20 May 2017

Saturday was yet another chilly start to the day and saw me with yet another rhino-finding mission on my guests’ last drive; the drive began with some of the guides following up on Shongile female leopard who had spent the whole night calling in front of the lodge, but as seems to be typical of late, her tracks were followed until they crossed into Ingwelala.  I enjoyed some impala and waterbuck before we found two hyenas on the prowl as they crossed the Sohebele onto Piva Plains.  Whilst watching some kudus a few minutes later, the alarm calls of impala followed by a leopard’s rasping call let us know that another individual was not too far off, so we did a little detour, and after finding the alarm calling culprits, it wasn’t long before we found the leopard responsible for the panic – it was Inkanye female leopard, and she was looking in great shape, but was she was on a mission of note and dragged us through some very thick bush before we lost sight of her before the other guides could see her.  Johanne had found three leopards together near Java, but sadly the female that the two males were courting was nervous and moved off, which didn’t help.  Fresh rhino tracks were crossed off the property to the west, so it wasn’t looking good for us, but we decided to try anyway, and late in the morning Difference spotted some fresh rhino tracks, and whilst we enjoyed a coffee, he tracked – much to everyone’s delight, when we got mobile after coffee, he radioed to say that he had found the rhino, so we went and had a little look-see before making the trip back to the lodge chuffed with our morning’s efforts.  Elephant bulls and herds were also seen in the north this morning, but there was no sign of any lions around.

Having not headed east for a while, it became my venue for the afternoon safari, and whilst it wasn’t very productive out in the east, I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent in solitude there; we ticked off impala, warthogs, some nice birds, and a lovely sun downer stop spent with a group of cooperative hippos.  After dark, we stopped to photograph some stars, and it was then that we heard Xiviti male leopard roaring east of the river where we had spent the afternoon checking for him, but with time running out, we couldn’t follow up; luckily, after seeing a chameleon and not much else, we managed to find Inkanye female leopard again as she resumed her morning mission (presumably in search of a male) and she was walking with purpose to the south when we eventually lost her to the darkness and made a move for the lodge; earlier in the afternoon Brad had found her coming out of the same block we lost her in during the morning, but the story repeated itself and she was again lost moving through a very thick area towards the Sohebele.