Predator’s days

It’s been a “hectic” couple of days … we have seen loads of large game and loads of predators … cheetahs, lions, wild dogs, bird predators, … all sorts.

We tracked and found the Ellies south of Big dam – the whole herd together – the bull was again showing us who is bigger. ;-) great sighting!

Elephant bull
Elephant bull

We then picked up fresh tracks of the Wild Dogs and spotted them at the Giraffe Road / Nyala Road split. Three of
them have veered off from the rest of the pack – but our guides are convinced they will reunite soon.

Wild dogs
Wild dogs

Amore snapped some great photos of Togara driving in the riverbed and on sundowner stop – one of the perks of working at the Lodge – you can sometimes join the Safaris. Amore, as an avid photographer, managed this great shot.

River bed cruisen'
River bed cruisen’

This morning we tracked and found the lions at Seekoei dam. The female with the sub adults had managed to take down not one – but TWO wildebeest!!!! They were feasting on the remains (which were pretty gruesome, see photo below). We snapped some incredible photos and let them be after about 15 minutes. Our guests have had a seriously spectacular couple of days … gruesome at times, but that’s nature. It’s raw and real here. And we keep it that way.

Lionesses on kill
Lionesses on kill
Beautiful Goshawk
Beautiful Goshawk

Stunning photo of lions

Mike owns a small private lodge on the reserve, and he is sometimes in touch with me to share news and sightings. He sent me over some stunning shots of the lion pride drinking at a water point near his lodge … and I thought to myself, why not post and share this with our fans? These are truly iconic photos, and it’s a pleasure to see our pride do so well. Our guests can be assured that they will see some of the most stunning lions on our reserve. Our male lion is one of the largest ones I have ever seen, and he is a truly handsome boy.

But see for yourselves … many thanks to Mike for allowing us to share this photo with our fans!

Lion pride at water hole!
Lion pride at water hole!

Unbelievable luck … !!

Why am I never there when the most amazing stuff happens? Sod’s law. But I am happy for our guests who witnessed something so insanely unique, I mean, to be honest, I am bloody jealous actually … I really am.

So what happened? We had seen Zebra and then picked up fresh Cheetah tracks, it was the mother with the cubs and we decided to follow up. That in itself was already exciting enough …

We found them near Jackal Plains – they were stalking some Wildebeest. We didn’t think anything would come of it! And then………….They raced past the ranger and our guests and took done a young wildebeest calf right next to the vehicle. Unbelievable!!!! We witnessed the entire hunt from start to finish. One of the young cubs injured his leg in the hunt – we hope he has a speedy recovery. We got some cool photos of them feasting. A real cheetah kill, so close … this is something that some film crews spend months and months on capturing. Sometimes years … and our guests saw it right in front of them. It was a highlight for everyone on that game driver, including the ranger and tracker.

Here the photo footage, right after the kill. How exciting. I am lost for words … envy can be so cruel.

Zebra in the early morning
Zebra in the early morning
Whole cheetah family having a good breakfast
Whole cheetah family having a good breakfast
... obviously a very bad day for this young wildebeest calf ...
… obviously a very bad day for this young wildebeest calf …
... but that's nature!
… but that’s nature!

Very big stuff

The month kicked off with regular sights of lions, and the many other frequent game we see … and then of course there was the huge animals. Actually, the largest to roam the planet (these days at least).

Rhinos and elephants!

The weather has been warm with cooler mornings. We have now moved our game drive times to 06h00 AM and 16h00 PM as the days are much shorter. We tracked and found the herd of Elephants just south of Scheepers Khaya. They were happily munching away and even came closer to inspect the vehicle. We got some very nice photos. They are truly immense, and no photo will prepare you for when you see them right in front of you. Many tons heavy, measuring up to 4m shoulder height, these animals are true giants. They need to eat 22 hours out of 24 to sustain that weight, and eat up to 400 kg of grass to do so. Incredible.

Elephant herd
Elephant herd

MRL tracked and found Rhino strolling down a bush track. We followed him for a bit and also got some cool photos. I mean … just imagine. They weigh close to 2 tons. A cow is about 250kg. So they are about 8 times the size of a cow. Just try to imagine.

White rhino up-close
White rhino up-close

Very gruesome …

… but nature’s reality. It’s not for the faint-hearted though.

A couple of days ago, we tracked and found the lions again in the morning with the help of the Leadwood guides. The female and her cubs had taken down a baby zebra. They were already munching away when we got there. Poor little one. Very short life. Sad.

Otherwise, we have had many great sightings. We actually bumped into the elephants on our way in for game drive in the morning and decided to follow up. We found them again on the Main Gate entrance track. We got some great photos.

A very pretty giraffe sighting also …they were “necking” (which is fighting, really). It was an amazing sighting for our guests. Just see the photos taken! That’s what giraffe men do when they fight over a woman. It’s really always about women actually … ;-)

Last but lot least … an amazing eagle sighting: a Wahlbergs Eagle. Many great shots. These eagles are larger than they seem to be on photos. This always produces a lot of “aaaws” and “oooohs”. See the photo: stunning! :-)

Wahlberg Eagle
Wahlberg Eagle

Finally, finally …

Finally … it has been such a dry season so far … We have had over 90 mm of rain in the past three days. Internet connection has been shady to say the least as a result of the storms. But it is a price worth paying. The rain has been more than welcome. And we could definitely do with more. We need another 100mm before the dry season sets in and that’s the barest minimum.

Parts of the Kruger Park have seen some serious flooding – roads and camps have flooded and been closed.

But sigthings on our reserve over the last days have been amazing at the same time!

On our drives we saw elephants at 5 star junction – we tracked them along with the MRL guides and we had a
great sighting. This was before the rains came and one can see the dry conditions and sand. Now there is
water pretty much everywhere.

We tracked and found the lions at Big Dam in the afternoon. They were taking in the sights and spent some time watching an Impala across the dam.

The next morning we tracked and found them near the Essem open area. They had taken down an Impala, ironically and the lioness was happily munching away.

We also tracked and found a Rhino – see how close you get to see these giants here! You really can’t beat that.

I received hundreds of photos, I tried my best to select the best. I love the one with the lioness overlooking the lake – her home! Just beautiful, such an African iconic moment.

Lioness enjoying breakfast
Lioness enjoying breakfast
Male lion ... stunning!
Male lion … stunning!
Lioness at one of our lakes
Lioness at one of our lakes
Super rare Southern Ground Hornbill
Super rare Southern Ground Hornbill
Rhino!
Rhino!
Rhino taking a close-up inspection
Rhino taking a close-up inspection
Giraffes
Giraffes
Elephant herd
Elephant herd

What a start into March!

Moditlo Nature Reserve has a serious tendency to out-do any expectation every time guests go out on another safari. And March started off the way February ended. In amazing fashion.

These past three days have been absolutely outstanding. Finding the gorgeous lion pride, giraffe, elephant, rhino, cheetah, zebra and last but not least, wild dogs! It should be kept in mind that there are only two lodges on the reserve, so finding these animals takes skill since there aren’t as many vehicles moving around compared to other reserves. Of course this means that the experience here is much more authentic, even old school, and the actual wildlife encounters are the way they should be: unstressed, and you will get proper time with these animals. No 5-minute policies here!

Our recently introduced pack of wild dogs have been tracked since their arrival. As you know, wild dogs are unfortunately endangered, one of the main reasons being human encroachment. So it’s fantastic news that this reserve has been “handed back” to them. Sometimes it goes the other way.

Wild dogs have quite an off-putting hunting method, although it may be very misunderstood. Putting aside their means of hunting, these animals are extremely social amongst themselves, and have a very unique way of raising their little ones.

There are breeding pairs within each pack, and each dog in that pack takes part in raising and teaching their young. Every single dog in a pack is unique, no two dogs have the same markings. Just like no two people have the same finger print. It’s fantastic news to see them roam our reserve again!

Zebras
Zebras
Rhino pair
Rhino pair
Pack of wild dogs
Pack of wild dogs
Lioness in a tree - what a rare sight!
Lioness in a tree – what a rare sight!
Cheetah up-close!
Cheetah up-close!
Leopard tortoise on her morning run - will we get some rain soon?
Leopard tortoise on her morning run – will we get some rain soon?
Male lion overlooking the river bed
Male lion overlooking the river bed
Close elephant encounter
Close elephant encounter
... and last but not least ... a giraffe journey
… and last but not least … a giraffe journey

Bryan Guillot – best of

Hi!

Some photos are better just left uncommented, because words wouldn’t add anything to it. Simple as that.

Bryan stayed with us late last month, and as I always say, let’s show what our guests saw, that can only be the true reflection of what one can see here over the course of a few days. Enjoy! Just stunning.

Many thanks to Bryan sharing his photos with us. It’s a privilege!

img_5770 img_5886 img_5918 img_6123 img_6263 img_6295 img_6383 img_6391 img_6459 img_6563 img_6638 img_6649 img_6914 img_7241 img_7255 img_7346 img_7434 img_7674 img_7823

And back again!

Wow … what a crazy few weeks these have been … I have never been busier helping so many guests for bookings, questions, travel arrangements … January was the busiest month I have ever had, and I have been doing this for over 6 years now. And February is not showing any slowdown!

As a result, I could not dedicate enough time to this blog, and that was frustrating, because we have had loads of amazing sightings over recent weeks.

So let’s start in the recent past … the last two days!

Guests were absolutely thrilled to see a week old giraffe standing still next to his mom so they got a good look at him.

The Cheetahs are still hanging around the Broken Dam, this is good for us since we are lucky enough to see them as often as we do. It is something that this reserve is now known for … you can see wild cheetahs in their wild habitat almost every day here, and that’s very rare nowadays in Africa. Come and see these iconic animals really up-close and personal here!

The Lions were being rather evasive although we were able to get a shot of one of the females. The photo below is the mother of the three cubs. I am still in awe in terms of how well she’s done. By God, I struggle with our two little ones. Maybe lion cubs are just better behaved. Well, they don’t need nappy changes, for one, so that’s something.

Two gorgeous Hoopoe birds were found only after their call was heard. Hoopoe is named after the sound produced by the bird. Another interesting fact about them is that their beak is muscular enough to open while it is in the ground looking for food. Apart from that, they are also very pretty birds. See below … I think everyone will agree with me. :-)

Cheetah up-close
Cheetah up-close
Impala herd
Impala herd
Lioness
Lioness
African Hoopoe bird
African Hoopoe bird

Fighting giraffes, rhino spa treatments and training lions

Nature is like life … a never-ending conveyor belt of activity … giraffes fight for domination over females (yep, we do that too, just in more subtle ways, and sometimes in less subtle ways if we are honest), young lions are learning the ropes of the “business” under the watchful of big daddy who thinks he knows it all, and rhinos … well, they have nothing to fear really (except humans of course), but as they are all well protected here, they can endulge in a relaxing mud bath, a proper spa treatment. And it’s all for free. ;-)

The point of these mud baths is to cool down, and also “drown” the many ticks that are biting them. Once the mud has dried on the skin, it can be scratched off with the ticks and other parasites stuck in it. Clever trick. Lots of animals use this trick, and rhinos are no exception.

The photos below have been taken over the last 2 days, but it’s of course only a short selection of the dozens of animals we saw … frustrating in a way, but if you want to see it all … just come and visit! :-)

"Necking" giraffes fighting out their differences
“Necking” giraffes fighting out their differences
Young lions fooling around ...
Young lions fooling around …
... I wouldn't annoy big daddy ...
… I wouldn’t annoy big daddy …
Now that's a chilled spa treatment. Enjoy!
Now that’s a chilled spa treatment. Enjoy!