Guest Post by Leopard Mountain Lodge by rangers Ivor, Chase and Adam during their walks and drives at  Zululand Rhino Reserve.

We trust you have had a great month. Where to start? Perhaps with the evidence of a battle of the cats as lion fights leopard,  or an irritated Black Rhino who chased Ostriches through the plains. Maybe the sighting of the usually elusive Aardvark which made our night drive extra special or the hair-raising experience of a Black Mamba just meters from the vehicle! With herds of up to a hundred Buffalo to groups of inquisitive Giraffe, there is always something entertaining around every corner.

Firstly, the excitement was flowing and adrenaline pumping as four lucky guests joined Ivor for the semi-primitive trail. The walk through Big 5 area produced an unforgettable experience as they spotted Buffalo, White Rhino and, a definite highlight, Lions! After a full day getting up close and personal with creatures big and small, the hikers camped out under the stars with the smells and sounds of the African bush to keep them company.

Lion Fights Leopard

On another walk, evidence of a skirmish between a lion and leopard was found. Clear tracks of both big cats were seen in all directions among scrape marks and tufts of fur. We can only assume there is a slightly injured predator licking his wounds somewhere on the reserve. As for the outcome, we have yet to see all the Lions or spot the Leopard involved but will keep you posted if we find either of the two.

Africa’s fastest mammal is nothing short of amazing. To witness a male Cheetah walking gracefully next to the game vehicle is a humbling experience. This took some work from our guides who followed tracks and signs for two days before actually locating the Cheetah near a recent kill. Needless to say, everyone was happy to add such a special predator to their growing lists of sightings.

Black Rhino can be one of the most interesting animals to see. They have a wide range of behaviors and a curious nature. Throw in a few unsuspecting Ostriches and you have a chance for some excitement! We were happily observing the world’s biggest bird when suddenly, chaos struck, a Black Rhino bull who was browsing on some shrubs just off the plains erupted out from the vegetation and starting charging every Ostrich in sight. A frantic flurry of feathers saw the Ostriches retreat to a safe distance and we were left in awe as the Black Rhino passed in front of the vehicle.

We are happy to see our Buffalo herds thriving, with groups of a hundred plus consisting of bulls, cows and a few spirited youngsters. This is a good indication that all the hard work invested in the reserve is benefiting one of our loved species. As far as creepy crawlies go, we have had close encounters with Bark and Orb-web Spiders as well as a beautiful 3 meter long Black Mamba who casually cruised off the road in front of our game vehicle into a tree. Moving stealthily through the branches it was hard to believe such a gentle looking snake could easily deliver a fatal bite to any persecutor.

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