As planned we again headed straight to the Marula tree with the impala kill to catch up on Shadow and Tingana. Only scraps remained of the kill – a few bones and bits of skin, and there was no sign of either leopard.
While checking the area we heard a lion call and headed in that direction. We didn’t reach the lion because a large dominant male leopard that we had not seen before appeared. He was moving along quite quickly in and out of the bushes.
We followed him for some time, cameras clicking away until he disappeared into thick impenetrable bush.
Soon after our coffee break we met another newcomer. A female leopard that is seldom seen in this area came strolling slowly toward us. She sauntered past and after looking back once or twice she jumped into a ditch and was gone.
This afternoon we found a large herd of elephants right outside the Lodge. Our stop to photograph them was brief because just as we readied our cameras we heard that the Styx Pride of lions was not far away.
The lions were lying sprawled out in the open – on an airstrip.
And just as we settled down to photograph them we heard of another leopard with a fresh kill that he was busy hauling up into a tree.
When we arrived we found that the leopard had managed to drag a young kudu up into the safety of the tree branches. We examined the carcass and saw clear evidence that hyenas had had a go at the kill. We surmised that maybe after the kill the hyenas had stolen the kill and the leopard then waited for his chance to grab it back again. Or maybe he stole it from the hyenas?
His position in the tree was great for us and again we had the chance to fill our memory cards against the beautiful sky before the leopard finished eating and then jumped down for a nap in the long grass.
This was our cue to return to the lions. Right choice! They were starting to move around when we arrived, and as they wandered slowly around the airstrip we managed photographs from all angles and with a variety of lighting techniques.
Our final excitement as we drive back to the Lodge proved to be a Small Spotted Genet. He walked along and then climbed to a lowish branch on a tree where he settled, posing for our eager photography session.
Tomorrow morning we hope to check on the lions again. They were moving around and there is a chance of some action – hopefully early in the morning …