After welcome hot coffee with rusks in the predawn darkness we set out for our morning game drive. Having seen so much already we were content to simply see what the day would bring, but we did hope for cats. We also decided that our two vehicles should go in different directions so that each vehicle could cover a different area of the reserve.
We found leopard tracks and were just about to start following these when our second vehicle alerted us to the presence of a male leopard. We immediately set off towards that sighting and were distracted when we found a pride of lions. We didn’t tarry for long because they were very inactive and disinclined to move – and we were very keen to reach the male leopard.
What a busy fellow the leopard was. He walked from a dam after a drink, and as he walked he checked and scent-marked his territory. When he spotted a herd of impala he went into hunting mode. This was when we left him, partly because we didn’t want to interfere with his hunt, but more importantly, we received a call about a pack of Wild Dogs not too far distant.
On the way to the dogs we saw plenty of Plains animals again, kudu, zebra, and impala. We hardly stopped for a couple of rhino as we were intent on finding the dogs.
When we reached the Wild Dogs they were lounging around, sprawled across the veld as they soaked up the morning sun.
But that changed in a flash. A warthog family strolled onto the scene and within a split second the dogs were up, and the chase was on. There they went, the dogs after the Warthogs. But wait! It turned around! Now the Warthogs chased the Wild Dogs! We thought that there would be a standoff, but no! The dogs settled down in the grass and went back to sleep while the Warthogs went their peaceful way!
We returned to the Lodge via the lions, but other than yawning and lifting a head occasionally, they continued their morning doze.
We headed back to the lions in the afternoon and found them much closer to the Lodge. They were on an open plain in front of the Lodge, and although they showed some interest in a number of rutting impalas, they didn’t actually hunt. They were just not hungry enough yet.
We moved on to a Leopard with her cub in a tree. However, they were quite obscured by the foliage and although it was great to see the two as they peeped through the leaves, it wasn’t the best sighting for photography.
As darkness fell we returned to the lions to find that the pride had actually killed an impala during our absence. They noise that they made while interacting and feeding attracted a number of hyenas. Nearly twenty hyenas surrounded the lions, and now and again the bush erupted when a lion broke away from the kill to chase hyenas. The drama together with the noise created a really awesome experience!
After so many brilliant sightings again we are back at the Lodge, ready for dinner, and thinking that the morning may find us back at the lion kill …