Another day in the Life of a Game Ranger : 08 April 2017

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Saturday was another good day for me, and not just because my football team won 4-0. It started out with me spending time in the north chasing the sounds of alarm calling antelopes, but without actually finding out what was disturbing either the impalas near the lodge, nor the kudus west of camp. In fact, it was a rather quiet first part of the morning as we searched for signs of rhinos or male lions, but instead found only impalas, and eventually some giraffes and zebras.

The guides active further south found some rhinos, so we angled our way towards them, and the western and southern sections didn't slow us down with sightings as it proved a very quiet trip on the way south, with only a few impala and steenbuck for company. After a cup of coffee, we managed to drive at the rhino sighting, but as the mother and calf were not that relaxed, we had to keep our distance from them; the presence of the male rhino probably didn't help in keeping them calm. We had a nice view, but when they moved off into the bush, we didn't follow.

Fortunately, Nthombi female leopard was found not too far away and we arrived as she was making her way up to wards a rocky outcrop on the banks of the Nhlaralumi; after having a little drink, she descended the rocks and crossed the riverbed to the west, and we left Robynne to go and follow up, as we made our way back towards the lodge, passing a couple of herds of elephants along the way.

In the afternoon, I only had two guests joining for their last drive and we decided to go and check the lesser traversed northern areas, hoping that the Western Pride would make an appearance, as well as that some buffalo would show up. We had no sooner left camp when Andries radioed that he had three buffalo bulls at the pan by the lodge, but we opted to carry on and trust our instincts.
This proved the right decision when we soon found tracks for a pride of lions that left the road, and with no tracks leaving the block, I knew we were close and left Difference on foot to follow up. We had found a buffalo herd crossing one of the riverbeds on our northern boundary, and as Diff was tracking, he found where the lions had killed and finished off a baby buffalo last night or this morning, and not far away, he and Patrick found the pride resting off their meal; when they eventually got mobile we could see that it was only the three young males and not the four female that had fed well, but regardless, the pride marched as one towards a pan where they all had a drink before settling down and we left them to it and headed back towards the lodge, scratching around for Shongile but coming up empty handed. We did spend time with the fireflies and then made our way home. Robynne had great luck in the east with the finding Xiviti male leopard, and whilst watching him, had a pack of wild dogs running past! Not a bad day at all!!!

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