Thought I'd give you a quick update before going on my weeks leave. Always apprehensive to go as I hate missing out on anything, especially now that the White Lions are back in the area! If you missed out on the previous blog, the White Lions have returned in true style, with us finding them feeding on our now even scarcer Zebra population. The morning started out a little unusual as all of us headed to the West, this meant that nobody was checking the East which at least one vehicle usually covers. The morning drive was filled with Elephant and Buffalo sightings and it seemed you couldn't drive around a corner without bumping into them. The highlight of the morning though was to go to the sighting of Shangula, a large male Rhino, with a female and her young. This pulled us further to the West. On returning we used the Eastern side as an alternative route home this is where we came across Lion tracks within three kilometres of camp. The first thing that popped into our minds was that we should have found these when we set out. At first glance the tracks were somewhat confusing as it looked like they were for a large pride of females. So returning to camp a little confused we organised a tracking team to follow up as soon as possible after brunch, as we had an entire morning to catch up and what looked like a long afternoon ahead. So I was surprised to find the trackers back by the time I had finished my morning walk, “that was awfully quick!” They all looked like they had swallowed canaries, and as much as they tried to lead me to believe they had found nothing, their body language said different and it was not long before they couldn't hold it back any more and spilt the beans that they had found the White Lions. At first I did not believe them and I don't think they could believe it themselves, even though they had seen them! They were not far from were we had seen the tracks and the reason they had not travelled a great distance was because they had killed themselves an adult Zebra. Waiting for afternoon drive was a killer, but it finally came round and we got our chance to welcome them back. It was great to find them all in good condition and looking extremely healthy, a far cry from the condition they had left in, a month prior. It did not take them long to finish off the Zebra, a day and a half to be precise, think they have learnt to feed quickly if they don't want to attract any unwanted attention.
It's strange how nature works, as the following morning after finding the White Lions, we found the Mahlatini Males, their arch enemies, not very far to the South of them heading North. It appears they have fed too if their bellies are anything to go by, no doubt a buffalo, as the region we found them in has buffalo herds moving through it on a regular basis. Should they start roaring in the South, the White Lions will definitely move back to the North, as they will do anything to avoid a confrontation.
Another unusual sighting and something that had to be seen to be believed was Zankumi, Rockfig Jnr's cub at Hide Dam. When the report came in that they had found her in the Hide at Hide Dam, I thought I'd heard wrong and that they merely used the Hide as a reference for ease of location. Checking my hearing hadn't failed me, I started to head in the Hides direction to confirm. As we approached the area we came across a large herd of Buffalo making their way away from the dam, obviously having just drunk. As I was the only one that knew why we had come to the dam, my guests were so busy taking in the sight of the buffalo engulfing us they failed to notice the little leopard standing on its hind legs peering over the railing from the Hide. After pointing her out it was as if, “what Buffalo.” Not to sure what was going through her head, but from her appearance she was not intimidated in the least and it was as if she was overwhelmed by the selection of choice at the lunch buffet spread before her. As the buffalo cleared the area she slowly moved down the stairs constantly checking her surroundings, once she gave it the all clear she quickly moved to the ground and made her way to the waters edge.
Whilst drinking there came the distinctive rasping call of a Leopard from behind the dam wall. She didn't need a second invitation and ran round the wall to meet mom, always a special sighting when they reunite. They both proceeded back to the dam where mom set about quenching her thirst while Zankumi optimistically chased Sand grouse as they prepared to land for their ritual evening drink. This was also our cue to head off and quench our own thirsts.
Well............. that's a wrap folks! We'll catch you in little over a week, no doubt exciting things will happen while I'm away, but I guess I can't complain, can I!