Leadwood Lodge – October 2008

When we arrived at the lodge we were shown to our room, no 1. We found a bushbuck drinking from our pool!

Ranger: Mac

20 October – Evening Drive

We started off with a view of a crocodile as we crossed the river and then some giraffe. We went up to a viewpoint on the river where we climbed out and stood on the rocks to watch some hippo swimming in a really small, churned up and dirty pool below. Water of the right depth was scarce so they were forced to group together and they themselves were responsible for the dirty water! We spent some time watching them and then had drinks in the same spot. While we were there we also saw a purple heron.

21 October – Morning Drive

We found the Sand River pride of lions on the rocks in the riverbed. There were 2 females and a number of cubs. We spent some time with them and then moved on to find a rhino with a calf.

Birds: white-fronted bee-eaters and green-backed heron

21 October – Evening Drive

We started our drive with a leopard that was sleeping. This was followed up with a sighting of 3 of the Mapogo lions. As we drove down towards one of the gates, we saw some vultures and the remains of an elephant carcass (that we had seen on a previous trip too).

Other sightings: male nyala with female harem
Birds: helmeted guineafowl and purple heron

22 October – Morning Drive

Our morning started before we even got on the vehicle. We were still in our room and we could here something crying/calling. Terry went out onto our balcony and he could see a frog between the slats of the verandah. He called me to look at the frog. We thought that it was so “fat” that it had got stuck. Terry decided to help it, but as he pulled it out he realised that it was attached to the mouth of a very thin snake. He dropped the frog and got out of the way quickly. It was an eventful start to the day.

Once we were actually on the vehicle, we saw a male waterbuck and followed this up with another leopard sighting. There were actually two leopards that had been mating. They were lying in the grass sleeping. We sat with them for a while and one of them decided to sit up and start washing.

Other sightings: herd of impala
Birds: green pigeons, white-backed vultures, cape glossy starling and lilac-breasted roller

22 October – Evening Drive

We had a quiet drive, the highlights of which were: waterbuck, elephant and nyala grooming.

23 October – Morning Drive

We saw a hyena with a really bloody face, making off with some scavenged bones. It seemed to be looking for a place to hide it but nothing seemed to suit its needs. We then came across some male lions – the Mapogo – sleeping in the road. This was followed up by a leopard in a tree. It was Wally. Finally, we saw some giraffe “necking”.

Once we got back to camp, Mac took Terry and I out to look for a honey-guide. He had asked to look at our bird list to see if he could help us with any lifers and he knew where to find a lesser honey-guide (L). We went out past the sewerage plant to see if he could find any other birds for us, but it was very quiet. He then took us to a large tree on a small hillock and called in the bird. We were thrilled to see it.

23 October – Evening Drive

The evenings seemed to be much quieter than the mornings. On this drive we saw a bachelor herd of impala and a group of 6 rhino all lying together sleeping.

24 October – Morning Drive

We started the morning with a sighting of giraffe. We then saw some zebra, with a young foal. Later we encountered a pride of lions.

Other sightings: dwarf mongoose and water monitor
Birds: yellow-billed hornbills

24 October – Evening Drive

We decided to work our way to the river so that we could have drinks there during the sunset. Later on we joined a sighting of a leopard sleeping in a tree. I was sitting in the front seat of the vehicle and Mac had the spotlight. Eventually I was surrounded by hundreds of beetles – they were at my feet, climbing over me, and going up sleeves, pants legs and down my neckline. But I was very good – I shuddered regularly but I did not complain!

25 October – Morning Drive

We started our drive with a sighting of the lion pride. One cub was playing with a stick. The lions then took a short walk down the road, before settling on a sandy bank. They then got up again, crossed the road and moved off deeper into the bush. We moved on as we believed that they would be looking for a shady area to sleep. We then encountered a leopard lying in the long grass/bush on the side of the road. It also got up and moved into the road, this time walking towards us. After a short distance, it too moved off into the deeper bush.

Other sightings: buffalo

When we got back to our room to pack our things, we found the bushbuck drinking at our pool again…