I didn’t drive on Sunday, but the guides got to see the Nhlangula male rhino and a breeding herd of buffalo during both morning and evening drives. Monday morning saw the same male rhino being found again near Sweetwater pan, and two of the young Sohebele sub adult male lions were also seen on the western bank of Peru dam, in the same place they were found last week.
I returned to drive on Monday afternoon, and was told that the Timbavati males were found in the south on Cheetah plains. I decided to head down south after seeing some nice impala, kudu, zebra and giraffe in the north. The other Motswari guides stayed up north, and Johannes found the Sohebele lioness and one of the young male lions walking across Vyboom dam wall to the east. There were also a few buffalo bulls nearby, but the lions paid no attention to them. Elsewhere, the other two young Sohebele male lions were found sleeping a bit west of where they had been in the morning, and got mobile to the west in the evening, spotted some kudu, but didn’t put a great deal of effort into stalking them, instead they went to sleep again and were left on their own. Some of the guides also had a brief sighting of Mbali female leopard, when she was once again found along the banks of the Nhlarulumi riverbed at the southern end of Peru dam, but sadly she was hunting some bushbuck in a very steep drainage line, and the visual was not very good.
Down south I saw a few more zebras, a lone hyena that picked up a piece of wood and walked off with it, giraffe and then down to see the Timbavati male lions, except that there was only one lion there! I was a bit disappointed, but not for too long, as after dark he awoke from his slumber and started grooming and yawning, and then got up and wandered down towards the Machaton riverbed and started roaring for his brother! We left him and headed home.
Tuesday morning saw some god general game being seen, with a number of bachelor herds of male kudus, waterbuck, giraffe and plenty of impala being seen. Attempts at tracking leopards in the north proved fruitless, but one young Sohebele lioness was found resting on a termite mound west of Peru dam. Giyani found a large herd of buffalo, perhaps 250-300 individuals, but I watched them as they crossed the Timbavati access road to the west, and into Klaserie.
I also went a bit further south to go and have a look at the Nhlangula male rhino who had been found grazing in the area east of Cole’s plains. I arrived as he was feeding in a bit of a clearing, and as always, he had found a dead tree and was trying his best to eat pieces of dried wood!
In the afternoon, we had one mission, to find some leopard! As it turned out, there were two leopards found! Giyani and his Java guests went to go and see Nkateko female leopard who was found wandering around to the west of Vielmetter camp, and from all accounts was looking in good condition. I would have loved to have gone down to see her as I haven’t seen this little beauty for almost seven weeks now! I however used decided to stay closer to home and go and view Mbali female leopard after Johannes found her wandering around to the west of Mvubu crossing. As only five vehicles were active in the north, and I was the last to arrive, we got to spend an hour watching this amazing leopard. She had been wandering around scent marking earlier in the afternoon, but had moved down onto the banks of the Nhlarulumi by the time arrived, and she lay watching some impala on the other side of the riverbed. We had time on our side and waited patiently until she eventually got up and wandered back up the bank, right past our vehicle and then carried on moving about looking for a meal. We followed her for about 20 minutes, but left her as she spotted something in Mvubu crossing and went running around to get a closer look. The thick sedge meant that we lost visual, but it didn’t matter much as we had a great sighting in any case!
Other than the leopard which occupied most of our afternoon, we did not have a great deal of luck with other game. We did still however manage to tick of some nice kudu, warthog, impala, a large herd of waterbuck, and some giraffe. Elliot also had some nice giraffe near lion pan, but other members of the Big 5 alluded us! Our night watchman reported seeing a young female leopard in camp around midnight, and she was seen wandering around our breakfast verandah before moving towards the waterhole and off into the night. I am pretty sure it was Shongile female leopard.