We headed out on Monday morning with the rest of the guests that arrived late yesterday afternoon and began checking for signs of the leopard that I could hear calling close to the lodge when I woke up in the early hours of the morning, but we were not having much luck with tracks except those heading towards where I had heard her calling from. Luckily, Johannes had found a few of the wild dogs on a small impala kill on Piva Plains, and another wild dog had killed an impala in front of a land owners camp further west; we moved in to that area to assist with the search and were rewarded when we caught up with all eleven pack members feasting on a large male impala kill – their third of the morning!!! They fed whilst we watched them and had a really great view of them before making space for some of the other guides to enjoy. Henry had been following up on reports that a rhino that visited Giraffe’s Nest during the night was badly injured, and fearing the worst, set out to find her. He did, and she was injured, but fortunately the Timbavati managed to mobilise a vet that came to assist her and determined that the injury was a puncture wound of sorts (speculation of either another rhino or elephant), and not a poacher’s bullet as first feared. He administered some antibiotics and painkillers and sent her on her way; we keep our fingers crossed that she makes a full recovery. Difference went off to track Duma and Ross male lions in the north, but their tracks crossed over into Ingwelala, so after our coffee and sightings of giraffe, impala, zebra and kudu, we made our way past Argyle Dam where we found a few elephant bulls just to the west that made their way slowly towards the dam as we headed back to the lodge. The Ross lionesses had met up with the two Sumatra male lions in the south, and were found mating there in the morning, and late in the morning, Johannes found Tshwukunyana male lion along the Nhlaralumi riverbed further south.
In the afternoon, I headed to Argyle Dam to see if the elephants were around, but in addition to waterbuck, elephant bulls bushbuck and impala and hippos we also saw the crocodiles eating something; at first I thought it was a waterbuck, but eventually realised that it was a spotted hyena of all things!!! It had lost a lot of its hair, and the skin had turned white indicating that it wasn’t a fresh carcass, but it was a hyena carcass none-the-less! The large crocs rolled around ripping pieces off for a couple of minutes before swimming away with the carcass to the far end of the dam. In the morning, one of these crocs had also grabbed a baby elephant that was swimming in the water, but the mother elephant managed to save it; sadly, we missed that action. We received a report that Duma male ion had come back onto our concession and had gone and eaten the remains of one of the wild dogs’ kills from the morning – we thought that, on such a hot day, he wouldn’t have wandered too far, and went to track, but after checking around for some 45 minutes, the tracks weren’t leading anywhere and we opted to leave the area having just seen impala, an elephant bull, crocodile and giraffe in the area. With the mating lions still in the south, we moved in that direction; a long way, but as it was my guest second and last drive, we didn’t have much choice. We passed impalas and giraffe, hippos and a small herd of elephants drinking at Makulu Dam along the way, but not a great deal else before we eventually arrived at the four lions all fast asleep. But as is the case with mating lions, it wasn’t long until one of the females got up and walked over the male, presented herself and caused him to sluggishly arise, do the deed and flop over back to sleep! We saw two and a half matings before they all fell asleep and didn’t wake up again, so we made the long journey back, not seeing much besides a couple of owls along the way. It was a long drive, but some happy guests made the trip south worth it!