I was driving around Vyboom dam when I was informed of a leopard up a marula tree on the opposite side of the Nhlarulumi riverbed, so I turned around and headed straight over there, finding the female leopard perched beautifully in the tree, with the remains of an impala kill right at the top. From her relaxed manner, I assumed it was Kuhanya, although it was literally 10m from our northern-most boundary, and in an area she doesn’t normally frequent. I left the sighting as she went to the top of the tree to feed, and Johannes pulled in. He then told me it wasn’t Kuhanya, and I said I was sure it was, and bet him a couple of beers on the outcome. After seeing some more giraffe, waterbuck, impala and a troop of baboons, I stopped for some coffee. Once finished, Johannes called me to ask I would like to come and see Kuhanya female leopard, and I knew I would be made to eat my words, as a few minutes later I watched as she casually strolled 2m past my vehicle…which was not the problem…except it was at the same time as the other “Kuhanya” was still feeding on her impala kill a few kilometers away! I was wrong, and the leopard with the impala was indeed Shongile female leopard, daughter of Argyle Jnr.
I didn’t spend a great deal of time with Kuhanya, instead I was quite interested in going to see the three Mahlathini male lions near lion pan, but as usual, they didn’t feel like cooperating, and I had no sooner joined Palence in the sighting when they moved down into the thick reeds and vegetation on the banks of the Nhlarulumi riverbed, and that was the end of our sighting! Not even two nearby giraffe could coax them out.
The afternoon was even better. It started off with a nice herd of nyala, as well as small breeding herd of elephants with a very young baby just north of camp. We also found a lone buffalo bull sleeping on Motswari wedge, but the large herd that had drank in front of the lodge at 2am this morning were not found. Shongile was still feeding on the little bit of meat still left on the impala, and one of her siblings, a young male, was also seen in the area. Johannes found the Sohebele pride of lions not too far away, sleeping in the open. All six pride members were present, but they were still looking very thin and in need of food. I left them moving off into the dark towards Peru dam, and with some luck they will get a meal tonight. Palence bumped into Mbali female leopard at Concrete Crossing a few minutes after leaving the lions, and she then bumped into Johannes who was having sundowners nearby! After my drinks and a few more elephants, I returned to the site of the impala kill, and found the young male leopard up one marula eating the final bits of the kill, with three hyenas wandering around the base of the tree feeding on the numerous scraps that the leopard was gifting them! Shongile was herself in a second marula tree about 30m away, and just staying out of trouble. She got restless and jumped down, but when one of the hyenas came over to inspect, she quickly jumped back up the tree before hissing her displeasure at the hyena! She realized that it would be a long wait, and fell asleep in a perfect leopard pose, not even opening her eyes when we left the sighting half-an-hour later! A clear sign that she is getting more and more relaxed with every sighting!