We headed out a bit early on Saturday morning and headed over to where the lion cubs were, hoping that the pride would have returned during the night – the little bit of rain we received during the night (7mm) was not enough to soak the bush, but further west they received up to 14mm and this gave a clean slate to track the animals, including the lions whose tracks were picked up a couple of kilometres south of the den, so we knew that they were likely not coming back this morning – the eight lions (including the mother) were found at Sohebele Dam and after some waterbuck and impala sightings we moved in their direction and got to spend some nice time with the pride as the one lioness posed beautifully watching distant waterbuck. The pride eventually got up and made a move, but headed further east and we left them to it and went for a drink at Argyle Dam with the hippos, waterbuck and good birds. There wasn’t much else out here this morning besides elephants around Java, and rhino way in the south, but it was still a nice morning prior to the arrival of some rather cool and slightly miserable weather in the afternoon.
With rain ponchos on, and well geared for colder weather, I headed out east hoping that it would provide a chance to see some leopard – but as the only vehicle operating in that area, it was always a chance I took. We ticked off a few impalas, a lone wildebeest bull and some nice active hippos at one of the dams. Despite the presence of many elephant tracks in the area, they avoided us all afternoon; we did have tracks for a female leopard, but we picked them up too late and tracked until darkness without luck. The Machimba male lions could be heard roaring a couple of kilometres south of our concession, but sadly just out of reach. The other guides enjoyed sightings of Western Pride moving around for most of the afternoon before angling back to the cubs; Angie could hear lions and hyenas fighting near the lodge, but sadly nothing was found. Marka found a leopard with a kill on Java, but as seems to be the trend lately, it was very nervous and ran off, thus not providing for much more than a glimpse. After a quiet afternoon, the best part was the clearing clouds to show the Milky Way in its glory – as well as two elephant bulls waiting in camp for us upon our return!