At last the wind started to die down, and Tuesday proved to be a much better day in the bush, although still not as busy as we had become accustomed to during the last couple of months – hopefully the drying conditions of the bush are not going to have too much of an impact on the game viewing? That being said, it was a very good day – we started drive to hear that Ntima male leopard had already been located resting the Nhlaralumi riverbed in the north, and he soon went west and settled in a marula tree, whilst Shongile female leopard was still to the north of the camp near her kudu kill, but she was yet again walking around calling for the cub, so she didn’t draw much attention from the guides. I too a very easy drive in the north that started with a tiny scrub hare and slowly worked its way up with us enjoying sightings of impala, waterbuck, kudu, a lone buffalo bull, a hippo and crocodile at Buffalo pan and then a couple of nice and relaxed elephant bulls just south of the pan as the fed in the morning light with dark clouds in the background, making for some lovely scenery. We carried on towards where Ntima was resting in the tree and spent some time with him, but as he was not in any mood to be active, we soon left him – not even a passing giraffe was enough to cause him to stir! Heading towards the banks of Mbali dam for a coffee, we passed more waterbuck and hippo, as well as some kudu along the riverbed. On route home, we had a relaxed male giraffe, more nice birds, water monitors and crocodiles along the Nhlaralumi, a big group of male giraffes around a small dam, impala, more giraffe and zebra, and some steenbuck before closing down at the lodge for a welcome breakfast.
In the afternoon, I had some new arrivals and we opted to have an easy afternoon in the north, and in fact, we didn’t even leave the immediate vicinity of the lodge the whole drive. Before I had even found a shady spot to stop and give the new guests a briefing, we were enjoying sightings of a couple of herds of kudu (including a large bull), a herd of impalas and a troop of baboons entertaining themselves along the banks of the Sohebele river. Moving on we went to see if Shongile leopardess was still around, and upon inspecting her kudu kill, found it to be still there, but with no sign of the leopard. We bumbled about the north for a bit longer, doing some birding and spotting a large elephant way off in the distance. Upon trying the carcass again, we found Shongile resting close by, and once again, calling for her cub. She got up and moved off, and we lost her temporarily but soon picked her up again and followed to a small pan of water where she quenched her thirst, although it was interrupted by some terrapins that she took exception too and hissed a disapproving snarl in their direction. She was up and down for a bit before moving to a rocky outcrop, still calling for the cub sporadically, but there was no answer coming, and no cub coming out of hiding. We left her to it and went and stopped for a drink. After dark, we checked for any signs of nocturnal life around the lodge, but ended up just enjoying the stars for a while on a beautiful moonless evening before heading back to camp after another enjoyable day. Elsewhere this afternoon there were some buffalo bulls and a few elephants in the north, a couple of skittish rhino in the south, but not a great deal else going on…and we are starting to forget what lions look like! Maybe tomorrow our luck changes!