9 May – Evening Drive

We started our drive with a sighting of elephant. We then watched a fairly large journey of giraffe. We were momentarily distracted by a male bushbuck in the riverbed, but the giraffe brought our attention back to them when some of them went down for a drink in some of the small pools. Our day ended with the sighting of a male lion.

10 May – Morning Drive

We started the day with two giraffes “necking”. It is an amazing display to watch and sometimes the sounds are loud as they smack into each other. We then came across a leopard walking in the road. It then moved into the bush where it lay down. After a while it stood up again and then moved deeper into the bush, so we moved on. After stopping for drinks at the river, we saw some buffalo before coming across another leopard. This one was lying in the grass. We ended the drive on a high – a whole herd of wildebeest and some zebra! Although, I must add that we seem to be seeing both species in the Western Block with a little more regularity of late.

Other sightings: impala and tree squirrel
Birds: helmeted guineafowl and little bee-eaters

10 May – Evening Drive

The drive was quiet in terms of cats, but we did see monkeys, impala, rhino, some hippo displaying in the water and elephant.

11 May – Morning Drive

Our first sighting of the day was rhino. We followed this up with a leopard in a tree. Then we saw wildebeest and zebra again. A herd of buffalo was next, with plenty of young calves in their midst. There were also red-billed oxpeckers galore.

11 May – Evening Drive

This was a very quiet drive – the highlight being a young bull kudu.

12 May – Morning Drive

We started the day with a pride of lions – 2 sets of 2 cubs and 2 females. One of the younger cubs had an open sore on its head. The rangers were apparently all really surprised that it had survived to this age already. They were walking in the road, and the cubs were playing with each other and then pouncing on their mothers every now and again. We spent a fair amount of time with them. Once we moved off, we saw elephant.

12 May – Evening Drive

We had an extremely quiet drive. But we at least could enjoy the bush…

13 May – Morning Drive

Our first course of action was to look for some leopard tracks. We found a rhino sleeping beside an anthill and then carried on with our leopard tracking. While doing so, we found a female lion. She kept walking up to trees and sniffing, looking all around. But eventually she gave up on what she thought she had smelled and settled down to rest in the grass. We were radioed and told of a leopard sighting. We took a standby, but cancelled it for another closer sighting of a leopard that gave us a standby too. Our tracker was however convinced that there was leopard in the block and he convinced the ranger to let him walk through the block, meeting us on the other side. We were barely around the corner when he radioed us and asked us to fetch him quickly as he was being hissed at by a very unhappy female leopard! We went to fetch him and then found her. She called and a male cub climbed down a tree and ran to join her. He seemed very happy to be re-united with his mother. The mother kept calling and eventually a female cub appeared too. We can only surmise that they had all hidden in trees to avoid the lioness and that it was in fact them that she (the lioness) was smelling earlier. It also explains the leopard’s reaction to the tracker. First it was cleaning time and then the cubs went exploring, but not too far. They also started playing with each other. They eventually included Mom in the game, but she just used it as time to do a little more cleaning! While we were watching the leopards, we found a really small, bright green frog on the dashboard. It was about the size of a thumbnail. We also watched a yellow-billed hornbill sitting on top of an anthill. What a morning to end our trip!