After yesterday’s success, what was Thursday going to bring? Well, based on the leopard roaring on our airstrip as we were about to head out, we hoped that some spots in the form of Shongile female would be on the menu, so we headed in that direction and soon found some impalas where the lions had been last night, and spent time watching them. The rasping roar of the leopard was coming from west of the river now, so we carried on towards the sound, but it was close the boundary, and despite spending time checking the area and listening for another clue, we had no luck. Fortunately the Western Pride of lions had walked in that direction too, so we searched for them but weren’t having too much joy in the form of lions, although we did find impala, kudu, waterbuck and a herd of giraffe that we spent time with as they fed around some distance from the road. Carrying on looking for the lions, we ended up at Buffalo Pan with impalas and a small crocodile when the lions were located about a kilometre to our south, but we opted for a coffee break instead of going to see them straight away. After coffee, Kevin informed me that the seventh pride member was walking around just on the western side of our airstrip calling for the pride, but as the distance between them was quite great, it was a futile attempt. I drove past where the remaining lions were, but it was in such a thick area that we didn’t bother even stopping. What we did stop for was a lovely herd of elephants on the opposite side of the Nhlaralumi and enjoyed their company for much for the rest of the morning – one mother and calf in particular chose to come and feed right next to us, leaving lasting memories in the minds of the guests. Brad’s elephants near Geiger’s Camp couldn’t be found again, nor could the lone lioness that was wondering around still, but we didn’t mind, as we had enjoyed our morning with the animals that did show themselves! Angie had a sighting of Nthombi female leopard in the south, and that was my mission for the afternoon.
Whilst the other guides enjoyed an afternoon in the north – that started well with Andries locating on Machaton male leopard at Giraffe Pan (although he soon gave Andries the slip), and was followed with sightings of the Western Pride of lions, a couple of elephant herds in the north, as well as a large herd of buffalo in the west – I headed south. It was a quiet trip down, and if i am honest, it was a quiet afternoon in general in the south, but it was still rather enjoyable. Only impala showed themselves on the way south, and my efforts to locate on the single Sumatra lioness that had been around the area in the middle of the day didn’t go successfully. We in fact couldn’t even find a single track to follow up on! The general game that I had promised my guests was non-existent in the south, and only when we arrived at the area of where Nthombi had been in the morning did we tick off our first animals – hyenas! Luckily, in the tree above the two hyenas, we had our lovely lady, Nthombi. She was fat bellied from having eaten a baby impala, whose remains still sat firmly in the small jackalberry that she found herself in. She had no need to move, and after some good time with her, we moved on. Distant giraffe and a couple of herds of zebras were found on the open areas in the south, but in general, it was very quiet. We tried one more time for the lioness, but after still no luck, opted for Gin and Tonics instead, so had a sundowner, and slowly headed back towards the lodge, lionless, but with a couple of lone wildebeest to add to our species list.
Lets see what tomorrow brings!