News
12 June 2017

A week ago on Monday, I was struggling for leopard, yet this morning saw no such stresses other than staying warm on a cool morning!  I headed straight west towards the hyena den in the hope of finding some action there, and in a way fortunately there was not a great deal out there to slow down my approach, and we arrived having only ticked off impala and waterbuck, and when we got to the den, we found one adult and three of the small cubs out, but with the mother being super full and covered in blood from a meal last night, she was not in the mood for dealing with boisterous cubs, so she wandered off with cubs in tow, but they soon returned to the den and milled about before getting ready for their busy day of sleeping.  In the south, Nthombi had lost her impala kill form last night to a skittish young male leopard, and she moved off to the north-west, so we slowly moved in that direction hoping for a better daytime leopard sighting than yesterday; frustratingly there was still very little to slow down the trip, and we ended up having a very quiet morning in the west, but it would be worth it for time with Nthombi leopardess.  Arriving to find her sitting on a termite mound, we were happy with our effort to get down south, but she soon got up and started walking north, giving us good views as she did so…until she spotted a lone male impala and entered a rapid stalk mode that led to us losing her, and never regaining visual – a very frustrating end to the sighting!  The tracks for the three cheetahs were on Java, but despite searching Kevin had no luck in finding them.  I didn’t see much else in the morning and after a coffee headed back to the lodge.  With only four guests on their last evening drive this evening, I opted for a chilled drive in the east to not only see unchartered lands with them, but also hoping to find cheetah and rhino; optimistic, yes, but worth a try!  A large elephant bull in musth greeted us on Karan’s airstrip before we checked the open areas and pans in the east for any sign of zebras or the wild dogs, but we came up empty handed (i.e. only impala,  steenbuck and a buffalo bull in a thicket).  Enjoying the solitude of the east, we also enjoyed still seeing green patches of grass, but a puzzling lack of life making use of it, until we managed to tick off one of our wishes, a slightly nervous rhino and calf, but we used patient and stillness to eventually get a lovely 20 minute sighting of the two of them before letting them move off after we tried to reposition.  Drinks with an elephant bull and the hippos was a great way to end off the day before making our way back to the lodge; it was only on the trip home i slightly regretted not being elsewhere in the reserve as Richard found Tshwukunyana male leopard mating with Klakisa female in the same area we heard them mating yesterday!  The old male leopard had been round the same termite mound on Java earlier in the day too, but no sightings were established.  Inkanye female leopard also lost her kill to the hyenas in the north near Argyle Dam, but she was joined in the area by a second and possibly even a third leopard, but it was a very on-off sighting that didn’t stay stable for long.  Also, the Timbavati Pride crossed east out of our concession this morning before Richard could find them; annoyingly, they crossed on top of his vehicle tracks for where he had been checking for them in the morning!



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