Friday, 5 June 2009

04th June – Mbali, Kuhanya and Argyle Male Leopards

I am still not on drive, it is relatively quiet at the camp, but the game seems to be pretty good. Over the last two days, there has been at least two buffalo herds on the property, and on Thursday afternoon there was a herd of about 100-150 on our airstrip, while in the morning, Giyani saw a bigger herd in the south.

Elephant sightings also appear to be quite good, with a good number of bull elephants and a couple of breeding herds about. There were five bull elephants hanging around the camp on Thursday evening. Unfortunately the rhinos have not been that co-operative, and although Johannes found two together this morning, they sounded to be rather nervous and eventually moved into some thick bush and were not relocated. The lions have not been overly active either, although they have been heard calling, the last sighting was of the three Mahlathini males on Wednesday morning, when they were followed from Argyle dam, past Sohebele dam, and were left going towards Karans camp trough. Giyani and Johannes commented on how relaxed they seemed, and that the lions walked within a couple of meter of the vehicle on numerous occasions during the sighting – and that is some really pleasing news!

The best sightings over the last couple of days have belonged to the leopards. On Wednesday morning, Giyani found a large female leopard that was semi-relaxed around the vehicle, and given some space, she was fine. I would assume that this was the Argyle Jnr female that had been around camp over the last few days. Wednesday morning also saw Mbali and Kuhanya being seen with a fresh impala kill that lasted them two days, although the most surprising thing was finding the large Argyle male leopard feeding on their kill on Thursday morning with the two female leopards (Kuhanya is his the daughter of Argyle male) not far off. While on bush work after breakfast, I did see Kuhanya near the impala kill, but no sign of the Argyle male. After doing our work and heading home, I did find Mbali sleeping in the middle of the road some distance from the kill, and that was a pleasant surprise which made my bush work more fun (actually had a good drive, saw kudu, waterbuck, impala, baboon, elephant, giraffe, vultures feeding on a dead giraffe, zebra and two different leopards!). There was another leopard drinking in front of the lodge on Wednesday evening just before the game drives returned to camp, and the same leopard was also seen walking past the staff village a bit later that night. The monkeys had been alarm calling near the camp in the morning, and we all suspected that there was a leopard that they could see, and this just proved it. I also managed to see one of Argyle Jnr’s young male cubs wandering around on Wednesday afternoon.

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