Thursday, 31 March 2011

30th March – The Return of Argyle Male!

Photo of the Day
Kuhanya - what a great way to start off the drive!
Morning Drive
(Chad, Elliot and Johannes)
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female) – Motswari, Hanger Rd
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Argyle Rd

Afternoon Drive
1 x leopard (Argyle Male with impala kill) – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom Dam
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female) – Motswari, Bush Camp Rd (Chad and Grant saw this on a private drive)
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Crossing Below Vyeboom Dam (Chad and Grant saw this on a private drive)
1 x elephant bull – De Luca, Western Cutline (Chad and Grant saw this on a private drive)
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Karans, Ingwe Drive

Daily Synopsis
Wednesday was my last drive for the cycle, and a shortened one as my guests were checking out early, as were Elliot’s.  Johannes and I got out of camp 15 minutes early, and I went to check around the lodge for Kuhanya leopardess.  There was no sign of her north of the lodge, so I came back to the airstrip and stopped to watch an impala ram to tell me guests about an old saying about the African bush...basically it goes that “every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle... when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.”
I was half way through the story about being an antelope that needed to run to stay alive when the herd suddenly burst out into a chorus of alarm calls 50m from us!  I instantly knew there was a leopard around, and after a few minutes of searching, we found Kuhanya casually strolling along, scent-marking as she went.

After following her for a few minutes, she did something I have never seen her do before; crossed out boundary into Ingwelala – our neighbouring reserve.  I went around to see if she would pop out on Argyle property (she was right in the corner of the “wedge-shaped” boundary, and just as we spotted her, a hyena popped up heading towards Motswari, and conveniently chased Kuhanya back onto our property where we managed to relocate her and follow her for a while longer until she was lost moving along the riverbed.
Kuhanya strolling along the Sohebele Riverbed towards Motswari Camp
The hyena was going to join a small pack that Elliot had found nearby on our airstrip, and I continued with my drive.  We saw the usual impala, hippos, good birds and a herd of zebra and even a giraffe, but didn’t find any sign of Argyle male leopard; this fact annoyed me more when I later heard he was located with a large impala kill in a tree right next to a road we had driven on earlier!
Also frustrating was finding fresh tracks for that small pack of wild dogs, only to follow them straight west off the property.
I wasn’t on official drive in the evening, and Johannes was out alone, but he got to see Argyle male leopard, as well as a large breeding herd of buffalo.
Despite my afternoon off, I joined some friends for a drive at Ingwelala (clearly Kuhanya has not got traversing there!) and did actually get to see Argyle male leopard myself, albeit from 100m away as he had his kill not too far from the Ingwelala boundary.  In addition, we saw a couple of elephant bulls on the Motswari side of the Ingwelala boundary, some giraffe, baboons and impala. 
We decided to go and check our Motswari to see if Kuhanya was around, and on a hunch tried the Old Bush Camp Site, and sure enough found Kuhanya resting 7m off the road!  We spent a few minutes with her until she got up and headed in the direction of a herd of impalas near the airstrip and chose to leave her in peace – so even for me on my afternoon off, I got spoilt with some good sightings!
Both Grant and I are off drive for a few days, but we will keep you posted on what the other guides are seeing out there over the next few days!


  1. I'm totally in love with your blog! Stumbled upon it because of following Kruger Park on Facebook. Love all the beautiful pictures you show us. Thank you so much! These animals seem to pose for you. Will keep following you!

  2. Going to miss you both.... Enjoy your break from driving. Again, thank you for always capturing the "soul" of your animals - it makes them so much more than "just another leopard", or whatever you are aiming your camera at.