Tuesday, 21 April 2009

20th April – Sohebele Male!

It was a rather warm day today, but a productive one for us. I was once again not out on the morning drive, but Godfrey and Andrew were. The highlight of the morning for them must have been seeing the Sohebele male still alive and well in our eastern sector. One of the other guides had found him early in the morning, and needless to say it caused some great excitement to go and see the old king of the Timbavati. He is looking a bit thin and still limping with his back legs, but overall, he is looking pretty good, especially for a lion that a month ago we thought was dead!

Herald found an impala kill for Rockfig and Nkateko just outside out Java camp, seemingly she killed it close to the camp, but the hyenas ate quite a bit of the kill before Rockfig somehow got it back. There was consequently not a great deal of meat left, but Andrew did get to see the leopards feeding in the morning. One guide followed up on the duiker kill from yesterday but there was no sign of the kill or the leopard, and nobody went to investigate the other impala kill near Voël dam. Up north, Johannes also found Mbali and Kuhanya leopards near Madash dam; seemingly their new favourite hang-out!

I did take a few guests out in the afternoon. We had a herd of eight zebras on our airstrip which was nice to see. I tried to see if I could spot Mbali, but had no luck. Fortunately another guide did manage to find her further east of where she had been this morning, so I headed over there and had an enjoyable sighting of her. She was clearly after something, and moving with a purpose. She eventually jumped up a large marula tree to scout the area, and from her vantage point spotted her target, so jumped down and began the stalk. Her patience and use of cover was impressive to watch; although we couldn’t see what she was after! Eventually the rutting calls of some male impala made us realise what she had seen. It was getting dark and Mbali was just waiting patiently in the grass a good 30m away, so we left her with Godfrey, but nothing came of the hunt.

From the leopard, we headed down towards the Sohebele male who was not far from his earlier position. We did come across a largish herd of buffalo on the way to the lion. As for the lion, well, as in the good old days when he still roamed our central traversing area, Sohebele male just slept! He sat up once for us to show off his glorious mane, he groomed a bit, but soon flopped over in typical lion fashion and didn’t budge again! It might have had something to do with the wind picking up, and perhaps that is why he didn’t roar for us either! Still, a real treat to be able to see him again.

Andrew also saw two elephants, and a bit further south, Herald managed to find Nkateko female leopard a couple of hundred meters away from the kill.

So a good day all in all, and let us just hope that it continues!

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