Saturday, 10 November 2012

9th November – Luckless Leopards

Photo of the Day

Zebras on a grey morning

Morning Drive
(Chad, Marka and Shadrack)
1 x leopard (Nthombi’s boy) – Vielmetter, Steep Sharalumi
12 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Steep Sharalumi

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Marka and Shadrack)
2 x lions (Mabande male and unknown female) – Jaydee, Tchwala Rd
2 x rhinos
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Argyle, Piva Plains
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Western Cutline

Daily Synopsis
Heading out on Friday Morning, the last animal I was worried about finding was a leopard – after all, we had two the kills of two leopards stashed safely up in trees, so surely one would show itself.  I immediately headed to our northern boundary to follow up on the impala kill there, but got a bit waylaid by a nice herd of impala and zebras on the airstrip.


Arriving at the carcass, we saw that a leopard had been there feeding on it, but just as last night, there was no leopard...never fear, Makepisi was sure to be around, but on hearing that his kill was also gone, I suddenly felt a bit glum!

We stopped to have a bush walk, and enjoyed some of the smaller aspects of the bush, as well as some hippos and steenbuck as we walked around before arriving at our vehicle without Petros!  He had gone off to track lions with Patrick, so I climbed aboard and carried on to view waterbuck, impala and baboons on Piva Plains.  I also heard that Mbali had been relocated, but was left an open loc, but despite checking the whole area, I failed to find her; the only spots I did find was that large group of male giraffes on Sohebele Plains.


Driving the area more, we just saw antelopes, but not the big finish I was hoping for; the only good news for the afternoon was that Andrea and Jacky had managed to track down the mating lions near Makulu Dam, so at least there was something for my new guests in the afternoon.

Heading out with them, we once more went straight north to check on the leopard kill, but besides impala and steenbuck and a now almost completely finished carcass – clearly consumed by a phantom leopard – there wasn't much about, so I headed to Argyle Dam; there it picked up, and we enjoyed a crocodile out the water, hippos, impalas and loads of waterbuck.

The highlight of the day came on Piva Plains where we sat with a wonderfully relaxed herd of elephants as they fed on the clearing, even with a bull in musthe.  The one elephant came to within a metre of us, and no photos or description can do such a sighting justice – it was pretty awesome!

Awesome elephant sighting on Piva Plains...and not such an awesome sighting of an impala kill

Leaving the elephants, impalas and waterbuck, we went to check for Mbali, but again only found giraffe spots!

Hippos, giraffes, waterbuck, lilac breasted roller and an elephant bull in musthe

The lions had been relocated, but the visual was 1 out of 5 at best, so I hung back, hoping it would improve; we continued to see baboons, impalas and waterbuck as we went before closing for a drink in the slightly gloomy weather.

Fish eagle with a catfish head

On resuming, I heard that the lions were now in the Nhlaralumi riverbed, so the visual had improved and I made my way there...but sadly, the lions got mobile east, and there had been no forward planning to get a vehicle on the other side and the lions were lost...this was rather disappointing as I drove back to the lodge wondering if more lions would pitch up tomorrow?  Pondering this on the route home, we passed impala, wildebeest and another herd of elephants!

Dave took Andrea and Jade out on a bumble in the south, deep south that is...and what a bumble! They found three leopards and two herds of rhinos, got to see the wonderfully active hyena den down there, elephants and buffalo...not bad for a staff bumble!

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