Tuesday morning started off with a little drizzle, and my jokes of there being 100 percent chance of rain during the morning wasn’t so funny when the rain started pouring on us later that morning, but it was a few minutes of rain that did nothing more than settle the dust and bring out the tortoises. I headed out to check the northern boundary to see what was going on, but there wasn’t too much around, not even at the steenbuck kill of presumably Leadwood female leopard – we had found where she had run off with the kill yesterday afternoon and hidden it under a bush, but this morning it was gone, and with her being a nervous leopard, we didn’t spend much time in the area. Moving along, we soon found a herd of almost twenty giraffes as well as dazzle of zebras and loads of impalas on the open areas around Leadwood airstrip. We spent time enjoying the general game, with more zebras and impalas before stopping for a cup of coffee on the banks of the Nhlaralumi. With the clouds lifting, the sun came out and the day started to warmup quickly; we were sitting with a herd of elephants when we were informed of another large herd that was on the banks of Mbali Dam, not too far from us. We decided to head over to see them, and it was a wonderful decision as we had an amazing sighting of about 50 elephants getting incredibly excited about the visit to the waterhole – the trumpeting, the mud splashing and the swimming of elephants of all shapes and sizes made for a truly magical scene. When done the herds quickly departed, and after a bit more time with them we made our way back to the lodge. Brad had endured a frustrating morning trying to track down the Timbavati Pride, but the rain made things quite difficult, and despite believing that they were close by, they ran out of time and returned to camp empty handed.
I left for the afternoon safari earlier than normal, and made our way straight to where the lion tracks were left in the morning. We dropped Difference and Petros off on the tracks and carried on with drive, seeing impala and kudus around the waterholes. The other guides got to enjoy three separate herds of elephants around the lodge as I struggled to see much in the east. To make matters worse, Difference soon told me that the tracks that they were following were from six days ago!!! The rain had made it difficult to differentiate the old from the new tracks, and at some point the paths from last night and last week must have crossed. They tried tracking from exactly where the lions had been left last night, but it was always going to be too late in the day for success. I had left them to it and ventured further south-east after reports of a pack of wild dogs coming in from the Kruger were received; I didn’t have much joy besides zebras, wildebeest, hippo and impalas. There were tracks for the two Machimba male lions right in the east, and although fresh, without Difference to assist, we didn’t have much luck, and I was trying to get to the south-eastern corner for a chance of seeing the elusive wild dogs, but my efforts were in vain, and we ended up settling for a sundowner with a hippo that was happy to show off for us. Our luckless afternoon changed on the way home though when we were lucky enough to bump into Xiviti male leopard on a territorial patrol on the southern boundary – it was my first time to see this leopard since December, so I was very chuffed, and happy to report that he is still in great condition and as relaxed as ever. While with him, we could hear the two lions roaring to our north, and tried for them on the way home, but only found a genet and some chameleons before closing down at the lodge. Kevin had a great afternoon in the south when he saw rhino, buffalo and Nthombi female leopard, but she sadly disappeared into a thicket and was lost before our other guides could get a chance to see her.