Wednesday was my last full day of work in a 7,5 week work cycle, which means that this is also my last blog update for the month, and I will only be back in action from the 4th May – I trust that you have enjoyed the regular updates of our animals, and look forward to sharing more with you all upon my return. The last morning saw me once more trying the northern sections for the Western Pride and some possible sign of rhinos, but alas, it was the same story and an hour in this section led to nothing but a sunrise and some impalas. Two leopards had come walking through camp during the night, and Marka found tracks for the female that soon led to a sighting of Inkanye female leopard walking around near Giraffe’s Nest. I was watching elephant bulls a couple of hundred metres away, but with Angie and Goodman having found the wild dogs in the central regions, I opted to head there first instead. It wasn’t overly busy as I made my way down there, but we arrived as the pack was approaching Lion Pan – they skipped the water and carried on north, getting more distracted by giraffes and zebras that they paid a curious attention too, but with the day hotting up, they soon settled in a mopane thicket and we left them to go and enjoy some coffee at Mbali Dam (you can tell that I am enjoying this spot!!!). Inkanye had come to rest a few hundred metres south of Giraffe’s Nest, so I made my way towards her and passed some elephant bulls digging in the Sohebele riverbed for water before arriving at the leopard that was super chilled with the vehicles this morning, and she lay in the shade of a weeping wattle but showed no sign of wanting to move off, so with our morning drive near an end, we headed back to the lodge, sadly not having found my one set of guests lions or elephant – but at least we came right with the wild dogs today!
My last afternoon was a very enjoyable one, and with lions still being on the agenda, and knowing that tracks for the Machimba male lions had headed eastwards towards Scholtz, I thought I would have a chilled afternoon in the north and east, maybe getting lucky with lions later. I began with a couple of elephants near our lodge and followed it up with bushbuck, impala, waterbuck, crocodiles, and nice hippos at Argyle Dam. Moving to the east, we found a small herd of zebras and another hippo before locating a small herd of elephants feeding on the lush grass growth in the east – Brad had commented that he hadn’t seen any sign of life here this morning, and this just proved how game viewing is about luck. We stopped for a drink overlooking a large pool in the Sohebele riverbed and the elephants came to have a drink, but it was the roaring lions to our south-east that made us pack away quickly! Would they roar again, and were they still within our concession? Difference thought not, so I headed to our southern boundary to see if they would roar again, and if so, were they on our side of the invisible boundary? The answer was soon a resounding yes – not resounding in the loudness of the roar, but the fact that they were actually much deeper into our area than either Difference or I thought. We made our way back to an intersection where I thought the might be, and after a few minutes of sitting in silence, the booming roars came from our south, and not far away at all. We drove down the road, and for the first time I believed that we would be finding them; but Difference and I again had a difference of option as to where the roars were coming from. Luckily, I am often wrong, and we went to where Diff said they would be, and he was almost 100 percent right; there, lying in an open area next to the road, the two gorgeous Machimba male lions! We spent time watching them, but they kept flopping over, but soon one of the males sat up again, yawned a few times and started wandering off…it was then that he began roaring, and this was soon followed by his partner’s roar emanating from only 10m away from us – the stereo sound of their roars was just magic, and with big smiles and high fives going around, we made our way back to the lodge for a wonderful last evening with the guests. Goya Rd male leopard had been chased up a tree on our western boundary by the wild dogs in the late evening, and Ntima male leopard was also seen crossing the western boundary into Klaserie.
My last morning was done in a light drizzle, and despite everyone missing out on lions last night, they were lucky enough to see the two Sumatra male lions resting near a herd of buffalo in the west this morning. I stayed away, had no luck finding rhinos or signs of the Western Pride in the north, but did see some elephants, hippos, impalas, and a large but very nervous male leopard that had killed an adult impala, but after we saw the kill, he came back and moved it; we saw him walking away from the kill past a herd of impalas, but opted not to follow him as he clearly didn’t want company. It was quiet drive to end off the cycle on, but considering how nice my work cycle had been, I was not complaining.
Until next time