Another day in the Life of a Game Ranger. Gods creation in the wild.


Friday morning started off with the camp monkeys alarm calling, and our immediate thought is always that a leopard is walking around the periphery of the camp, but when their alarm class got super-panicked, we realised that the threat must be closer and it was then that we saw Shongile female leopard walking up from the riverbed in front of the verandah to the trough, but she by passed it and headed down towards the dam wall. We immediately headed out to go and follow up, but she was gone...we knew that she hadn't gone far though, so Lot and Difference went on foot as we checked the surrounds. We did come across a warthog male staring down a lone hyena, but when a distant jackal started yelping, the hyena jumped up and sprinted off in its direction. The direction also happened to be the same direction that the leopard's tracks had turned towards, so we suspected that she had already crossed the riverbed back towards Geiger's Camp, and Kevin and I checked the area before simultaneously both arriving at a junction at the same time, and there she was! A hyena was on her trail and soon chased her up a small marula tree before wandering off; once out of site the leopard descended and carried on but was later treed again. This time when she got down, she headed straight to Ingwelala where some alarm calling impalas indicated that her cub was milling about. We knew it wasnt Machaton male, as he was found resting on a termite mound south of Argyle.

In addition, Nthombi female was found in the far south, and Mondzweni male was located along the Nhlaralumi in the south too – not a bad leopard morning! Once Shongile crossed out, we decided to check the north-east of the Western Pride's return, but sadly it was not to be, and we didnt enjoy any luck in that section of the reserve, so after some coffee, we headed back towards the lodge. Our plans were delayed when word was received that Shongile and her cub had crossed back into our area form Ingwelala, but despite checking, we found nothing – maybe she managed to kill something in between where the trackers were tracking and Kevin and I found her? Other than that, there were loads of elephants returning to the area, as well as some buffalo still about.

In the afternoon, I had new guests, but decided to do the wild dog den first up, so began heading in that direction at the start of the drive. We managed to begin with some buffalo moving into a thicket, then waterbuck and impala before finding a herd of elephants that we spent time with before moving on.

As usual, when one has a place to be, the animals got in the way, and we saw waterbuck, impala, giraffes, kudus, zebras and another herd of elephants before getting to the wild dogs. They were all asleep when we arrived, but soon stirred as the adults got ready for the hunt – the whole pack began moving to the east, and when they started digging in a termite mound we thought that they might actually have been moving the den – some of the pups followed as the adults ran off, but soon came back to the "new mound" to join the baby sitter, and played around and gave us a superb sighting before we decided to leave as the sun set. The pups ran after my vehicle as we left, but on passing the old den, they were all back there, and we moved on. Mondzweni male leopard had been found and he was munching on a scrub hare when a new, unknown male leopard arrived and chased him off; I joined the new male and followed him for a bit – he was quite confident with the vehicles and allowed us a good view before we left him to it and went and followed Mondzweni as he returned to his scrub hare kill and finished it off. In the north, Inkanye female leopard was also found near Argyle Dam where all of the elephants had gathered for the afternoon. I passed a large-spotted genet on the way back to the lodge, but otherwise there wasnt much else about. It was still a lovely day in the bush though.


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