Following the unexpected rain last night, we awoke to a slightly damp landscape, but with more rain forecast for later in the day, we hoped that this would change even more, especially on hearing that the very southern parts of the reserve received in excess of 100mm of rain, whilst we recorded 5mm!!! The southern parts of our traversing recorded around 20mm. The effect of this was the the Nhlaralumi riverbed turned into a river, albeit one that was only slowly progressing northwards, and as we were down in the south searching for rhinos and leopard, we decided to pop in and have a look. We got lucky and arrived at one of the crossings as the water was making its way northwards – it really was quite a special sight to see the sandy riverbed transformed into a watery one in front of our eyes, and as there was very little happening out there, we opted to enjoy our coffee and watch the spectacle again! Brad had found the Western Pride of 8 lions just south of Motswari airstrip, and there were many elephants in the north, but the south was frighteningly quiet; a few giraffe and impala, and no real sightings to speak of until we got back north and enjoyed a brief sighting of a herd of elephants near Giraffe’s Nest before closing down. The Machimba males and Sumatra lioness were at their kudu kill in the morning, but by mid-morning had finished it and left the rest to the vultures.
As the afternoon approached, so too did a change in weather and the wind picked up, clouds moved in, and the rains started to fall. Our guests that were in camp all decided to brave the weather, and they ended up being well rewarded! We went out with ponchos on, and in the light rain soon found a a giraffe and a small herd of elephants, but sadly no sign of the Western Pride of lions near where they had been left this morning. After almost an hour of looking around, I was heading out of the area, difference managed to spot them near Lover’s Leap, and as the rain was easing off, it gave the lions the energy they needed (as did the kill they had made during the day – no sign of what it was, but the blood on their coats told of a midday meal) and we spent about 45 minutes watching them interact as the weather went from rainy to sunny in a short space of time. We carried on and saw that the afternoons rain had also allowed the Sohebele river to start flowing, so we watched as that started to come down toward Argyle Dam. We went to investigate Tshwukunyana male leopard at his impala ram kill near Java Dam, but found that he hadn’t returned since Richard swam briefly earlier in the afternoon. Despite sitting for some time, we had no luck, but as we were leaving, Ntima male leopard – the brother of Tshwukunyana – pitched up at Java Dam and made his way towards the kill; he ate some of the scraps lying around before moving north, so we left him to it and made out way back to the lodge after a good afternoon in less than ideal conditions!