Tau Pan, May 2018

Tau Pan - Oryx

The Tau Pan pride were seen very regularly in different configurations. The impressive coalition of five males were seen together on occasion, but sometime separated from each other to patrol. This usually then resulted in a night of roaring as the males made contact calls to find each other again. A group of six adults and a cub were seen feeding on a wildebeest and two of the males were seen trying to hunt giraffe but failed in their attack due to lack of cover. Two mothers with three cubs were located drinking from the camp waterhole every few days, sometimes accompanied by one of the males. A different pride of lions consisting of a big black-maned lion and a female with her two sub-adult cubs was located at the Passarge waterhole. They looked well-fed and showed little interest in the surprisingly relaxed oryx grazing very nearby.

One morning the guides were surprised to find elephant tracks going through camp as they went to do their wake-up calls. Eventually they found a large bull elephant browsing next to Room 1. Elephants are not very common in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and it is very unusual for us to have one staying in the camp area.

A shy male leopard was seen a few times. On one occasion we found him being mobbed by a few jackals which stopped him successfully hunting the springbok which he had his eye on. A young female who is the daughter of a well-known resident was seen mobile towards the old camp site.

Two young cheetah brothers were sighted towards the west of Tau Pan, although they were a bit skittish.

As is often the case in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve there were many species of raptors including bateleur eagles, tawny eagles, goshawks and secretary birds. Kori bustards and huge flocks of red-billed queleas were also seen.

A beautifully relaxed herd of twenty adult oryx with ten calves was located at Phukwi Pan. Other general game species included springbok, red hartebeest and wildebeest. As the mornings got progressively colder, the antelope could be seen lying on the roads to warm themselves up. There were plentiful giraffe in the area and we were able to see them licking at the soil to gain extra minerals into their diet. At the camp waterhole we watched two kudu bulls testing a female by sniffing her and grimacing in a pose known as the flehmen response. This behaviour is done in order for males to better detect pheromones that might indicate whether the cow is in oestrus.

Black-backed jackals and bat-eared foxes were seen foraging. On one occasion the jackals and foxes started growling at each other, raising their hackles and eventually fighting. An African wild cat was seen hunting birds. Honey badgers were seen hunting, accompanied by jackals and southern pale chanting-goshawks who were always on the lookout for any rodents missed by the honey badgers during their digging. The bat eared foxes could be seen huddling up together in family groups in the early morning chill.

 

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

Nxai Pan, May 2018

Nxai Pan - Elephants

Predictably, as the natural water sources dried up and the weather stayed dry the herds of elephants returned to the camp waterhole in huge numbers. With the clear viewpoint from the main area and rooms, guests were able to spend their siesta time watching lots of interesting interactions within the elephant family groups.

A resident pride of nine lions (three lionesses with six sub-adult cubs) were spotted on different occasions hunting. As the natural waterholes dried up we noticed that the lions’ movement pattern became more predictable. They would visit the camp waterhole, then move in a clockwise direction around the pan before completing their loop via the Department of Wildlife waterhole. They appeared to be specialising in killing giraffe calves as there were lots of them in the area.

At the start of the month we saw the two resident sub-adult cheetahs very regularly, including hunting. A male cheetah was also seen hunting in the middle of the pan but without success.

There were only a few zebras remaining in the pan, but plenty of giraffe, wildebeest, warthogs and black-backed jackals. Bat-eared foxes were also seen resting. Springbok, oryx and steenbok were mainly towards Baines Baobabs with just a few in the Nxai Pan area.

Plenty of raptors were seen in the area including lanner falcons, pale chanting-goshawk, Gabar goshawk, martial eagles, black-shouldered kites and secretary birds. Smaller species included scaly-feathered finches, black-chested prinias, bee-eaters, ant-eating chats, and various species of larks and flycatchers. Kori bustards and ostriches could be seen striding out across the pans.

At Baines Baobabs the trees were starting to lose their leaves, their bare branches looking remarkably like inverted roots, earning the species their nickname of ‘upside-down tree’. On a day trip to Baines Baobabs we saw an interesting fight between a Mozambique Spitting Cobra and a Puff Adder; these two highly venomous snakes engaged in a deadly duel.

 

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

Lebala, May 2018

Lebala - Lions

The Bonga pride of lions were still in the Lebala area during May, though it appeared that they had started to move = back towards their usual territory nearer to Lagoon camp. Whilst the Bonga Pride had been around, the Wapoka Pride had moved south of the Kwando Reserve, but towards the end of the month they seemed to realise that the territories were shifting and we found them back in our area again devouring a wildebeest. As they were feeding, one of the dominant males known as Big Gun came to claim his rights at the carcass. One of the young males from the Wapoka Pride tried to defend the food but was very quickly put in his place by the mature lion in a swift but dramatic fight.

We saw eleven Bonga lions hunting amongst a big herd of wildebeest. They managed to bring down and kill two of the wildebeest at once. Another time the lions killed a wildebeest in a waterhole and as we arrived the big male was seen dragging the carcass out of the water. Although mainly seen targeting wildebeest, the Bonga pride were also seen successfully hunting buffalo at the large end of the prey scale, and warthog at the other. One day, we had been watching the pride hunting zebra when they encountered a puff adder which became aggressive. True to its name, the snake inflated its body to make itself appear bigger and try to scare the lions.

A mother lioness with three cubs of approximately nine months old appeared to have split away from the rest of the pride and was occasionally joined by the dominant males. A sub-adult male appeared to have been kicked out of the main pride by the dominant males and was seen on his own for most of the month.

We enjoyed seeing some of the smaller rare mammals at Lebala during May. A sighting of two aardwolf was enjoyed near to Skimmer Pan. The two animals were moving through the grass. We were also lucky enough to find a porcupine running in front of the vehicle during a night drive. A serval was also spotted hunting after dark and to cap off a great month we came across a pangolin on the road looking for termites and ants.

Our guides were delighted to find the resident female leopard, Jane, with her two cubs. Last time we had seen her a couple of months previously she appeared to be looking for one of her cubs, so it was a huge relief to see the family back in the area, and apparently all doing well. On a morning game drive to Motswiri Pan our guide noticed impalas, birds and squirrels all shouting alarm calls. He quickly followed up and found a resident male leopard, known as Fisherman, feeding on a banded mongoose.

A pair of wild dogs have been coming to Lebala from time to time and the female appears to be pregnant. In the middle of the month they pulled down and ate a bushbuck within the camp surrounds. At the hyena den, there appeared to be just two cubs.

As the weather stayed fair and the inland waterholes started to dry up, big herds of elephants started to return to the riverine area. There were also plentiful giraffe and buffalo coming out of the woodland to find water. A big herd of eland, grazing in a mixed herd with zebra, was sin the area. Guests were also happy to locate some sable bulls. The water levels in the marsh had started to rise with the incoming flood waters, bringing with it large herds of red lechwe. We had good sightings of them running and splashing through the shallow waters.

 

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

Lagoon, May 2018

Lagoon - Leopards

Wild dogs were denning near to camp throughout the month of May. Two separate females had conceived within our resident pack of six and they made den entrances approximately fifteen metres apart. Towards the end of the month four puppies emerged from den and could be seen suckling. The second litter was born on the 24th May. The dogs tended to stay fairly close to the den and were seen feeding on kudu, warthog and impala. We witnessed them regurgitating food for both pregnant females after their hunting missions.

A mother leopard known as Mma Maporota (Mrs Sausage Tree) was seen on an almost daily basis, with her two subadult cubs, one female and one male. Sometimes they were seen apart and other times feeding or hunting together; when they had a kill they tended to stay in the same area for several days. The adult female spent a good amount of time marking her territory by scent marking and clawing trees.

After a lot of patient searching by our guides we located two hyena dens in the area. Evening visits were particularly rewarding as we were able to see the adults socialising with their young and greeting each other before setting off on patrol. At one of the dens there are five cubs, ranging from several weeks old to approximately 8 months. They were very playful, sometimes curiously approaching the vehicle.

The coalition of two cheetah brothers continued to cover huge areas but were seen often in the Lagoon side of the Reserve. The guides suspected that they were trying to stay away from the Bonga Pride who were located more towards the east. The males were located patrolling their territory and also hunting various species including impala, warthogs, tsessebe and even young kudu.

Four young male lions were still in the area, having come from the north. They were generally seen on the move and were still skittish around vehicles, but we hope that they will relax over time. They sometimes split up to track females and could be heard roaring in the early mornings. A lioness with one cub was seen hunting impala and zebra along the woodland, but they also seem to specialise in warthogs and could be seen checking out burrows looking for prey. One time after they had brought down an impala the hyena clan came and raided their kill. Two new pale-coloured lionesses seem to have taken up residency in the area and were seen in the vicinity of an elephant carcass. After a few days they were joined by two big male lions and were seen mating with them. Towards the end of the month two separate prides were seen fighting over the elephant carcass; the dispute continued over a three-day period. In the end a coalition of three lions disrupted and pushed away the four younger males. A female from the Bonga Pride was also seen towards Halfway Pan; she looked like she was nursing, so it is likely that she had split away from the main pride to give birth. It seems that the Bonga Pride are starting to move back towards the Lagoon side of the Kwando Reserve, having spent the last few months in the Lebala area.

General game was very good along the floodplains. There were two relaxed herds of sable and roan antelope and plentiful zebra and wildebeest. As the weather cooled, hippos were seen out of the water during the day more frequently. Elephants, buffalo, eland, tsessebe, giraffe, impala, steenbok, kudu and hartebeest were also seen.

There were good sightings of smaller mammals including African wild cats, bat-eared foxes, civets, genets, bush babies and servals. Aardwolf were seen several times towards the end of the month, though sadly we found aardwolf carcass at the vacated hyena den (one was also found the previous month).

As usual, there were good numbers of raptors and vultures in the Kwando Reserve. A family of endangered Southern Ground Hornbills were seen frequently. Ostrich were seen graving alongside plains game.

Crocodiles could be seen during the boat cruise and monitor lizards were seen mating.

 

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

Kwara, May 2018

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May was an incredible month for predator action on the Kwara concession. Leopard, wild dogs and hyenas were all denning during the month and we witnessed some incredible interaction between the species.

The pack of eight wilddogs were still denning about half a kilometre from Little Kwara for the month of May. At the start of the month the alpha female was inside the den and was even growling at the alpha male if he came too close. On the same afternoon, once the dogs had killed an impala, a spotted hyena came to scavenge and it was also badly bitten by the wild dogs. The clan of hyena continued to follow the dogs every day on their hunting missions and we witnessed further dramatic interactions between these two predator species as the month went on. Despite the raiding hyenas, the dogs were able to kill very regularly and all looked in good condition.

The spotted hyenas had their own young to look after and we were able to visit the den regularly. The cubs could be seen playing and occasionally yelling at their mother for her to lie down and nurse them.

Our female resident leopard also had cubs in a den; she was seen feeding well on various kills and looked in excellent condition, despite having some carcasses stolen by hyenas. We watched her on her hunting excursions making full use of the camp’s bridges to traverse the area and we had wonderful sightings of her climbing trees. Her initial den was not accessible to our vehicles, but after a week or so she moved her cubs and then we were able to enjoy watching the family interacting together. A male leopard was also located to the east of the Kwara airstrip.

Lion were doing well in the Kwara Reserve including a pride of three lionesses and five sub-adult cubs. A different pride of two females and two males were located at Four Rivers, on the western side of the concession. One afternoon we located a female lioness, daughter of resident Mma Leitlho, travelling towards camp and after following her for a while we were lucky enough to witness her stalking and then bringing down a fully-grown warthog boar. We also found lions feeding on kudu and zebra.

A female cheetah with two sub-adult cubs made a successful kill of a male impala at bat-eared fox den. They were agitated by lionesses who were roaring not far away from where they made a kill. The male cheetah, known to the guides as ‘Special’ was seen often and one day walked all the way from the airstrip and into camp, passing in between Kwara and Little Kwara. As he was stalking a herd of impala the wild dogs came and ambushed him, but he managed to escape. We found a different male cheetah feeding on an impala close to Splash, surrounded by vultures awaiting their turn at the carcass. This cheetah was also seen scent marking on a sausage tree whilst also using the vantage point to scan the area for prey and danger.

The general game in Kwara Reserve was excellent, with plenty of breeding herds of elephant coming back into the area. We watched them as they were feeding, drinking and bathing in the waterholes. There were plentiful herds of wildebeest, zebra and giraffe. Two giraffe bulls were seen fighting over females; it is always a dramatic sight watching such huge animals swing blows at each other with their head and necks. The rest of the giraffe family seemed unperturbed though and carried on browsing whilst the fight went on.

Smaller mammals which we were able to view included a very relaxed serval and honey badgers. Bird life was excellent with endangered Wattled Cranes a notable favourite with our guests. A Verreux’s (giant) eagle owl was seen feeding on a small spotted genet.

 

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

Tau Pan, April 2018

TAU PAN - DMessom.Mammals.African Wildcat

The Tau Pan pride were seen very regularly, and often extremely close to the camp. At one stage the whole pride of ten (five males, two females and three cubs) took up residence next to the Tau Pan workshop, making the servicing of our vehicles a little tricky. The cubs were unfazed and played around the area, but thankfully after a couple of hours they moved off towards the camp waterhole so the mechanic could get back on with his work.

During the month, the pride appeared to be hunting successfully and were seen full-bellied. Guests really enjoyed seeing how tolerant the big males were of the smaller cubs playing with them. One of the females with her two sub-adult cubs split away from the main pride from time to time and they managed to kill a giraffe calf at the camp waterhole. Jackals and vultures descended on the area in large numbers, looking for an opportunity to scavenge. This kill kept the three lions busy for a couple of days before they reunited with the rest of the pride.

A different pride of lions was seen at the Passarge Valley waterhole, resting under a thorn tree.

We enjoyed a wonderful sighting of an African wild cat at Phukwi Pan who boldly came out of the bushes during the morning coffee break and lay on its back, entertaining the guests. It was a remarkable sighting of a species that is usually quite shy.

A lovely relaxed family of four bat-eared foxes were resident at Tau Pan and they could be observed foraging for insects and rodents. Black-backed jackals were often seen.

The day trips to Deception Valley often yielded interesting sightings, including a male leopard near to Letia Hau. A female leopard was also seen at the start of the month nearer to Tau Pan.

A herd of red hartebeest comprising ten adults and three calves were seen at the Tau Pan area as well as an unusual sighting of a single eland. This is not a species that we see often in the Central Kalahari, but it seemed very comfortable grazing alongside some oryx. At Passarge Valley springbok and oryx were plentiful and we saw a female cheetah with two cubs there looking full-bellied after having killed and eaten a springbok.

The Kalahari raptors are beautiful and we saw many different species on a daily basis. A highlight was a lovely sighting in April of two bateleur eagles enjoying the remains of an oryx carcass.

 

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

Nxai Pan, April 2018

NXAI PAN - RHebhardt.Cat2NxaiPanelephantszebrasatwaterhole

The Nxai Pan pride were seen extremely regularly during April and were looking in great condition, which is to be expected at this time of year as they have just enjoyed the benefit of the annual zebra migration. There were still plenty of zebra herds in the area and the lions were seen stalking them. Usually we saw them as a pride of 9, three lionesses together with their six very playful cubs. Occasionally they were joined by a male – especially when there was food to be eaten. The pride of ten were seen feasting on a wildebeest carcass for a couple of days. Another time they were all together on a giraffe kill. Despite the size of the carcass, the male refused to let the rest of the lions eat. When the lionesses were without food, the male lion tended to be seen on his own.

A mother cheetah with her two sub-adult cubs was seen hunting right in front of camp however the herd of zebras that she was targeting stood together to chase the cats off. We observed that the female cheetah seems to be teaching the two youngsters to be more independent and they were sometimes seen on their own, but still calling for their mother.  A male cheetah was seen hunting between the Department of Wildlife camp and the main waterhole. A different female was seen resting along the main waterhole road before heading east into the woodlands. This is a particularly relaxed individual and we saw her more than once during the month.

Some elephant bulls were still in residence, although less in number whilst the natural waterholes elsewhere were still full. Giraffe were seen feeding on the acacia trees. Plains game species included springbok and oryx who seemed to enjoy feeding under the trees. In an adorable sighting two steenbok were seen playing with their young lamb. Most unusually a bushbuck was spotted outside the camp gate; this is unusual as this species tend to be found in more riverine areas.

Some interesting smaller animals were seen on the way to Baines Baobabs including bat-eared foxes, jackals, steenbok and slender mongoose. The pan by the historic trees still shimmered with water and although it was starting to dry up there were still aquatic birds such as African spoonbill, red-billed teal, glossy ibis and back-winged stilt. The baobabs themselves were still adorned with a crown of green leaves.

At Nxai Pan other bird species identified included northern black korhaan, ostrich, kori bustard and pale chanting goshawks.

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

Lebala, April 2018

Capturefile: G:My Pictures (BackUp)Botswana 200720071102.006DCIM100EOS1D_DM32209.CR2 CaptureSN: 537519.000000 Software: Capture One PRO for Windows

The Bonga Pride of thirteen adults and three young were seen extremely regularly throughout the month. These lions are beautifully relaxed around our vehicles meaning that we can spend great quality time with them. Although this is a large pride, it is mainly made up of sub-adults and their inexperience with hunting can make it a challenge for the lions to catch enough food to feed the fast-growing youngsters. Luckily, one of the older more experienced females is an expert hunter and she seemed to be specialising in targeting giraffes so the family were seen feasting on these large carcasses more than once. We also found them feeding on other prey species including zebra, kudu, warthog, wildebeest and hippo. One time the pride chased a male wildebeest which ran into a waterhole to escape them. They surrounded the pan and spent the whole day waiting for him to come back out straight into their teeth and claws.  It seemed as though our resident prides were starting to move back towards their more usual territories with the Bonga Pride moving towards Halfway Pan and the Wapoka Pride coming back to the concession from the south. The two territories were starting to overlap and towards the end of the month, the two males from the Bonga Pride were seen chasing away one of the females from the Wapoka Pride.

A female leopard with two very young cubs was discovered and seen more than once. At the end of the month they had an impala kill beneath a Feverberry Tree, but a hyena came and took the carcass from them. The following day, the mother was not around and there was only one cub waiting for her up on the tree, so we will have to wait and see if the second cub reappears. We saw a leopard hunting lechwe through the marshes, but unfortunately, he was unlucky. A sub-adult was seen trying his luck with impala a couple of times, but he didn’t succeed. In any event, he was being closely tailed by two hyenas who would have stood a good chance of overpowering him to steal the kill.

A pair of two wild dogs were back in the area and returned in style, chasing down and disembowelling an impala right in front of the safari vehicle. After eating their fill, they moved off to a nearby waterhole to drink.

There was an active hyena den near to Skimmer Pan and we were able to see two cubs. The hyenas were seen following lions as well as leopard, though they were keeping a respectful distance from the formidable Bonga Pride.

Guests were pleased with sightings of sable and roan antelope, as well as eland. There were large herds of zebra and wildebeest in the area as well as red lechwe who were enjoying the flooded pans. Other plains game species seen included giraffe, warthogs, impala and kudu.

The tall grasses made it a little harder than usual to see some of the smaller mammals, but we managed to spot species such as dwarf mongoose and yellow mongoose. Both back-backed and side-striped jackals were commonly seen. There was an interesting sighting of an olive grass snake eating a lizard.

Some of the migratory birds were starting to depart for warmer climes, but we still had plenty of ticks for keen birders including wattled cranes, kori bustard, tawny eagles, bateleur eagles. There were large flocks of wading birds such as yellow-billed storks and spoonbills. Black-winged pratincoles were seen in significant numbers.

 

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

Lagoon, April 2018

LAGOON - davidlloyd-cat7-hyena

A pack of six wild dogs were seen in the area and the guides were excited to note that two of the females were pregnant. This is heard of from time to time, but quite unusual as generally it is just the alpha female who gives birth to pups. We tracked the pack until we discovered them them feeding on a young kudu by the airstrip at the middle of the month and they were seen very regularly thereafter. We saw them hunting impala, warthogs and kudu and witnessed them making kills more than once.

We found a highly active spotted hyena den towards the end of the month. During April we saw six adults and two cubs, but from the tracks we suspected that there were more who were still in the den. We had a lovely sighting of a cub being suckled by its mother before the two started playing a great came of chase around the den site. Eventually the female lifted the pup in her powerful jaws and took it back down inside the burrow.

The resident female leopard and her two sub-adult cubs were seen often, sometimes just 100 metres from camp. The cubs were getting more independent and we encountered them singly as well as with their mother. We enjoyed some fun sightings of them playing together on their own. One time the young female made a brave, or perhaps silly, chase of a hippo that she saw outside the water. Luckily for her the hippo ran into the waterhole rather than attack her. A different female leopard with cubs of 3-4 months old was seen in the Cheetah Valley where she had made a kill.

We were pleased to see the coalition of cheetah brothers in the area and saw them every day in the middle of the month. At one stage we tracked them to discover that they were feeding on a female ostrich, a dangerous and difficult prey for a cheetah as ostriches kick forward viciously to defend themselves and their long claws can do a great deal of damage. When we observed them the following day we noticed that one of them had a fresh scar under his belly, possibly from the ostrich encounter, but it didn’t seem to deter them as a few days later we found them feeding on yet another female ostrich.

Four male lions who recently moved into the area were seen at the start of the month, though their movement was not predictable as they were covering large distances marking their territory.  At one point two of them feasted on a buffalo kill for a couple of days. A different pair of male lions was also seen near to the airstrip. One of the two had fresh scars and the guides wondered if they had come into contact with the larger coalition. This pair linked up with two lionesses, one of whom appeared to be pregnant. These lionesses were seen stalking and hunting zebra without success but they did manage to bring down a warthog whilst we were watching. Unfortunately for them, the clan of hyenas heard the commotion of the warthog squealing and came to steal it from the lionesses. After staying towards Lebala for several months now, the Bonga Pride were occasionally seen at Halfway Pan, getting closer towards their old territory again.

There were plenty of elephants in the area; one day we heard a loud commotion and were lucky enough to see two of them mating. There are some lovely relaxed herds of sable and roan antelope in the area, including calves. Other general game sightings included hippo, giraffe, eland, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, impala, warthog, ostrich and giraffe. We had wonderful sightings of the smaller carnivores including African wildcat, bat-eared foxes, small spotted genets, large spotted genet and jackals.

An African harrier-hawk was observed feeding on the chicks of a Burchell’s startling, having discovered its nest in the hole of a tree. A family of four ground hornbills was seen hunting for frogs at the pans. Raptors seen during the month included martial eagle, tawny eagle, brown snake eagle, African hawk-eagles, secretary birds and bateleur eagles. In an unusual sighting more than ten black herons were seen at one waterhole. We also located a pair of Verreaux’s (giant) eagle owls regularly. Large numbers of vultures were seen on a carcass of a young wildebeest.

 

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

Kwara, April 2018

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We were excited to see that the alpha female of the wild dog pack of eight was heavily pregnant and that she was busy digging around termite mounds as though looking for a den site. Her chosen location appeared to be very close to Little Kwara’s staff village, so the dogs were seen hunting impala in and around the camp island very regularly. Right at the start of April they came into conflict with a smaller pack of three dogs and a big fight ensued. Luckily none of the dogs suffered fatal injuries, although one of the dogs from the pack of eight lost half a tail. After this, the pack of three moved further to the west of the concession, but the larger pack stayed close to the camps and we stayed hopeful that they would den nearby. Watch this space….

Spotted hyenas had already started denning and in April we were able have lovely sightings of the mothers suckling their cubs. The two cubs were believed to be a couple of months old and were starting to be playful.

A resident female leopard was also believed to be pregnant; this individual was relaxed and in great condition. She was seen stalking reedbuck through the marshes and on another remarkable occasion was seen killing a civet right in front of the vehicle. Towards the end of the month, after not seeing her for a couple of weeks, we picked up her tracks and found her walking along the side of the runway. We were delighted to see that she was lactating, so hopefully we will have some new leopard cub sightings soon. There was a different female on the east of the concession, towards Splash and we were able to watch her hunting a few times. A handsome male leopard killed a female impala and dragged it up a sausage tree where he stayed for at least three days. Very conveniently, this was on the road between the camp and the airstrip, creating some special first and last impressions for guests. The kill attracted hyenas who waited at the bottom of the tree, hoping that some juicy morsels might fall to the ground.

At the start of the month guests were lucky enough to see the resident male cheetah, known as “Special” mating with a female. They stayed together for three days. This individual regularly clambers up onto a large rain tree as part of his territorial marking and it is always a remarkable sight to see this tree-climbing behaviour. We also saw him hunting both zebra and impala. A mother cheetah with two cubs was seen regularly, but the guides were worried for them as she didn’t seem to be having much success with her hunts and the cubs looked hungry.

As always, there was plenty of lion action at Kwara. The Mma Mogotla Pride killed a zebra in broad daylight. Our guides noted that the sub-adult males were growing their manes and fighting with their sisters to get first share of the kill. On the eastern side of the concession near Splash there was a pride of two males and two females in great condition. They were found on a zebra kill and the males were roaring the whole night.

Big breeding herds of elephant were seen and guests enjoyed watching them feeding and bathing. Giraffe were plentiful and mothers could be observed suckling their calves. Impala started their rutting season with the males vocally advertising their territories and vigorously defending their harems of females.

The sunset boat cruise produced beautiful sightings of malachite and pied kingfishers, different bee-eaters species, crocodiles, hippos and water monitors.

Right at the end of the month we had a lucky sighting of a female aardwolf.

 

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)