After a restless night, we awoke and went to see what had unfolded during the night with Shongile and the fate of her cub. We first checked the north to see if our Western Pride of lions had returned, but there was no sign, so we swung past where last nights incident had taken place, and Shongile was still walking around calling. It didn’t look good. Not wanting to see her like this, we left, but Richard came in and took over from Kevin and followed her for a bit…and just as well he did, as not long after that, he gave a radio call that made us all smile a little; she still had one cub left! It was moving about in the grass, and only Jacky saw it properly before it disappeared, it was welcome news after the emotional rollercoaster we had endured. Richard closed off the area and pulled out, leaving mom resting on a tree stump watching over her surviving cub. Hopefully that little one will have a safer future than its sibling. Or maybe, we just misread the whole situation? Either way, mom has a cub, and we will keep our fingers crossed!
Moving on from that area, we spent time at Argyle Dam where a herd of elephants pitched up before disappearing into a thicket – we went and had coffee where we thought that they might come and drink, but nothing arrived, so we drove across the river to see if we could find them again, and indeed we did, just as they made their way down to drink at Argyle Dam with the hippos. Carrying on in the north, we enjoyed another couple of elephant herds as well as zebras, impala, kudu, giraffes and more giraffes, and then some more giraffes just for good measure!
My afternoon was spent heading to the east, where we enjoyed a drive in solitude, not only from the vehicles, but also from the animals; okay, it wasn’t that bad, but considering the water and grass in that area, it was a bit surprising. We spent time with an elephant bull in musth, passed some zebras, and then found two buffalo bulls resting in an idyllic mud wallow alongside the Sohebele. Carrying on back to the central region, we soon found more impala, zebra, a lone giraffe, another elephant bull, and then a couple of leopards. In the morning, Johannes had located on a waterbuck kill but no leopard, but when i arrived in the afternoon, Mondzweni male had made a grand return and was found feeding on the kill – earlier in the day it was mentioned that a second leopard had been around (they said a female), but when we looked up from watching Mondzweni, we spotted Tshwukunyana male lying in the riverbed watching on. We waited for something to happen, but both leopards fell asleep about 80m apart, and with the light fading and the kill still being on the ground, we had to leave the night to play out its activities on its own. We passed Lily Pan where Duma male lion had been found resting on the inflow – sadly, he looked like he would be resting there all night and barely stirred whilst we were there, so we parted ways and made our way home. It was a better night drive than usual, and a glimpse of a porcupine was followed by a nice sighting of an African Wild cat, and then a much better, prolonged sighting of another pair of adult porcupines to round off a good day, as well as a much happier one than yesterday!