08 March 2021

Soggy and Grey

07 January 2021 - Motswari Private Game Reserve; Day 3

It rained all through the night - 75mm was recorded. My wife wasn't confident of staying dry on the drive, so opted to sleep in. I headed down to the restaurant for coffee and by the time we had our coffee the rain eased and stopped, so the morning drive was on, but with only 3 on our Land Rover due to the weather.

Before leaving, I check the Barred Owlets who now looked like characters from a Lord of the Rings movie

African Barred Owlet (Glaucidium capense)

There was an unusual Moth at the entrance - a dry place

Unidentified Moth

I think my wife had the right idea to sleep in, as there was very little about in the wet bush and on the muddy roads this morning. A grumpy looking Tawny Eagle

Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax)

Even the normally bright Lilac-breasted Roller didn't look to colourful

Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus)

A lone Blue Wildebeest

Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)

And after our coffee stop, the sun put out a brief appearance as we saw this distant male Lion lying in the long grass

King of the Beast's (Panthera leo)

It was then back to the Lodge for breakfast and to pack after an enjoyable and relaxing few days, before heading off back to Hoedspruit to spend 2-nights with our good friends.

What a Day

06 January 2021 - Motswari Private Game Reserve; Day 2

After a good night's sleep it was an early start with coffee and muffin's before sunrise, then onto the Land Rover for the anticipated morning safari drive. We weren't going to be disappointed today!

We were not too far from the camp when we came across a family of White Rhinoceros drinking at a small waterhole, before moving off into the bush.

White Rhinocerus (Chiromantis xerampelina)

Red-billed Oxpecker (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) hitching a ride on Mom

In the same area, a lone Spotted Hyaena made an appearance fresh off a kill with another seen loping off back into the bush.

Spotted Hyaena (Crocuta crocuta)

Our Ranger got a call from one of the other vehicles and we left the Hyena briskly to get to a pack of African Wild Dog that were hunting Impala. It was really difficult to follow the action in the thick bush, but we had glimpses of the Dog's chasing the Impala.

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) on the hunt

Fleeing Impala (Aepyceros melampus)

They weren't successful, so we caught up with them again, resting in the road

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)

They didn't stay static for long and were off again

But this time, down to the dry riverbed to rest again and for a bit of interaction with a Spotted Hyena which followed the Dog's when they were hunting. What an awesome start to the morning.

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) and Spotted Hyaena (Crocuta crocuta) interaction

Leaving the Dog's, we stopped for 2 immature African Fish Eagle catching the early morning rays. Very different to an adult plumaged bird

Immature African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer)

These were followed by a Gabar Goshawk that was in attendance with two younger birds

Gabar Goshawk (Micronisus gabar)

African Buffalo are quite scarce in this part of the Park, so when two old boys were found in thick bush, we drove to the location for a look.

African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

It was then time for our welcome coffee stop, before heading back to the Lodge where I checked on the Barred Owlet family near the entrance.

African Barred Owlet (Glaucidium capense)

We freshened up and headed down for a scrumptious breakfast, after which we had the rest of the day at our leisure. We found a spot at the pool and relaxed until 1pm when the predicted thunderstorm arrived with a vengeance. 

But while at the pool, we were entertained by a young Little Sparrowhawk that tried unsuccessfully to catch a Green Woodhoopoe and eventually had to settle for a large dragonfly.

Juvenile Little Sparrowhawk (Accipiter minullus)

Around the gardens I picked up a few butterflies; Common Leopard

Common Leopard (Phalanta p. aethiopica)

and Window Acraea

Female Window Acraea (Acraea oncaea)

We had lunch while it was raining and luckily the rain abated in time for our afternoon drive, but with ominous and dark clouds overhead. We departed after coffee and snacks at the Lodge and headed toward the air strip, stopping for a Greater Spotted Cuckoo in abysmal light - first time I have been able to photograph one, so will have to be satisfied with this image for now.

Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)

A short while later we watched the antics of two frisky Impala fighting on the air strip - it was quite a clash

The Clash of the Impala (Aepyceros melampus)

A trio of Burchell's Zebra looked on in apparent amusement

Impala (Aepyceros melampus) with Burchell's Zebra (Equus quagga burchelli) looking on

Zebra are also great photographic subjects - the barcode of the bushveld! Colour or black and white?

Burchell's Zebra (Equus quagga burchelli)

At a small waterhole there were a couple of Terrapin's (not sure of the species) resting on a submerged tree with a Foam Nest Frog nests above

Terrapin sp. with Grey Foam Nest Frog (Chiromantis xerampelina) nest

A little further on, two Waterbuck which also make for great photographic subjects. Again, colour or black and white?

Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus)

It wasn't only the Impala that were frisky in the colder weather. We had a couple of young Elephants in a bigger herd that were running rampant through the bush and almost into our Land Rover as they came crashing through some bush. Not sure who got the biggest surprise, them or us?

Frisky African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Here a Tawny Eagle not looking happy with the prospect of more rain

Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax)

But the day was not over yet, as we made way to the final sighting of the day in fading and gloomy light. 

A mother Leopard and her almost fully grown cub resting on top of a termite mound. On the other end of the mound was a tree which had their kill still hanging in it and underneath the tree, of course a Spotted Hyena. There appeared to be a bit of a stand-off between the Leopard and Hyena but no action while we were watching.

Mother and son Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Rain was threatening, so we headed back to the Lodge and made it back just in time before the heavens opened up. Dinner was celebrated and enjoyed under the thatched restaurant area complimented with rain, thunder and lighting.


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