Last night we met Riaan (our guide) at 4pm and he had told us earlier to order what we wanted for happy hour at the bar and he would get a "cooler box" and bring it on our night drive. We drove around a while, parked at the hippo/watering hole for while. We watched monkeys and all kinds of birds. Then we headed up to the top of a ridge for sunset - it was beautiful. Some clouds so it wasn't perfect but the colors were great. We probably stayed up there about an hour having drinks and watching the sun go down.
We then resumed the great panther hunt! It was dark so Riaan drove around with a spotlight trying to get a glimpse of his eyes. While we were stopped for him to explain some of the constellations (he showed us the southern cross and the guider starts that point due south), we heard the leopard call. Away we went to try and find him, but that was the only evidence of him last night. We didn't see too much (aside from a herd of buffalo we chased out of the road) but did get to hold a chameleon!
6:15 drive this morning and we were well rewarded. Zulu Nyala has one male cheetah on its property so it has no one to tussle with, which is natural for them. Occasionally, one of the male cheetahs from the neighboring reserve (Phinda), will walk up and down the fence line and they just stare each other down. Our cheetah wants to attack (there are multiple males on Phinda, so he comes up there to relax - plus Phinda has lions which prey on cheetah whereas ours doesn't). We got to watch the 2 of them for about a half hour - walking the fence line, spraying the trees marking their territory.
Riaan got a call on his radio that the elephants had finally come in from the valley and were in the open. So we rushed over there and got to see the 3 girls for a bit. Mom got a scent of something and froze, then grumbled (which is how they communicate) and suddenly mom and baby started running, with auntie soon behind. It's quite a sight to see these creatures run - they are fast and big and do not get in their way!
After a breakfast break we went to the elephant interaction, about 45 minutes from here. They also have 3 elephants, a 5 ton bull, a 3.5 ton female, and a 4 year old baby (1.5 tons). We learned about them and then got to touch them - their ears, there legs and chest, their tusk, and feed them. We actually put food in Rambo (the male's) mouth and touched their tongues! They are very soft - completely unexpected. You would think they would be rough since all they ear are trees, bark, grass...