Thursday was elephant day at Motswari, and our morning began with us just checking the northern reaches of the lodge for any sign of leopard or perhaps Duma male lion, but we came up empty handed – was wasn’t so empty handed was everyone else luck in terms of elephants near the camp, and soon there were at least three different groups found all making their way towards the Sohebele riverbed and Argyle Dam area – as a result of this, we ended up spend the first half of the morning surrounded by elephants of all shapes and sizes as they fed and made their way towards water on a warm day. During our coffee stop, one of the herds came to drink, and a little further along, two separate groups arrived to drink at Argyle Dam as we sat and watched them, the hippos, waterbuck and crocodiles around. Deciding to leave the elephants, I opted not to follow up on the large buffalo herd (100-plus individuals) that had been to Giraffe’s Nest that night (and what a night it was for the guests – elephant and buffalo herds when they arrived, followed by a rhino, then more buffalo and two separate elephant herds, hippos and even a male leopard that spent some twenty minutes around the dam…and that was all in one night!), and rather tried to search for some leopard and follow up on some alarm calling impalas that Robynne had notified me of; whilst heading around Piva Plains, Difference spotted a hyena walking about on the far end of the clearing, and as it was so late in the morning, I immediately thought this suspicious and went to investigate, and just as well we did, as there in the marula tree above was the gorgeous Inkanye female leopard and the little remains of an impala kill that she had made, and had surely been eaten by the hyenas. For now though, she was content just sprawled out in the shady bow of the tree above a happy guide, and happier guests. We left and made our way back to the lodge passing impala, hippos, zebras and waterbuck along the way. Richard had headed out east in the morning and followed up on some lion tracks and vulture activity to locate on the two Machimba male lions and the Sumatra lioness on a large kudu bull kill.
The afternoon was still very warm, and we checked to see if the elephants were at Argyle Dam, but all we found was a bushbuck, baboons, waterbuck, crocodiles and one lone elephant bull. Finding that Inkanye and finished her kill and moved off, we spent quite a bit of time checking the area to no avail – we did however catch up with the large buffalo herd moving away from Giraffe’s Nest. Having no luck with the leopard tracks, we moved on to have a drink overlooking the Sohebele riverbed before going east to check on the lions and their kill. We got there later than I had hoped, but the timing was perfect as the one male went to drink before rejoining the comatose lioness and other male near the kudu kill. After grooming and posing, he went to feed and we ended up having a great sighting of these notoriously shy male lions – a great way to end off a great day!