Photo of the Day
1 x leopard (Argyle Male) – Argyle, Marula Crossing/Old Mpisi Khaya Rd
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr’s cub with impala kill) – Argyle, Long Rd
3 x buffalo bulls – Argyle, Sohebele River Rd West
1 x buffalo bull – Argyle, Old Mpisi Khaya Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Peru, Argyle Rd
So this morning was my last drive for the cycle, and after a decidedly quiet three days with my guest, Andrew, I was desperate for rhino; so much so, that last night in the lion sighting I had made a bet with him. To cut a long story short, over the last few days it had come out that I was extremely fussy, and this was no more evident than when it came to drinking tea, and the fact that I only ever drank tea at home, from my own cups, and tea made my mother. This level of fussiness was of great amusement to him, and seemingly everyone else for that matter. Anyway, in a stupid move, I suggested that if I was unable to find a rhino on his last drive, I would drink any cup of tea of his choice.
Being confident I would find a rhino (or maybe not!), I set off on the morning drive hoping to upset all the staff back at the lodge who were dying to see me drink a cup of tea (I mean, really???). Thankfully I had Herald out with me, so we started off checking in the north, and he soon told me he had fresh leopard tracks near the airstrip, so fresh in fact that they were on top of rhino tracks! I was half interested in the leopard tracks, but far more so in the rhino tracks, so immediately started checking the area.
They headed towards Argyle Dam, then turned back north. I started tracking. Herald in the mean time had found fresher leopard tracks, and a drag mark and followed it to find a baby impala in a tree, but sadly it was one of Argyle Jnr’s cubs that ran off as he approached. Argyle Jnr’s tracks were around in the area, but she was nowhere to be seen; needless to say, with the luck I have been having of late, the leopard disappeared before I got there!
I carried on looking for the rhino, who was actually proving difficult to track. We found giraffe, waterbuck, impala, some buffalo bulls and then a radio call to say that there were tracks for Nhlangula male rhino near Nkombi Pan, so I started going to the area to help track, but as I was going through Concrete Crossing, I got word that the tracks headed straight back west into Klaserie. Suddenly I could taste the tea.
A smile was brought to my face when Herald radioed to tell me he had found another leopard; this time Argyle male sleeping up a marula tree not far from where the first leopard had been seen. I immediately headed in his direction, only to be told he then climbed down the tree – surely something had to go my way, but it clearly wasn’t going to be today! Fortunately as I got closer he climbed another tree, so I got to see him sleeping up that marula for a few minutes before he thought it would be a better idea to climb down and go and sleep under a thick terminalia bush. Seriously, I am getting a complex about these animals the last few days!!!!
|Argyle male leopard|
Anyway, we could see him fairly well, but he was so fat and uncomfortable from clearly having eaten a good meal, that he wasn’t going anywhere, and we left him sleeping under the bush. I rechecked the kill and found that the leopard had returned and moved the kill from the mopane tree to under a bush; clearly she heard it was me who was coming to see her! But I didn’t, so decided to check the east in the hope of avoiding that cup of tea.
Needless to say, there were no rhinos, or indeed anything else for that matter besides some kudu and impala.
I dejectedly made my way back to the lodge to face the fact that I had to put my fussiness aside. So after eating a lovely breakfast, I ended off with a cup of tea. The first I had drunk away from my mother’s kitchen in over 22 years. It was peppermint tea. It was awful. But at least Andrew got to see a far rarer sight than a boring rhino! Hahahaha!