30 May 2017

Tuesday was a rather nippy start to the day and we began slowly by checking the area where we believe the Western Pride had left their cubs, but didn’t find any tracks, so we moved out of the area.  I had been tempted to go and see the hyena clan eating a baby giraffe in the west, but with it drawing more vehicle attention than I like, I decided to rather head south, and whilst the first hour and a half were rather quiet, once arriving south, things picked up; besides impalas and some birding, we also got to see a nice couple of groups of nays along the Machaton riverbed before arriving to find one of the Machimba male lions resting next to the buffalo kill – the vultures were still waiting patiently for their turn.  Heading towards Makulu Dam, we saw more nyala, impala and some hippos as we stopped for coffee – it was there that we were surprised by a herd of elephants that suddenly arrived to drink about 70m away.  Johannes had found some rhinos further south, so we angled in that direction, but when we heard that Nthombi female leopard had also been seen in the south, we rerouted to include her in our plans – they were then partially thwarted as a very large herd of 50 odd elephants blocked the road, and we passed impala, zebra and wildebeest as we headed towards where Nthombi was last seen, and luckily for us, we managed to relocate her resting up a marula tree in typical leopard fashion.  After posing for a while, she descended the tree and moved off, so we left her to it.  The trip home was a long one and didn’t include much besides impala and steenbuck and another lone elephant, but we had enjoyed a good drive, so we were happy with our efforts.

After the long drive of the morning, my afternoon was much more subdued, and we enjoyed ourselves in the north with some elephant bulls at Argyle Dam; there were also bushbuck, nyala, hippo, crocodile and impalas in the surrounds too.  We pushed west and found a small herd of elephants, followed by a larger group that we spent some nice time with, enjoying the one young male chasing off a giraffe that we had been enjoying until then!  After that, we decided to try the hyena den, and although there were no adults present, we did enjoy the five cubs out and about, playing with one another, chewing twigs and being very curious with our Land Rover!  Shortly after leaving the den, we found yet another herd of elephants before unpacking our drinks to enjoy the closing minutes of another day.  The drive home in the dark was enjoyable with impala, a few chameleons, porcupine, kudu, waterbuck and some zebras being passed along the way.  Further south, the guides enjoyed what will likely be the last drive with the Machimba male lions on their buffalo kill, a herd of buffalo, and also some guides went far south to see Nthombi female leopard after she was found again near King’s Camp.