herds and started challenging the last of the older dominant males for mating rights. These big and strong males will have between ten and fifteen females that they will mate with in this coming mating season. A female coming into heat will be closely guarded by a dominant bull, to keep the other bulls away. Females are often evasive, thereby attracting the attention of other bulls and this would then lead to the bulls fighting for mating rights. Females will have their first calve at the age of about 5 years, whereas the males will become dominant only around the age of between 7 – 8 years.

Elephant

Wow, there was really no shortage of elephants this past month. The reason why we have so many elephants is because it is the start of the marula fruiting season. When you find a herd, they are sure to be under, or next to a few marula trees, having a field day with all these little fruits. The marula fruit is very high in vitamin C, at least six times more than oranges. When the fruiting season starts, the elephants can be very destructive when it comes to getting the fruits. We also had a few big male elephants in musth, following the females groups around. We were also very fortunate to witness two of these heavy weights having a standoff, complete with heads up high and ears open. After the standoff they started displaying their strength by pushing over a few trees each, in order to impress the ladies. With all these big male elephants around, the breeding herds are getting a little more stressed out with their presence. We also came across a small bachelor herd of young male elephants moving around in the area. They were obviously kicked out of the herd as they were becoming too old to stay with the family unit.

Special Sighting

The special sighting was to have the whole Breakaway pride, with all nine of their cubs, feasting on a full-grown zebra on our airstrip.

Did you know?

The gestation period of an elephant is 22 months.

I trust that you enjoyed this first report for 2014. Hope to see you out on game drive soon!

Morné Fouché


« Previous Entries Next Entries »

Copyright 2011 © Elephant Plains | Powered by Dumel