I was hosting six great guests who are all birders and therefore I knew the pressure was off about searching only for big game or the “Big Five.” Our second evening together proved to be quite incredible.
We headed out on our afternoon drive along Luvuvhu West. Our plan was to drive to a recent elephant carcass which has been fascinating to view, as well as being a hive of activity. On the way there we bumped into a lone elephant bull, the first of what would turn out to be a very rewarding few hours. When we arrived at the carcass, as expected, there was an entourage of vultures (Lappet-faced, White-backed, White-headed and Hooded) and a number of hyaena picking the bones dry. The smell was quite unbearable and it wasn’t long before everyone in the vehicle was ready to head off.
As we drove back towards camp we were called with the news that we had just driven past a leopard. Needless to say we turned around and headed back finding the camouflaged leopard lying flat in an appleleaf tree. She was extremely relaxed and we watched her from 30 metres away for about 45 minutes. She eventually stretched and gracefully climbed down the tree. She had been watching impalas in the distance and we followed her towards them. The impalas were quick to spot her and started panicking at the same time as a huge herd of buffalo appeared. All of this was taking place at the same time as the sun was setting over the Hutwini Mountains ahead.
We had just lost sight of the leopard when we heard a faint mumble behind us. Lo and behold there were two rhino making their way towards us. This was by far the best sighting I have had of rhino at Pafuri as they were in the open instead of making off into the distance which has been my usual experience.
At this point we chose to head back to camp, having had a fabulous evening, but on the way decided to pass the airstrip to see if could catch a glimpse of the male lion which had been spotted in the area that morning.
We did hear the lion calling, but unfortunately our luck had run out as our search proved hopeless. However, we did see a baby chameleon, a greater bushbaby, an African wild cat, two Barn Owls, an African Owl and two Pel’s Fishing-Owls before getting into camp.
After a celebratory dinner I was heading to the staff village only to come across a lioness 20 metres from the boardwalk. Another incredible day in Africa!