17 November 2017 : Another day in the Life of a Game Ranger. God’s creation in the wild.

gr-warthog-1Thursday 9th November


After yesterday's great start and me guaranteeing the guests that missed out on the drive that we would be able to see the leopard and the kill this morning, and most likely track down the lions, we headed out in search of the latter – thinking that we would almost certainly have luck, especially as the other scrap pride male had come walking through the camp just a couple of hours before we headed out on drive. We circled the block that the lions had been in last night, and after seeing some impala, kudu and elephant, eventually found their tracks heading north-east; we went and checked the waterhole that they were likely to head to and found tracks passing there and carrying on north-east, but on following up for a little longer, eventually found the tracks crossing out of our concession right in the north-eastern corner. Bugger. To make matters worse, Ntima male leopard had lost his kill to his brother, Tshwukunyana, and between them (and possibly the hyenas) they had finished the entire impala, and Tshwukunyana walked straight past Giraffe's nest after finishing up the kill, but when I decided to go and see him, he was lost in a horrible drainage line area north of the dam. Double bugger. We had to be content with Classic the large male elephant, hippos, waterbuck, bushbuck, nyala and crocodiles around Argyle Dam before we had a cup of coffee and tried the area for Ntima – we saw some smaller things, as well as warthogs before closing down at camp. The wild dogs were found at Java Dam this morning too, whilst some rhino and an elephant herd were seen in the south.


Luckily Johannes had found Madzinyo male leopard on a duiker kill in the east late in the morning, so we headed straight there in the afternoon passing impala, kudu and steenbuck, but despite the availability of water and greener grass in the east, there was not much sign of other life besides fresh tracks for a buffalo herd, but as our mission was for the leopard, this remained our focus...well, until we had to try and determine exactly where he was found in the morning became the most challenging part of the afternoon, but eventually we got there and found the gorgeous male still resting off his belly in the shade of the nearby trees. We spent some nice time with him, but he wasn't on the mood to do too much, and didn't return to his kill whilst we watched him. There was a lot happening further west, so as the afternoon cooled off, we moved in that direction, not seeing much besides waterbuck, giraffe and kudu as we headed to the pack of wild dogs that were now resting near the Nhlaralumi in the central regions. We arrived to find the pack still resting there, but they soon got active and moved south on the hunt when we left them to it. Towards the western boundary, a large male lion (we think it was the Machimba male all the way from the east) had been found, but he was not playing along this afternoon and either he was fast asleep in long grass, or resting in amongst mopane shrubs, and this was the state that we found him in after dark, and when he eventually flopped over and went to sleep, we made the long trek back to the lodge, not seeing much along the way. In the south, the guides saw some elephant bulls, rhino and some buffalo, whilst in the east, Angie also found a herd of around 80 buffalo to round off a good afternoon.

 

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