This morning woke up with me not having had a great deal of sleep due to the inconsiderate lions that spent the whole night roaring between Geiger’s Camp and the main lodge, but they did provide a great reason to head out and look for them, as well as to follow up on Shongile leopardess and her kill. Not long after setting off, we found the leopard resting at the base of the tree; we had no sooner turned off when the Western Pride began roaring on the other side of the riverbed, not more than a few hundred meters away, so we decided to leave the leopard and go and look for them, but by the time I listened to Difference and went where he wanted me to go, we only found their tracks heading north into Ingwelala, so we slowly moved back towards Shongile. Finding some elephants close to the lodge, we stopped to watch them when the two male lions roared from right where we had just been, so we shot off again to see if we could get lucky, but sadly, it was one of those mornings, and they too crossed into Ingwelala before we could find them – although another station was convinced they were still just opposite Shongile! After a lone elephant bull, we arrived to find the leopard walking around in the riverbed calling for her cub, but it was not coming out while we were there, and with a limited view for the second vehicle, we made space and carried on towards Xiviti male leopard that Brad had found near Giraffe’s Nest. In the mean time, Marka had found the Western Pride when they crossed straight through Ingwelala to our tarred access road, and spent time with them there. I opted for coffee before heading towards Xiviti, but not before spending time with a large herd of elephants around Argyle Dam. Xiviti had gone static on the banks of the Sohebele and posed wonderfully for us before seeing some impalas and gave it a half-hearted effort until they moved off and he settled for the morning, so we left him to it and headed back to the lodge where the elephants once again kept the guests company for the day.
The elephants became our first port of call for the afternoon and we spent time with the multiple herds in the area before checking on Shongile, but found nothing. Despite checking up and down the riverbed, she was not to be found, so we sat and waited, hoping. But after waiting, we had no luck, so went to check the elephants, before trying one more time, but she was still not there, so i turned around, and it was only when i was doing so that Difference spotted her paws in the long grass on the opposite side of the road, completely hidden!!! It was a poor sighting, but we sat and waited for her, hoping the elephants would come and chase her away, but they took their time, and she slept! We gave up and moved towards Argyle Dam for a drink, and it was then that Richard checked on her, only to have her lying in the open, and then going to feed on her duiker kill!!! After dark, we decided not to follow up on the leopard that had been at Giraffe’s Nest, and went back to Shongile and this time found her in the open, but she wasn’t too active; we did get to see the cub at a distance, but it was not very relaxed at all, and with it only being just shy of six months old, we didn’t try get closer, and after some time, left Shongile to it and headed home having spent the entire afternoon around the lodge.
Elsewhere, in the reserve, in the morning the lone Sumatra lioness was found pursuing a herd of buffalo in the south, and with tracks for the males in the same area, it seems that this pride is pushing more and more west; she didn’t have luck and was left resting as the herd moved off. Mondzweni male leopard was found in the same area, and late in the morning he managed to catch himself a young kudu, but by the evening the local hyena clan had stolen it from him. Elephants abounded everywhere, and the Western Pride were still resting on the access road, but later moved north and out of sight.