I was the only vehicle out from the main lodge on Saturday morning, and Kevin was out from Geigers Camp, but with just the two of us, we had an enjoyable morning; tracks for the unknown lion pride from last night continued deeper east into the central regions of the property, but it was the tracks for two male lions also moving into the concession from the west that drew Kevin’s attention, and he was following up on these when one of our colleagues from a neighbouring lodge found them just ahead of where Kevin was, and this naturally piqued my interest, so I left the rather gorgeous seen of loads of impala, waterbuck and zebras on Piva Plains and the edge of Argyle Dam to make my way towards this area to see which big male lions these were, as our search for leopards in the north wasn’t turning up anything. The lions were surprisingly still on the move quite late in the morning, despite the temperatures rising rapidly from a cool start. Arriving at the lions, we saw that they were two big males, and as I had pictures of the larger one sent to me recently for a possible ID, I soon recognised them as two males from the west, but on seeing the second male, I was quite confident that they were different males from the Western Pride males, and thus new lions to me and the area! They were very comfortable around the vehicles, and it will take time to figure out just who they are, and how often they intend making use of our area, but for now, we enjoyed their presence! After that, we stopped for coffee, and I got equally excited about seeing my first chestnut backed finch lark in the area – a small bird I hadn’t seen before. Heading back towards the camp we passed impala, zebra, giraffe and a herd of elephants trying to find a shady spot to cool down in as the mercury was now rising into the thirties.
With a complete changeover of guests, and a full camp, we all headed out this afternoon with our own missions; we had elephants visit the camp during the guests’ check in which was a nice start for everyone! Some followed up on these to begin with whilst others moved towards the two male lions that had spent the day resting in the west; I dropped the trackers off on tracks for the four lions in the central region, but the terrain wasn’t conducive to quick tracking, and the progress was too slow, so the trackers dint have any luck before darkness fell. I enjoyed the bounty of game on Piva Plains again – impala, zebra, warthog and waterbuck, following on from steenbuck and giraffe to kick off the drive. We then had a quiet spell before locating hippos and a nervous herd of elephants near Mbali Dam; the latter were quite on edge, so we didn’t get too close. We left them and made our way towards the lions as the sun was setting, hoping that this would be the start of their activities, but a full day of sleep had obviously taken its toll on them, and they barely rustled. Richard had bumped into a young leopard on the way home, and we got to see her briefly, but as she was quite nervous, and she was interested in some nearby impala, we didn’t stay long. The biggest adventure was having to try and get Richard out of the river when he tried to cross a crossing that was not crossable; we all know that terrible feeling when your vehicle just stops moving, and despite two vehicles giving him a tug, it was eventually required to load his guests into another vehicle send a rescue tractor out to free him from the clutches of the mud!