12 October 2015
Today started off quite cool and overcast and turned out being a very good day for predators. As we haven't really had very good lion sightings as a group, we set out with that as the main mission for the day.
First up however, we were alerted to the presence of a leopard a few kilometers away. We went looking for it and were lucky enough to find it, lying on a termite mound under a small tree and optimistically eyeing some Kudu close by. As this was a female Leopard and hence not very big, attempting to catch a large kudu would most likely be a step too far for her and she eventually just lay down and got comfortable on the mound. We left her in peace and carried on past a hyena den, where we found 1 hyena sleeping outside the den entrance. It woke every now and then, lifting it's head and sniffing the breeze. We also found 3 wild dogs lying under a tree, quite far off the road, but offering good visibility when they raised their heads occasionally. When their heads were down, it was just the occasional flick of their large rounded ears that betrayed their presence.
After plenty of searching we did manage to find 2 lionesses at a watering hole, lying in the shade as by that time the sun was breaking through the clouds and it started warming up significantly. Even though they were also quite far from the vehicle, we did get to see them quite well as they got up and wandered around the waterhole looking for a more comfortable spot.
The real highlights of the day came at other waterholes later in the day as we at one stage had a small herd of impala, several large kudu bulls and a giraffe drinking at the same time. Later on at a large dam we were lucky enough to find a small breeding herd of elephant drinking and playing in the water. One of the young males were quite excitable and cocky and took it upon himself to make sure they have no unwanted visitors. He also came right up to our vehicle and we decided to give them a bit of space as elephants always have right of way..! They then found a new spot along the bank to drink and swim, before having a quick dust bath. At the same dam there was also a large (approx 5m long) crocodile, some hippos in the water, warthog, Zebra, blue wildebeest, impala, Waterbuck and velvet monkeys, all at the same time.
The dam was the hub of activity for about 20 minutes before it quieted down and only a few impalas were to be seen and the distant rumbling of the elephants could be heard.
We also found several large bull elephants among which were some impressive tuskers on the way back to camp. All in all a very lucrative day with sightings of all the big 5 members and Hyena and Wild dogs to make it mission accomplished!