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

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Monday morning saw us starting our new game drive schedule and departing at 06h00 as opposed to 06h30, but we were greeted with gloomy conditions and an hour and a bit of constant drizzle as we set off in search of lions, but our progress to check the western boundary for their return was slow, and made slower when we found a herd of elephants (including the female with the hole in her head) on our northern boundary, so we spent time with them. Following on from the elephants, we saw impala and waterbuck that seemed very alert, but found no sign of any nearby danger; one impala that hadn't sensed danger was the one that Xiviti male leopard had caught a short while before Grant found him in the central regions of the reserve, so we slowly made our way there when we heard a report that the lions and been seen on the tar road further north. It was thus with surprise and frustration that another guide caught the tail end of the Western Pride heading west from Voël Dam into the Klaserie again.

We went down towards Xivit and had a nice sighting as he groomed and rested next to the fully grown male impala he had just killed. After leaving him, we saw some elephant and buffalo bulls before another herd of elephants surprised us during our coffee stop. Following this, we again found more elephants and buffalo in the east before checking the Kruger Boundary on our way home, passing some inquisitive mongooses but not much else.


My afternoon mission was one; watch Xiviti hoist his kill into the marula tree, and I suspected that his would happen just after sunset, so we had time to play with. We began by finding and viewing a herd of elephants near Argyle Dam, as well as bushbuck, impala and waterbuck before we slowly started moving towards the leopard; Difference was following up on some lion tracks that we found in the morning, but with the rain, it was difficult to assess just how old they were, but as no one else had mentioned anything about them, we hoped that it was from last night, but sadly as he tracked, it became clear that the tracks were a day and a half old, so he left them and returned home. I arrived at the leopard just after the sun had set, which wasnt great for pictures, but the timing could not have been better as we could see Xiviti readying himself for the hoist, and after feeding and pulling on the carcass, he positioned at the bottom of the tree before displaying immense strength in hoisting the male impala up into the tree!

In fairness, it did take him two turns, but what a treat to see! After securing the kill up there, he descended the tree and went to cover the stomach content before resting on the ground. With our mission complete, we made our way back to the lodge for a warm shower and a scrumptious dinner, that happened to include impala, and all understood why Xiviti looked so satisfied!

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