Monday, 29 June 2009

28th June – Good Leopard Viewing Continues…

Last year, the 28th June provided one of my most memorable days game viewing in the Timbavati, with four different leopards seen in the afternoon, including two males up a marula tree fighting over an impala kill, with eight lions underneath it, and a third leopard walking around 50m away! This year, I ‘only’ managed three different leopards during my afternoon drive!

Sunday morning was relatively quiet once again, the cold morning keeping the animals a bit less active. I did manage to tick of giraffe, waterbuck, impala, kudu and hippo, but I really wanted rhino. The southern stations had found Nhlangula male rhino quite far south, but I had a South African guest that had never seen a rhino, so we made the trip down. As the morning warmed up, we saw more impala, a herd of nyala, some more giraffe, and then arrived at the rhino sighting, but Nhlangula still obviously thought it was too early in the day for him to be up, so he pretty much just slept, got up once, but soon returned to the same spot and fell asleep again. Heading back to camp, we saw a herd of zebra and some giraffe drinking at Elephant dam, but there was not a great deal else out there that we saw.

There were a number of animals found late in the morning, including four of the Sohebele sub adult lions, the lost male still not having found the rest of the pride, but no Motswari vehicles responded to this sighting. Johannes tracked and found Mbali female leopard sleeping on a termite mound near Peru dam, and there was another report of a young leopard up north. Andrew also found a large herd of buffalo moving away from Karan’s camp towards Mbali dam.

The afternoon was once again somewhat better. It started with six bull elephants on the Motswari soccer field, no doubt looking for some opponents! There was then a small herd of elephants near our airstrip, and some fair general game in the form of impala and waterbuck. I found another herd of elephants that were slowly making there way towards Mbali dam, where a large croc was basking outside the water. The herd then went and drank below the dam wall, and while watching them, we saw a Pied Kingfisher catch a fish, and Mbali female leopard came wandering along the reeds and up to the dam wall on the opposite bank!

It was not possible to get to her position, but it didn’t really matter, as at the same time, Godfrey found Kuhanya, Mbali’s daughter, walking around near Madash dam. We went and had a look at her, before moving on to see the large herd of buffalo that I had missed out on in the morning. We spotted them on the other side of the Nhlarulumi, and as we were driving around, about 100m from the buffalo, we had a quick sighting of our third leopard of the day, a slightly nervous male leopard that soon moved into the reeds and was lost. The buffalo herd was feeding in a nice area, but soon darkness fell and we left them. Although the Sohebele sub adults were still in the same spot as this morning, we did not go and see them. Herald did manage to find the lost young male lion near Java camp, still looking for the rest of his pride, lets hope he finds them soon!
Heading back to camp, we also found a large hippo grazing outside of the water at the empty Sohebele dam.

So all-in-all, not a bad day at all in the Timbavati!

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