Tau Pan, Sep 2019

ARamesh.Cat2Caracal

We were lucky enough to have wonderful sightings of a caracal at the camp waterhole in the mornings and late afternoon. We had started seeing this animal near to camp the previous month and was relaxed enough that guests were even able to photograph him as he rested near to the rooms.

A huge tom leopard was seen drinking at the waterhole and regularly moved through camp during the night, guides observing fresh tracks as they went to the rooms to wake the guests up. This animal is so large that he is the same size as a sub-adult lion.

The lone elephant bull who has been hanging out near to camp for the past year was still in residence. With the general area so dry he has limited options to move elsewhere as the next permanent water source is now very far away. General game at the waterhole included wildebeest, kudu and springbok. There was also a lone impala, unusual for the region, and we saw that it had joined up with the kudu herd for safety. Kudu bulls engaged in a territorial battle; as expected the much bigger challenger won the fight.

Two male lions from the Tau Pan pride were seen attempting to hunt, but they started their chase too early and the prey animals managed to bolt to safety. The Tau Pan lions were often seen at the waterhole, sometimes making an opportunistic attack on the antelope species coming to drink. The pride has sub-adults and it was fun watching them play and greeting their parents. We also found a mating pair within the pride. Two intruder males continued to silently and stealthily use the waterhole, never calling and seemingly wanting to keep a low profile to avoid conflict with the strong coalition of five males in the Tau Pan pride. Two strange lionesses were also seen for the first time.

At Phukwi Pan two male lions were found on an oryx carcass. We returned the following day and the lions had moved on, but the remains were being scavenged on by a brown hyena and black-backed jackals.

A male cheetah was located near Sunday Pan and we also found a female with three cubs on Letiahau Road. The mother looked like she may have been in a fight as she had a cut on her leg.

There were plenty of black-backed jackals, ground squirrels and bat-eared foxes at Tau Pan. We were also lucky enough to see on occasion aardwolf and brown hyena. Guests enjoyed understanding about the symbiotic relationship between honey badgers and the pale chanting goshawks, the raptor following the honey badgers as they dug out rodents, looking for an easy meal.

Other great raptor sightings included tawny eagles hunting doves at the waterhole, sometimes jackals were hoping to steal their kill. A large flock of vultures was seen at Sunday Pan finishing off the remains of a lion kill.

Although the area was still dry, colour was coming back to the area as some of the tree species such as blackthorn and riverthorn were coming into bloom. The worm-bark albezia produced fluffy cream coloured flowers and the Kalahari apple-leaf produced pinky/purple blossoms.

Some guests who had enjoyed a night on the Tau Pan sleep-out deck described the stargazing as “breathtaking”.

(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, Sep 2019

Kwando 2014- 2015

As the dry weather continued huge herds of elephants possessively congregated around the waterholes, barely letting the other animals in for a drink. Guests were able to enjoy watching the interactions between the breeding herds and bulls from the main area and their rooms. Elephants were also browsing the foliage right inside camp.

Spotted hyenas were regular visitors to the camp waterhole and could also be heard uttering their haunting contact calls in the mornings around 6.30am.

Lions were seen a few times including a pride of two lionesses and three cubs who visited the camp waterhole. We saw them try their luck on some passing kudu, but they were not successful. Later that day the lionesses were stalking zebra but once again the predators did not manage to get their meal. One of the resident lionesses was heavily pregnant and had moved away from the rest of the pride. A new male was located and he was looking very nervous; our guides surmised that he may have had a clash with the resident male. A male and female lion were spotted in camp as we escorted guests back to their rooms.

A cheetah was seen heading to the eastern part of camp as we enjoyed our breakfast; it seemed hungry and on the look-out for a meal. We also saw him the next day, only about 200 metres away from the pregnant lioness, but neither predator seemed aware of the other.

Bat-eared foxes were located a few times foraging very close to Middle Road.

A group of four male buffalo could be seen at the waterholes. Other general game included kudu, giraffe, springbok, steenbok, impala, zebra, wildebeest and warthog. Oryx were seen during the drive to Baines Baobabs.

Bird sightings included ostrich, pale chanting goshawks, brown snake eagles, secretary birds and northern black korhaans. :Lappet-faced and white-backed vultures were seen most days.

There was a big bush fire at Nxai Pan in September which started at Baines Baobabs and heading to the pan region and this encouraged animals to migrate to the northern side of the park.

(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, Sep 2019

AWoodcock Cat2 Pangolin

There was plenty of predator action at Lebala during September. For example, on just one night drive we found wild dogs finishing up a bushbuck, then came across a female leopard who had just lost her kill to hyenas and finally found Wapoka Pride feasting on an incredible four buffalos at once!

In another great sighting we found a leopard on a carcass but lions came in and stole the kill. Then, a big herd of buffalo appeared and the two male lions succeeded in taking a calf down.

Yet again, we were thrilled to locate a pangolin. Lebala is getting quite a reputation for locating these endangered animals this year. Other smaller mammals encountered included African wild cats, honey badgers, bat eared foxes, slender mongoose and yellow mongoose. A couple of times we were lucky enough to see an otter fishing in a channel.

We saw Wapoka Pride hunting warthogs a number of times, often the warthogs managed to outrun the lions, but sometimes we saw them make the kill, although it constituted little more than a snack for this large pride. One time we found all nineteen lions eyeing up a buffalo which had got stuck in the water as if figuring what to do next. By the following day they were trying to feed on the buffalo, but struggling to manage this because of the water so they were running in and out. At their age the 11 lion cubs were extremely playful and their antics made for some charming photo opportunities, however in a rather grisly sighting they were all playing with the dead body of a serval that they had killed. Another time we saw the pride fighting with a honey badger. At very close proximity the resident male lion, Sebastian, was seen gorging on an elephant that had died of natural causes. A few days later we found the male roaring to locate his coalition partner who had not been seen for a while and eventually we saw the two males together again. Three of the Bonga Pride were found eating a buffalo towards Halfway Pan.

The resident pack of two adult wild dogs with their five puppies were seen playing together as well as chasing and feeding on impala. Guests were fascinated to see the adult dogs feeding their puppies by regurgitating meat for them.

Two male cheetahs were found near to Halfway Pan.

The well-known resident leopard known as Jane, together with her two cubs, was seen feasting on an impala under a sausage tree. This carcass kept the family busy for three days. Another time she was seen hunting impala but the antelope saw her and bolted away. We continued to locate the leopards throughout the month. We also saw a tom leopard up on a leadwood tree where he was feeding on a tsessebe carcass. This male is Jane’s son from a previous litter.

Breeding herds of elephant could be seen crossing the river to access the green grazing on the islands and we also enjoyed watching them mud bathing. Big herds of buffalo were also coming to drink in the riverine areas and nearby guests were also able to enjoy good views of hippo out of the water. General game included impala, warthog, wildebeest, kudu, lechwe, tsessebe, zebra and roan antelope. We also saw plentiful giraffe including bulls fighting by “necking”.

Vultures were seen cleaning up the carcasses from the lion kills. Large flocks of pelicans were in the area and a highlight for some guests was seeing these striking birds flying in formation. Other bird sightings included African skimmers, fish eagles, yellow-billed storks, open-billed storks, secretary birds, white-faced ducks and tawny eagles.

(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, Sep 2019

KJONES_CAT2_WildDogs

At the start of the month the resident pack of five wild dogs were doing very well and we usually found them looking full. One day the pack was located feeding on a roan antelope near to the boat station. Another morning the dogs passed right through camp so we followed them as they moved on marking their territory and eventually, they killed an impala. At the start of the month this pack comprised two males and three females, however after a few weeks a male and female went missing, leaving just a pack of three. It is not certain whether the other two dogs dispersed naturally to find another pack, or whether some harm came to them. However, given the depleted numbers of this resident pack (which had originally started as seven), we were excited to find a new pack in the area which the guides named Rra Mosetha after the extremely pale alpha male. We saw this new pack make a kudu kill. Right at the end of the month we saw the pack of five fiercely attack the smaller group of three who eventually retreated.

A leopard was spotted resting close to a fallen baobab at the beginning of the month, but afterwards we didn’t have a leopard sighting for a few days. Then one morning one of our guides was doing early morning wake up calls and heard the call and growl of a leopard. The guides went to investigate and found a half-eaten impala carcass in camp. They followed the tracks through some Kalahari apple-leaf trees and were lucky enough to follow the beautiful cat for a while until she rested up on a sausage tree. Another morning we were entertained as she launched into a small tree to catch a squirrel at the end of a very thin branch. We also saw her catch and kill a steenbok. Towards month-end we were luckily enough to find two leopards mating at night.

As we were driving along the riverine area enjoying the beautiful early morning light, we came across a herd of antelope enjoying the green flush along the edge of the floodplains. We heard lions roaring and headed in their direction where we found two males and four females trying to cross a channel, but hesitating because of the presence of crocodiles. After an hour they started making contact calls and we heard cubs responding across the channel. Eventually the lionesses crossed over and the males followed thereafter.

The Mma Moselha pride comprising two females and three cubs were found eating a warthog at Kwena Lagoon. Another day, guests were enjoying their sundowner drinks when a herd of buffalo came down to drink. All of a sudden, the buffalo started to run and as we watched we saw a cloud of dust and heard a calf screaming. The gins and tonics were hastily packed away and on taking a closer look we saw that two lionesses were suffocating a calf. We watched for some time until the lions started feeding and dragged the carcass off into some bushes.

The huge Holy Pride comprised some 19 lions and were targeting big game such as elephant, buffalo, eland, kudu, wildebeest and zebra. They were hunting successfully and were seen on many different carcasses. The warthog specialists known as Mma Dikolobe Pride continued to deliver superb sightings. When we followed them hunting these skilled lionesses were almost guaranteed to make a kill.

One morning a lioness with three cubs confidently walked along the river in front of camp whilst guests were enjoying their early morning coffee in the main area.

The resident coalition of two cheetah brothers were found resting on a termite mound and we were amazed when they bravely, or perhaps rashly, decided to try their luck on a passing herd of approximately two thousand buffalo. Not surprisingly they were unsuccessful. We also saw two new bigger male cheetahs in the area again; they were first seen the previous month.  These new arrivals seem older than our usual males as they are much bigger and stronger physically.

General game was abundant all over the area. We encountered big herds of buffalo and elephants as well as roan and sable antelope. A pair of impala rams fighting was named as a highlight for some of our guests.

More than ten crocodiles were seen feeding on a hippo carcass near First Lagoon. There is one huge crocodile which has been nicknamed Hanad by the guides. Although it has a short tail the animal is estimated to be over five metres long and guides therefore think it could have attained the maximum life expectancy of 70 to 100 years.

We saw honey badgers during night drive. An unusually relaxed porcupine was seen feeding on rhizomes during the day. A serval was hunting rodents along the flood plains during the day, but he switched to fishing at night. Spotted hyenas were seen feeding on an elephant carcass.

The breeding colony of carmine bee-eaters at Kwena Lagoon continued to increase in size, creating an amazing spectacle for birders.

(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!)

Splash, Sep 2019

WMorgan.Cat1Leopard in tree Lebala

A pack of wild dogs comprising eleven adults and thirteen puppies were found resting after a successful hunt; the puppies were extremely playful making for some great photo opportunities. One evening during dinner at Splash camp the same pack made a kill of an impala between rooms four and five. As the lions were not far away, they heard the commotion and came in to take over the carcass. The following morning, we found the dogs highly mobile with two puppies missing and lions roaring in the direction that they had come from. Sadly, the two puppies never reappeared.

We watched in amazement as a different pack of fourteen adults and twelve puppies managed to kill three impala during a single chase.

The resident male cheetah known as Special was seen looking healthy and well-fed. One time we saw him bring down and kill a common reedbuck right in front of the safari vehicle. We also saw him chasing and killing a young warthog and a sub-adult reedbuck. A female cheetah with two cubs was new to the area, but was still skittish around vehicles so the guides were careful to give her lots of extra space until she gets used to us.

A female leopard, known as Splash girl seemed to have developed a taste for side-striped jackal and we saw her feeding on a remarkable four jackal carcasses during the month. A male leopard was seen south of Splash camp with a common reedbuck carcass up on a tree; we were able to revisit the animal over a four-day period, but still the leopard was quite shy.

The Splash pride of two lionesses with their six cubs were found hunting and they killed an impala. Later that evening they came through to Splash camp, the first time they have been seen there since they were pushed further west by the arrival of two new males late last year. Another time we heard zebra distress calls as we were still having early morning coffee in camp and started the safari only to find Splash Pride feeding on a carcass close to Room 1. Guests were able to take fantastic photos in great light. A few minutes later we came across two lionesses who are new to the area with their cubs. They had blood stains all over their faces so the guides suspected that they were the ones who had taken down the zebra, but Splash Pride had taken over their kill.  Splash Pride were also seen making unsuccessful attempts on reedbuck and warthog during the month. The cubs were very playful and enjoy climbing trees to the delight of our guests.

We saw the same new lionesses with their cubs a few times. The lionesses were still being careful to hide their newborn cubs in the marsh area, but we saw the adults on a warthog carcass, surrounded by vultures.

The two resident male lions were lucky enough to find a sick buffalo who they finished off and then enjoyed eating for the next three days. We also saw them trying to hunt tsessebe, but these fast antelope moved off too quickly for the lions

Mother Eye Pride managed to kill a tsessebe but lost it to spotted hyenas; the lions were up on a mound covered in blood watching the clan devour their meal. Another time we watched as two spotted hyenas made an attempt to chase some impala, but they didn’t manage to make a kill.

General game included giraffe who were feeding on sausage tree fruits in addition to their usual browsing. As the dry weather continued, there were big herds of elephants along the main channel. Guests enjoyed watching breeding herds drinking and mud-bathing. A roan antelope bull could be seen drinking at the camp waterhole in the mornings and afternoons. On the boat cruise we saw plenty of crocodiles and also had lovely sitatunga sightings.

The guides were delighted to discover a new aardwolf den. We were able to enjoy wonderfully relaxed sightings with a range of smaller mammals on night drive including serval, civet, African wild cat. A shy honey badger was seen close to the Splash parking area and another with a cub was seen digging for rodents by the side of a tree.

A beautiful group of four ostrich with their twenty-two chicks let us spend good time photographing them. It was breeding time for many of the birds in the region; at the Xobega heronry we found a good number of yellow-billed, marabou and open-billed storks nesting.

(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, Aug 2019

AForsythe.Cat1 Lions mating.jpg

A pair of lions were found mating fairly close to camp. They stayed in the same spot for many days, getting progressively thinner as they were not interested in hunting whilst they continued their honeymoon activities. This female was not usually part of the Tau Pan pride, but from a smaller group of three lionesses who are sometimes seen in the area. Towards the end of their time together the female seemed as though she wanted to get away from the male but he would not allow her to. Meanwhile the rest of the Tau Pan pride were regularly seen at the waterhole. The four other males, two lionesses and three sub-adults tried to stalk a giraffe as it came to drink, but the prey spotted them and managed to get away. In another spectacular sighting two male lions tried to ambush a wildebeest at speed, but the lions simply ended up with a rather comical bath in the waterhole as the herds stampeded away.

As the ongoing dry season continued the waterhole became very active with many species of game including wildebeest, steenbok, springbok, oryx, kudu and a lone elephant bull.  In addition to the lions we were also lucky enough to spot leopard and brown hyena drinking. We were thrilled that a caracal was seen very regularly at the waterhole and this medium sized cat was also hunting guinea fowl around the area. As the month progressed the caracal became bolder and more than once ate a dove just underneath the camp main deck.

The guides spotted fresh cheetah droppings on a termite mound near to Sunday Pan and after following the direction of the tracks they found a female by some bushes. We were able to find her a few more times as the month progressed. The resident female cheetah of the Tau Pan area was also located.

A male lion from the Deception Valley pride was located near to Letia Hau. He was looking very skinny and old. The landscape towards Deception Valley was noticeably greener than the Tau Pan area and looking very beautiful. On another day trip we came across two different female cheetah hunting springbok, one at Letia Hau and one at Passarge Valley.

An African wild cat was spotted hunting a korhaan, but he mistimed his jump and the bird was able to fly to safety. We located yellow mongoose and slender mongoose. Honey badgers could be seen digging for rodents. Other smaller mammals included black backed jackals and the rare Cape fox.

In the early morning huge flocks of sandgrouse and doves visited the waterhole in front of the main deck. Raptors such as tawny eagles were waiting for their opportunity. We saw a gabar goshawk take down a dove before a pale chanting goshawk stole the kill. On game drive at Tau Pan we observed  Northern black korhaans having a territorial fight.

(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, Aug 2019

ELandmann.Cat5NxaiPan2

As the weather started to get warmer elephants spent more time mud-bathing as well as drinking at the camp waterhole. This gave guests great opportunities to view the behaviour of the animals, and occasionally very close up photo opportunities as the animals came to investigate the camp swimming pool.

Three lionesses were located at the Wildlife Waterhole and the following day they had united with one of the resident males. These lions also tried to drink at the camp waterhole but were chased away by elephants who are very protective about the clean water that Kwando provides. One time we saw the lions stalking buffalo, but they were not successful.

Spotted hyena were seen a good number of times at the camp waterhole. In one particularly exciting encounter a lone spotted hyena decided to try his luck hunting blue wildebeest, but the whole herd turned on the predator and chased him away.

The camp waterhole was also visited by three buffalo bulls, warthogs, breeding herds of wildebeest, springbok, zebra and kudu. Day trips out to admire the huge trees at Baines Baobabs also yielded sightings of oryx in a herd of twenty and plenty of steenbok. Other general game included giraffe.

A male cheetah was located along the road in the middle of Nxai Pan.

There was evidence of a male leopard moving through camp and once during a bushman walk we found very fresh tracks from the previous night.

We saw a honey badgers digging for rodents and black-backed jackals were seen feeding on a guinea fowl carcass. We had a lovely view of bat-eared foxes lying close to a termite mound.

Ostrich were seen mating on different occasions, guests enjoying the ritual dance by the male. It was also breeding time for the vultures and we found both white-backed and lappet-faced vultures sitting on their nests. Other great birding ticks for the month were greater kestrels, tawny eagles, crimson-breasted shrikes, double-banded coursers, secretary birds, Bradfield’s hornbills and Cape penduline-tits. A martial eagle was seen eating a guinea fowl carcass behind the camp workshop; the resident pair seemed to be specialising on guinea fowl, however we also saw them eating a northern black korhaan and a slender mongoose. Guests enjoyed watching the brilliantly coloured lilac-breasted roller hawking for grasshoppers.

(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, Aug 2019

GTankard.Cat4warthogkill

The pack of two wild dogs were often hunting impala and steenbok in the camp area and then travelling back to the den to regurgitate for their puppies. The Wapoka Pride of lions sometimes took over the wild dogs’ kill and once this happened right in our car parking area. One day the puppies had been left on their own whilst the parents went hunting and the dominant male lion known as Old Gun came along. The puppies managed to make their escape before he could see them, supported by the alpha male dog who managed to divert the lion’s attention in the opposite direction. As the month went on the puppies started to accompany the adults on their hunting missions and we saw them hunting successfully near the airstrip and also killed multiple impala within camp itself.

The Wapoka Pride of nineteen lions were also doing well and they even managed to kill an elephant. In an amazing 48-hour period they killed four times in front of our vehicles including a simultaneous take down of an impala and a warthog. We also saw these lions feasting on a kudu bull, tsessebe and wildebeest. Once we came across them fighting with another pride and they had managed to steal a carcass from them when suddenly a herd of elephants appeared and started to chase all the lions.

A beautiful herd of fifteen sable antelope together with their nine calves were grazing as a mixed herd with zebra. We also saw roan antelope with their young. Other general game included red lechwe, warthog, impala, kudu, sitatunga, reedbuck, tsessebe, warthog, eland and steenbok.

The two resident cheetah brothers were located and we saw them feeding on red lechwe carcasses more than once. Once we saw them hunting but they were thwarted when their prey ran into the marshes.

Huge clouds of dust in the distance gave away the location of buffalo herds on the move. We also saw plenty of elephant and the cooler weather meant that sightings of hippo out of the water were good.

We were thrilled to find an aardvark two nights in a row as that is a very rare sighting. One very lucky night drive we located a pangolin along the airstrip road hopping on its hind legs, and later the same evening an aardwolf which was moving up and down looking for termites. We also saw honey badgers, porcupines, genets and wild cats during the month.

We located a male leopard hunting a couple of times. A female leopard was spotted hiding under a bush with her two cubs.

Flood waters were very slowly starting to seep into the Lebala area and so we enjoyed great birding. At Twin Pools African Skimmers could be seen living up to their name by flying close to the pools and skimming their lower mandibles through the water to feed. Other great bird sightings included fish eagles, vultures, white-faced ducks, goliath herons, Verreaux’s eagle owl, tawny eagles, marabou storks, carmine bee-eaters, black herons, pink-backed pelicans, African spoonbills and endangered wattled cranes.

(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, Aug 2019

BBreiding.Cat4Cheetas

We managed to track the two resident cheetah brothers until we found them resting and looking well fed. The following day we followed them as they hunted, although they kept missing their targets. Eventually they came across a herd of impala from a distance so we positioned to be able to photograph the action and this time they were lucky enough to take their prey down. We were able to spend quality time with the pair getting amazing photos. We saw them throughout the month, sometimes marking their territory. In an exciting development another, younger, pair of cheetah males were seen for the first time in the area.

A young female leopard was seen a few times, twice we saw her posing with a kill up a tree and on one night drive we spotted her hunting impala.

Right in front of camp we picked up lion tracks and followed them until we found a female and six sub-adults of the Bonga Pride hunting kudu, however the area was too open and the predators were quickly spotted by the antelope who bolted away to safety.  We also came across Wapoka Pride who were unusually far away from their Lebala hunting grounds; they were trying their luck on some wildebeest but did not succeed.

The next day a baboon alarm call gave away the presence of the Holy Pride of lions; the cubs were playing and an adult pair were mating. The honeymoon couple continued their behaviour over several days. We saw this pride of nineteen lions successfully bring down and kill a fully-grown eland bull. Three intruder male lions known as the Northern Males were in the area regularly and tried to take over dominance of the Holy Pride. They came off worse in the battle and were seen with bad wounds.

To complete the extraordinary month of cat sightings we also had a pair of lionesses with three cubs of a few months old known as Mmamosetha Pride and another pair with four cubs that the guides called Mma Dikolobe due to the fact that they specialise in hunting warthogs

Buffalo in herds numbering hundreds of individuals could be seen moving daily towards the riverine areas and one day our sundowner stop was interrupted by several elephant herds passing through to drink. Mixed herds of zebra and wildebeest were also massing. Relaxed sable and roan antelope could be reliably found drinking at First and Second Lagoon. Other general game included impala, kudu and giraffe

The resident pack of five wild dogs were found hunting impala and sometimes came right into camp. We also followed them as they pursued and killed a kudu calf. A different pack of seven was seen close to Muddy Waters.

Night drives yielded good sightings such as porcupines, honey badgers, aardwolf and servals.

We were happy to see the return of the carmine bee-eaters who migrate to the area each year to breed on the banks of the lagoons. The colour and noise from these colonies is a remarkable wildlife experience. Closer to home, a tiny scops owl continued to live in the tree right by the fireplace and could be seen huddled up camouflaging against the bark during early morning breakfast.

(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!)

Splash, Aug 2019

bmazzucaActionDogscaughtHog

We continued observing the resident wild dog pack who adopted three puppies from their neighbours. The pack now numbered eight adults and fourteen young including the new additions. It was interesting to note that all of the puppies were being treated equally by the adults. At the start of the month all seemed to be doing well, however during the month one of the “kidnapped” puppies disappeared, presumed dead. The puppies were at a very playful age, providing great entertainment for our guests. We were able to follow the pack many times as they chased and brought down their prey, mainly impala.

The resident male lions were found feeding on an elephant calf. A couple of days later the remains of this huge feast was being finished off by a clan of fifteen hyena with large numbers of vultures waiting for their chance at the carcass. These lions were targeting substantial prey and we also saw them feeding on a kudu bull and a buffalo. The two males were also seen marking their territory by spraying on bushes, an important activity because three new males were seen in the Kwara Reserve for the first time, appearing from the east and travelling towards Splash. A new pride of two females with seven cubs was also found; although the six-month cubs were very shy their mothers appeared to be well used to vehicles.

Meanwhile at the start of the month the resident Splash pride were looking hungry. We saw the two females trying to hunt zebra, but their six cubs were more of a hindrance than a help and scared the prey away. They eventually started managing to make some kills including warthog and by the middle of the month were seen feasting on an elephant carcass. One day we found them chasing a pack of wild dogs.

One Eye Pride were located hunting initially without success, but a few days later they we found them feeding on their target prey of waterbuck.

A resident female leopard was located up on a tree, eyeing up a nearby herd of red lechwe and a male was found with a porcupine kill up a tree; it was no doubt a tricky manoeuvre to lift this prickly carcass into place and the meal kept him busy for a couple of days.

There was plenty of cheetah action during September, with sightings on 23 separate days. The resident male spent about three weeks hunting near to Splash camp and we were lucky enough to witness him hunting impala and making a kill. He also was seen feeding on steenbok. A female cheetah with her three sub-adult cubs was hunting very successfully in the area and we saw them feeding on reedbuck and impala. A different lone female cheetah was spotted hunting at sunset. We revisited the area in the morning and found her feeding on a reedbuck. She was also seen with her sub-adult son feeding on impala.

A clan of four spotted hyenas were observed nursing their cubs.

Night drives were productive. A drive after dinner one night yielded springhare, African civet, African wild cat, bat-eared foxes, six hyena, a serval and a marsh owl. Other smaller mammals seen during the month included honey badgers and porcupines.

Good numbers of general game species could be found grazing on the edge of the floodplain near Tsum Tsum including a lovely herd of sixteen sable antelopes and some eland.  We were excited to discover sable and roan antelope were also turning up at the Splash camp waterhole. Zebra were plentiful. Big herds of buffalo could be seen heading towards the permanent water channels and family groups of elephant could be observed drinking, playing and dust-bathing.

There were some interesting raptor sightings. A bateleur eagle was seen feeding on a side-striped jackal whilst a martial eagle killed and ate a yellow-billed stork. One morning a Verreaux’s eagle owl was seen eating a snake. Endangered wattled cranes and ground hornbills continued to thrive in the Kwara Reserve.

(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!)