After a few days without guests, I was rejoining the team out in the bush for my afternoon drive, and was particularly happy to hear that the Western Pride of lions had returned from their sojourn north, and that Angie had found them – apparently with all seven members back together – in the morning resting on our airstrip before the moved down to the Sohebele to rest. Throw in a sighting of Inkanye female leopard on our northern boundary in the morning, and I was happy to have a drive bumbling about in the north with the aim of seeing the lions. What transpired, as that I got a whole lot more than I bargained for!
I headed out with the guests and we soon ticked off warthog, steenbuck and a lone buffalo bull in the waterhole at Giraffe Pan north of the camp. I carried on checking the north for the elephants that I had heard trumpeting in the area in the morning, but wasnt having a great deal of joy – Angie and Goodman however had more luck with what they were looking for, and soon called in a rhino and youngster not too far from where I was, and as they are not animals we often see in this part of the reserve, we headed over to join them and had a lovely view of the mother rhino and the baby that we were lucky enough to find at one day old during January last year – it was so much nicer watching him feeding in a sea of grass than a dustbowl of sand as he had to endure last year.
Inkanye female leopard had pitched up at Argyle Dam, so we opted to try and see if we could see her, as you are never sure when leopards will go into hiding with such thick bushy conditions, and we trundled over towards her, enjoying impala, a troop of baboons and a very distant elephant across the other side of Piva Plains along the way. Inkanye was making her way through a mopane thicket, which made it difficult for us, but she eventually settled – albeit only for a couple of minutes – on a termite mound before resuming her search for food, which was starting to become desperate, as she is still very empty-bellied. We decided to leave her to her hunting and went to check on the Western Pride of lions as the sun had now set, and they were no doubt soon to get mobile, and our timing was just right, because as we were approaching the area where they had been sleeping all day, they popped up out of the bush and made their way towards the airstrip to hunt – sadly with the almost full-moon in the sky above, the impalas soon became aware of them and set off the alarm calls. The lions regrouped and went to sleep so we left them in la la land and headed the few hundred meters back to the lodge, passing a young porcupine along the way to end off a first drive that was probably way too good, but one that we all thoroughly enjoyed!