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5th Day - 20 August, 2010

RogerH's picture
5th Day - 20 August, 2010


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5th Day – 20 August, 2010


After only one night at Satara, we packed up and headed out, on our way to our much anticipated stay at Nkorho Bush Lodge.  A cold front had moved in and the day dawned cool and overcast.  As we went along, it became clear that most of the animals were hunkered down, trying to stay warm.  The exception seemed to be these 2 Giraffe,

who seemed oblivious to the cold and were happily munching at the treetops.

We were seeing so little game, that at one point I resorted to taking a few pictures of inanimate objects like this interesting tree which was growing up through a crack in the rock. 

Mid-morning we stopped at a lookout/get-out point overlooking the Timbavati River, to stretch our legs and see what we could see.  This cool little Natal Francolin

came out of the brush to holler loudly at us.  Jen and Chris were crackin’ up at his antics, while I, as usual, was taking pictures! 

For the rest of our journey out of the park, about the only wildlife we saw were this Steenbok

who was hunkered down in the grass under a bush, and another Giraffe.

We left Kruger at about noon and made our way, through a series of small villages, to Gowrie Gate into the Sabi Sands Game Preserve.  Once inside, we came across these Rhino.

They were just a few yards up into a private road, so we weren’t able to get any closer to them.  Just as well – Rhinos don’t always welcome visitors who get too close.

Just a little ways further on we came to this sign which I’ve been waiting to see, with my own eyes, for over 3 years!

Then, in the distance, there it was!!

We were there at last!  As we got out of the car, we were warmly greeted by Michelle, from Reception, and Jason, our guide.  A moment or so later, Karin who is the Lodge Manager also came out to welcome us to Nkorho.  While Michelle got us checked in, Jason carted our luggage off to our Chalet.  He also collected our dirty laundry from the car, then took the car off and parked it.  We learned, early on, that no one has just ONE job at Nkorho!  Oh yes, the guides are also the bartenders in the evening!

We were then shown to our Chalet. (number  4)

We had a few minutes to freshen up before lunch, and survey the views from our deck.  This one of reception (to the left) the main lodge and bar (center) and the dining room. (right)

And this view across the open area, with the water hole off in the distance.

The large white object in the foreground is the Elephant skull that we see when the camera is pointed at the lodge.

After we had lunch, yours truly got a lesson from Karin on moving and zooming the waterhole cam.  It definitely takes a certain touch, but by the end of our 3 day stay I think I had gotten pretty good at it.  At least no one on the forum complained!

At 4:00 o’clock we piled onto the game drive vehicle (10 guests plus Jason our guide and Thomas our tracker)  For the first hour, we pretty much just rode around and looked at the scenery.  Jason talked to us a bit, about some of the trees and such.  There seemed to be a great deal of activity on the radio, but most of it was very hard for us to understand.  However, after a while it became obvious that we were sort of killing time, presumably waiting for something.

Then we started moving again, and soon came upon this sight…………..

What we had been waiting for was our turn to approach the lions.  (There is a limit on the number of vehicles that can be on a sighting at one time.)  This was Black Tip, one of the males from the new Majingilanes coalition which have replaced the Mopogos in this part of Sabi Sands,

and one of the females from the Styx pride.

Note how scarred up his face is from the recent “war”.

These males have been seen mating with a number of the Styx girls for the last month or so.  Hopefully this signals an end to the killing which has been the result of the ouster of the Mapogos and the Majingilanes exercising their dominance over their new territory.

We were able to stay on the sighting for quite a while, as most of the other vehicles had left.  Karin came out from the lodge

to snap a few pics of the pair.

After reading this account, it occurs to me that it is being read by a lot of people who are not familiar with the happenings that I have referred to.  The short story is as follows.

This area (Sabi Sands Game Preserve) has been dominated by a coalition of 4 large male lions called the Mapogos who took power several years ago.  They accomplished this by killing or chasing off all of the resident male lions and their prodigy.  Once all the cubs were gone, the females would go into estrus and the new males bred with them to create their own bloodline.  In recent months, a new, younger coalition of five (The Majingilanes) began to be seen in the area.  Back in June, two of the Mapogos caught one of the new males by himself and killed him.  Some hours later, the remaining 4 Majingilanes jumped the two Mapogos and a horrific battle ensued.  This battle resulted in one of the Mapogos  (Kinky Tail) being killed, and the other (Mr. T) being run off, never to return to the area.

Two accounts of this battle, one by Peter Rundle, head guide at Nkorho, and one by Karin, the lodge manager, may be found HERE.  Be warned, these accounts are very graphic, and not for the timid.

This new coalition has now established itself in the same fashion as the Mapogos did before them.  It’s brutal in nature………………but it is nature.


We returned to the lodge at about 7:00 o’clock.  I took a couple of pictures of the inside of our chalet

and it’s spacious bathroom with a glass walled shower which is so large it doesn’t need a door or curtain.

Since it was so cool, we didn’t get to have our evening meal in the traditional boma with a roaring  fire in the middle.   Instead we ate in the dining room and the food was great.  It was sort of a buffet, with a choice of pork or chicken and lots of other goodies.

Then after a couple of nightcaps in the lounge, with Head Guide, Peter Rundle, it’s early to bed because they wake you up at 5:30 for the game drive at 6:00.



Giraffes                                                                       Baboons

Waterbuck                                                                  Steenbok

Rhinos                                                                         Lions



Natal Francolin                                                           Black Bellied Bustard

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sassabuck's picture

Thanks Roger. Really

Thanks Roger. Really appreciate the good descriptions and Great pictures.

Ingwe's picture

Lovely! It makes me want to


It makes me want to pack my bags right now.

Loooove the styx girlies Smiling


janirry1958's picture

Thank you so much Roger, it

Thank you so much Roger, it has been a thrill reading your blogs and seeing your pictures.

leelal's picture

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your update and especially NK.  I had tears in my eyes when I saw your pics and of number 4 as that is the chalet I had last year when there, I wanted to buy it I loved it so much, lol.  As Karin puts it there is no where better to live than in the bush.

Looking forward to your further updates.


Janine's picture

Hi Roger thanks so much. 

Hi Roger thanks so much.   I was starting to think you had forgotten to do more updates Wink  that is how much I look forward to reading them.

Poppet's picture

Roger..thank you so much for

Roger..thank you so much for your accounts of your trip.  The Nkorho one is particularly of interest as it gives a different perspective to what we get to see through the lens of the cam every day.  Must say, I'm just a teensy weensy bit 'green' Laughing out loud


donnabac's picture

Roger, thank you for

Roger, thank you for continuing our journey Smiling. The pictures make me feel like I'm there. Favorite this time: picture of the waterhole from your chalet.


Mavis's picture

Wow - another great entry

Wow - another great entry Roger.



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