Wednesday morning started with lions roaring in all directions from the camp; the Western Pride to the west, more lions way west, some to the north, and another couple to the south – I opted to move south to check on which males could be responsible for these roars. We were watching waterbuck when a roar suddenly erupted just behind us; we spun the vehicle around and began checking where we had heard the sounds coming from, but found nothing. We stopped to watch a European roller when we could hear some contact calls from not too far to our east, and eventually stopped at the right spot where a large male lion walked out the bush and we drove in to join Duma. I was temporarily confused when a second male lion pitched up, and thought that they were the Western males, especially as reports from Ingwelala were of one of the males looking in a very poor condition. The second male matched this profile, and as Duma had fallen flat in the grass, I couldn’t get a positive ID and was left unsure of their true ID until I thought about it and realised that the old decrepit male was actually the really old Ross male that had joined forces with Duma! This is the second male that Duma has joined forces with, and we will have to see how long this lasts; with the Ross male being in such a poor state, I cant imagine that he will be able to keep up with wildly roaming Duma male. Time will tell.
We then carried on to the south-west to search for rhinos as the other guides enjoyed a sighting of Madzinyo male leopard in the south. We bumped into a very large herd of elephants – possibly 60-odd – but they were feeding in some thickish bush, so we didn’t spend too long with them. We also saw impala, kudu, nyala, hippos and another herd of elephants drinking at Makulu Dam. The next bit of the drive in search of rhinos was terribly quiet, and it was quite amazing to see how quiet it was in the south. We stopped for a coffee and headed home along the western boundary but still found little sign of life, let alone rhinos. Hitting the north, we started seeing impala, giraffe and zebras again, but we sadly failed in our efforts for rhinos.
This thus became the mission for the afternoon and we left early and headed straight south, and not having learnt our lesson from the morning to stay north, we ended up having a rather quiet drive, but it was still nice to see some different landscapes in the south. Difference spent the afternoon following up on rhino tracks, but they were from last night, and after a few kilometres of tracking, he still hadn’t had luck. We only saw a few impala, giraffe and zebra, as well as saddle-billed storks. A lovely sunset was followed by us heading back north and spending time with Duma and his new friend, the Ross male. They hadn’t moved too far during the day, and only stirred briefly in the time we watched them before flopping over again and leading us to head back to the lodge, rhinoless. Other sightings for the afternoon were elephants and buffalo bulls in the north, and good general game around these areas too.
With my guests missing out on morning drive, there is no doubt that some rhinos will show up…guess we have to wait until tomorrow to see that!