Tau Pan, Nov 2019

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In what was arguably Kwando’s most unusual sighting for 2019, a bull elephant was struck by lightning right in front of the game drive vehicle as guests were photographing him. Given that there are very few elephants in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve it was a most bizarre event to witness. Luckily our guests not too disturbed and were able to appreciate that the elephant’s instant death would give life to others. Over the course of the next week the carcass was eaten up by lions and vultures. Unusually, the five males of the Tau Pan pride allowed a sixth adult male to join them as they fed on the elephant.

The Tau Pan pride were regularly seen at the camp waterhole, sometimes as a group of ten which included three sub-adults, other times in smaller numbers. One day we saw a lioness trying to stalk some springbok, but they picked up her scent and scattered in different directions.

A different pair of lionesses, mother and her sub-adult daughter, who prefer the western side of the area were seen a few times hanging out at the airstrip near to the windsock. We also saw them feasting on an oryx as we drove out to Passarge Valley.

Yet another pride of lions who were new to the area were seen drinking at the camp waterhole. This group comprised two black-maned males, two females and a sub-adult male estimated to be just under three years old. We followed them to the edge of the pan and that afternoon they managed to successfully bring down and kill a kudu.

During day trips we found two lionesses resting at the Sunday Pan waterhole. A female cheetah with three cubs was located in Deception Valley and a different female cheetah at Letia Hau. On different trips we found the Deception Valley pride of eight lions and also saw a male cheetah chasing some springbok. A coalition of three male cheetahs was seen in Passarge Valley a couple of times, although they were still shy.

A male leopard was seen near to the airstrip resting on a branch and scanning the area for potential prey.

Bat-eared foxes with five cubs were observed playing at Tau Pan. We were able to spend quality time with an African wild cat who was trying his luck on ground squirrels.

After the first rains of the season large numbers of springbok and wildebeest started to arrive in Tau Pan. The camelthorn trees at the waterhole started to produce new leaves providing shade for other general game species such as giraffe, oryx and kudu as they came to drink. We still had a resident elephant hanging out near to camp and he could be seen calmly browsing.

White-backed vultures and tawny eagles waited near the lion kills looking for their chance to scavenge. Summer migrants that arrived during November included the red-backed shrike and lesser grey shrike.

(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, Nov 2019

Desert Storms

November brought the first proper rains of the season to Nxai Pan. Afterwards, springbok could be seen jumping around as though excited by the change in weather. Plant species such as the trumpet thorn came into bloom and the magnificent trees at Baines Baobabs were resplendent with new foliage.

With the natural waterholes filling with rainfall, the game was less concentrated around the two artificial waterholes which are maintained by Kwando Safaris and the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Nevertheless, these two spots were still a great place to find species such as elephant, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, springbok, steenbok and impala. Day trips to Baines Baobabs yielded good sightings of oryx feeding on the new shoots of grass and we also saw lion in that area. Right at the end of the month we saw a herd of approximately 2,000 zebras near Baines Baobabs, heralding the first wave of the herbivores’ annual migration to Nxai Pan.

The resident pride of lions was regularly located at the waterholes as they waited for prey animals to come down and drink. The pride included three cubs who all seemed to be doing well. One day a dominant male was seen fighting with a young male, leaving the older cat with a wound on his front leg. Although the younger lion was also limping, we saw him the next day with a lioness so it appeared that he had won that particular battle for supremacy. At the end of the month we saw one of the resident males mating a lioness. Another time we enjoyed the comical sight of a lioness playing with a leopard tortoise.

A pack of nine wild dogs was located a couple of times near to the Department of Wildlife camping ground. They were full-bellied and resting.

Bat-eared foxes were seen at their den on Middle Road. On one occasion a black-backed jackal showed a bit too much interest in the fox cubs and so the parent foxes attacked the jackal.

A male cheetah was located a few times and was in good condition.

Lots of spider-hunting wasps were feeding on harvester termites. The fungus growth termites started leaving termite mounds in large numbers, taking to the wing as alates after the first heavy rains. Notable reptile sightings for the month included black mamba and leopard tortoises.

Summer migrants returning back to Nxai Pan included European bee-eaters, swallow-tailed bee-eaters, blue-cheeked bee-eaters, woolly-necked storks, steppe buzzards, black-winged pratincoles and Jacobin cuckoos. Nest-building for species such as the white-browed sparrow weavers was well underway and we saw a pair of secretary birds sitting atop their nest. Other species seen during November included greater kestrel, kori bustard, crimson-breasted shrike and ostrich. Three species of vultures (white-headed, white-backed and lappet-faced) were seen feeding on an elephant carcass. Big flocks of Burchell’s sandgrouse could be seen at the camp waterhole, soaking their specially adapted breast feathers so that they could take water back to their chicks. As the rains continued to arrive, birds more commonly associated with water started to be observed, such as the red-billed teal.

(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, Nov 2019

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We saw the large Wapoka pride most days during the month; they were feeding on warthog, buffalo, zebra and other antelope species. At the start of the month we found them feasting on a hippo along the channel by the camp’s hide. The hippo appeared to have died from a fight with another hippo as it had some deep puncture wounds on its body. We enjoyed a lovely sighting of the pride walking through the camp, playing with their cubs until they went to rest in the marsh near the hide. We watched as the lions waited for wildebeest to come and drink from the channel, but they were unsuccessful. After a particularly hungry day they finally managed to catch a warthog and squabbled noisily over this meal which provided a meagre ration for the seventeen lions. A few days later they managed to kill a buffalo and then the same day a zebra, but still they continued to fight with each other for the food and pushed each other around even though by this stage they were looking very full. Sometimes the two males known as Sebastian and Old Gun joined the pride; we witnessed them driving off a young male who originally left the pride two years previously. Another intruder male came across the river from the Caprivi Strip and was busy making territorial calls and scent marking.

At Halfway Pan we located two lionesses and four cubs known as Mma D’s Pride. One time we were watching them rest when a sable antelope walked straight towards them. The lions stalked their prey and although their final chase was unsuccessful, it was a very exciting encounter.

A young lioness with her three newly born cubs was found west of the airstrip. She appeared to be actively avoiding the Wapoka Pride.

The small resident pack of two wild dogs were seen hunting impala and they managed to bring one down in the middle of the marshes. They have two puppies who appeared to be doing well. Another lone wild dog was seen wandering around for a few days but then we sadly found him dead near to where the lions were feeding. Its carcass was being finished up by vultures.

A new aardwolf den was discovered with three cubs and we were lucky enough to find them playing outside with their mother. We also found a jackal den with four pups. One morning we were lucky enough to find an African civet moving through the grass at about 9.30am – unusual for this nocturnal animal which is rarely seen in broad daylight. We also saw African wild cat, large spotted genet, honey badgers and serval during night drive.

Spotted hyenas were observed taunting a young male lion who was finishing off a red lechwe carcass. They were also seen hanging around the Wapoka Pride whilst they were on kills, hoping for the chance for some bones at the end of the lion’s feast.

A female leopard was found trying her luck on some impala, but was unlucky. We also saw a female climb up a tree to look out for prey species, giving us a great photo opportunity.

We saw the two resident brother cheetahs a couple of times during the month.

As the hot weather continued, herds of elephant up to two hundred strong could be seen visiting the river channels to drink and mud-bathe. General game species included wildebeest, zebra, warthog, common reedbuck, steenbok, impala, kudu, giraffe, sable and roan antelope. We were lucky enough to find a herd of six sitatunga grazing in a mixed herd with red lechwe.

A flock of two hundred pelicans were seen in a single pool at Lechwe Corner. As we watched them, a roan antelope and two male lions were also present.

(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, Nov 2019

RAndrewsCat7BrownHyena

During November, Lagoon guests were able to experience a remarkable combination of predator breeding behaviour as we were fortunate enough to have active dens for brown hyena, aardwolf, bat-eared fox and (very out of season) wild dogs. In addition, lions and leopards were also seen mating.

The brown hyena den had fresh tracks and a few times an adult was visible outside the den. The aardwolf den was very active, especially in the early hours of the morning and we were able to enjoy the cubs interacting with their parents. A new bat-eared fox den was discovered and one day we found the adults harassing a honey badger that was trying to enter their den. As the month progressed, we saw that they had six fox cubs. Other smaller mammals encountered during night drives included African civet, African wild cat, porcupines and spotted hyenas. One time we were lucky enough to come across a relaxed porcupine during the day.

Unusually for the time of year, the resident wild dog pack of two females and three males were found denning. We were able to watch them catching impala, but in another less successful hunting mission they had to turn tail and run back towards their den as they were chased by a herd of wildebeest.

As we stopped to take a picture of a broad-billed roller, we heard the mating call of leopards behind the nearby bushes. We quietly moved closer and found our resident female looking very relaxed but her suitor was shyer and he quickly moved off. After staying with the female for a while we heard the male calling and so decided to leave the female in peace as she went to re-join him in the thick mopane woodland. We came across the pair again a few days later when the female was seen chasing off a sub-adult who was trying to join her. Later in the month we enjoyed an exciting encounter with a tom leopard who was in hunting mode. Although he was not lucky on that occasion, our guests were able to get some stunning photos as he stood up on termite mounds surveying the area for prey. The following day we were able to watch him as he stalked impala.

We picked up tracks of a male lion who appeared to have paced repeatedly up and down the road. As we got down to investigate, we saw him disappearing into some bushes and moving closer we found a male with a young lioness, with two other males watching nearby. This was the three Northern males and it seemed that they were extending their territory southwards. The lionesses that they with were two who had broken away from the large Wapoka Pride that is usually found closer to Lebala camp. These lions were also seen feeding on a buffalo carcass and stalking wildebeest and warthog.

The Northern Pride lioness with four subadults was located a few times, including near to camp. We saw them trying to hunt buffalo, but without success.

We followed tracks from the resident two cheetah brothers all the way from the airstrip to Second Lagoon where we found them having a drink. We saw them trying their luck on kudu and red lechwe without success, but were lucky enough to see them bring down and kill a common reedbuck. We also saw a bigger, older, coalition of two male cheetahs feeding at various times on eland and tsessebe.

General game species included zebra, eland, giraffe, wildebeest, tsessebe, kudu, impala, warthog, red lechwe, sable and roan antelope. Breeding herds of elephant could be seen mud-bathing and crossing the channels. We were lucky enough to come across a pair of leopard tortoises mating.

Trapped fish in drying pools attracted many different species including pink-backed pelicans, slaty egrets and different kinds of stork. Spoonbills were also located in the same area. Long-crested eagles were seen, this being prime time to find them in the Kwando Reserve. Other notable bird sightings included Verreaux’s (Giant) eagle owls, woodland kingfishers, saddle-billed storks and carmine bee-eaters.

(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 / Kwara, Nov 2019

jvarley.Cat2 Cheetah

The resident male cheetah known as Special was seen hunting and killing a common reedbuck. A female cheetah with a three-month-old cub was located hunting on the eastern side of camp. Another cheetah mother with a sub-adult son was also spotted. One remarkable day all five cheetahs met up; the two females started to chase each other, leaving Mr Special as a somewhat unwilling babysitter to the two youngsters. The female with the younger cub eventually came and collected her offspring, leaving the other female to mate with Special whilst her cub continued to call for her.

In another great sighting we found a sub-adult female leopard trying her luck with impala but at the end of her approach the impala saw her and took off. However, the antelope ended up running straight into a female cheetah who succeeded in bringing one down. The leopard then came in trying to steal the kill, but the cheetah bravely fought for the right to her hard-won meal.

In a territorial challenge, three intruder male lions were seen roaring and following the resident males who were running away from them. Two separate pairs of lions were seen mating. A new pride to the area comprising two males and two females managed to kill a buffalo near to the mokoro station. The Splash Pride of two lionesses and six sub-adults were still in the area and doing well. They attracted the attention of two males from the Zulu Boys, well-known visitors to the Kwara Reserve. The Splash Pride were also seen hunting buffalo and zebra.

We managed to locate three separate aardwolf dens in the area and at the most established the cubs could be seen playing near the entrance, whilst the mother stood nearby.

The Marsh Pack of twenty-five wild dogs were located hunting more than once, variously killing impala, common reedbuck and tsessebe calves, sometimes right at camp. Once we saw them feeding on a fully-grown kudu bull which was the biggest prey we have yet seen them take down. This pack is made up of thirteen adults and twelve puppies of about 6 months old; the youngsters have grown well and join the adults on all their hunts.

The Kwara pack of twenty-six wild dogs were located early one morning running around camp hunting and eventually killed two impala at the same time.

Two tom leopards were seen in a territorial fight to the north of Kwara camp. Eventually one backed away leaving the other to go and rest on top of a tree. A very relaxed female leopard was hunting monkeys and eventually managed to catch a baby vervet to the consternation of the troop. A different female continued to specialise in hunting jackal.

Spotted hyenas were seen feeding on a dead elephant, chasing away vultures and jackals who were also trying to scavenge. We also saw a clan of ten hyena waiting for lions to finish up with a buffalo carcass.

Following the first rains general game in the area was very good with buffalo herds up to two hundred grazing the green areas that had previously been flooded. Tsessebe started dropping their calves. Big herds of zebra could be seen grazing, grooming each other and sun-bathing. Near to the boat station, a serious territorial fight between two common reedbuck lasted more than twenty minutes. Victory was eventually claimed by the sub-adult bull. Other game species included giraffe, wildebeest and impala. There were plenty of elephants in the area including a breeding herd of about forty drinking and mud-bathing at the Splash camp waterhole.

A pride of four ostrich were seen feeding on fresh jasmine leaves emerging along the firebreak

A serval was seen catching a bullfrog on the road before killing making off with it. We saw African wildcat during night drive.

(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, Oct 2019

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In a fantastic sighting we found that the ten lions of the Tau Pan pride had treed a leopard who was looking down very nervously at the formidable lions below. We also enjoyed seeing this impressive pride regularly at the camp waterhole. A pair of lions from the resident pride were mating at the waterhole, however the antelope were so desperate for water in the searing October heat that they still crept down to drink, despite the courting couple. The following day there seemed to be much competition between the five males of the Tau Pan coalition for the attentions of the single female in oestrus. The males created quite a commotion with roaring and chasing which meant that the antelope didn’t dare to come close enough to drink. At other times we saw various members of the pride feasting on oryx and kudu. A female from another pride came to check out the Tau Pan males, but she was attacked by the resident lionesses and she slunk back to rejoin the other female that she hangs with.

A different pride of lions was discovered at Passarge Junction looking very full after they had killed and eaten an oryx. They were surrounded by over thirty vultures who were waiting for the lions to finish their meal. On another day trip to Deception Valley we stopped at Sunday Pan and came across lions who were finishing up a kudu that they had killed the previous day. However, we saw that they had also killed a lioness from a competing pride and to our surprise they were also eating her remains.

A lone elephant continued to hang between the camp and the waterhole, enjoying a mud wallow in the afternoons.

A female leopard was located at the camp waterhole drinking. We also saw a well-fed tom patrolling his territory which he was marking by spraying bushes with urine.

Two different cheetah were located on the same day in different places on a day trip to Deception Valley.

Bat-eared foxes were denning at Tau Pan.

Good general game could be seen concentrated around the waterhole at Sunday Pan. At the camp waterhole big herds could be seen coming in for a drink including a group of fifty kudu with some impressively-sized males. At Tau Pan the game ventured outside of the actual pan to take advantage of fresh shoots in the surrounding bushes. Species included oryx, giraffe, kudu, springbok and wildebeest.

Bird life was great with sightings of tawny eagles, black-chested snake-eagles, pale chanting goshawks and yellow-billed kites. We saw a big flock of vultures come to the waterhole to drink and wash themselves after they had finished eating a 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, Oct 2019

TAbt.Cat9.Elephants at Waterhole.NxaiPan

The high temperatures in Botswana persisted through October, bringing huge herds of animals to the waterhole. The elephants continued to dominate the precious resource, so antelope species and even lions were driven away from the water.

We were lucky enough to witness a cheetah stalking and killing a steenbok in the middle of the pan, but close to the road.

A pride of four lions, a big male and three lionesses, were seen feeding on an elephant carcass for several days. The following week two of them were found mating and we saw them on a regular basis as they continued their honeymoon. A different lioness was seen drinking alone at the camp waterhole and also hunting springbok. We saw the four lions regularly; they were often hanging around the wildlife waterhole being warily watched by herds of antelope as they came to drink. One of the lionesses was heavily pregnant and seemed to be distancing herself from the rest of the pride as her delivery time came close. We enjoyed seeing the whole resident pride of seven, including their three sub-adult cubs, as they rested very full-bellied close to the Wildlife Waterhole after they had devoured a greater kudu. Another time a kudu got stuck in the camp waterhole and when the exhausted animal it eventually got out it was taken by a lioness.

Four bat-eared foxes were located regularly along Middle Road, and towards the end of the month they showed us their four new cubs. We also found African wild cat and plenty of black-backed jackals.

A leopard was seen drinking from the water tanks in camp one evening.

Three buffalo bulls continued to regularly visit the camp waterhole.

Spotted hyenas were seen a few times, including drinking at the camp waterhole.

A big black mamba was seen during game drive. In a mini-drama guests were fascinated watching a spider-killing wasp catching and eating a grasshopper.

General game included zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and springbok. Oryx were located along the road to Baines Baobabs. The baobabs themselves have now got their leaves making these giant trees even more impressive than ever.

Bird sightings included secretary birds and kori bustards. Both lappet-faced and white-backed vultures were seen finishing off an elephant carcass. A pair of ostrich were seen mating close to Middle Road and a different pair already had twelve chicks, estimated to be a couple of weeks old. Guests enjoyed ticking off crimson-breasted shrikes, blacksmith lapwings, gabar goshawks, pale chanting goshawks, northern black korhaans and marico flycatchers.

(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, Oct 2019

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Lebala was closed in October for 2 weeks for maintenance, but during the rest of the month, sightings were still productive.

Three male lions were located by Lechwe Corner and looked as though they had been fighting as they had injuries. Another male was found feeding on a hippo which looked as though it had been killed the previous night. We found the Wapoka pride gorging themselves on a young elephant that that they had killed. They were surrounded by vultures and marabou storks waiting for their chance to scavenge. Another time we found this large pride of sixteen feeding on two separate buffalos that they managed to bring down at once. The tables were turned in different exciting sighting; the lions were resting when a herd of buffalo started charging them and sent the startled cats scampering off into the bushes. The pride was feeding regularly – one day we saw them enjoying a red lechwe for breakfast and a kudu for lunch. As well as the big game, the Wapoka pride also had the occasional warthog snack.

In the northern section we found four sub-adult male lions who had killed a zebra and were very protective about the carcass, taking it in turns to go to the river to drink whilst others stayed to guard their meal.

We saw the wild dogs a few times and they seemed to be looking healthy and well-fed.

We enjoyed some good leopard sightings, and one time were lucky enough to find two different leopards in a single day.

The coalition of two cheetah brothers were located feeding on a red lechwe.

General game included impala, zebra, giraffe, red lechwe, kudu, warthog roan and sable antelope. Big herds of buffalo and elephants were drawn to the channels.

Guests enjoyed watching a very active honey badger as it foraged in the ground. We saw aardwolf looking for termites. Other smaller mammals included African wild cats and bat-eared foxes.

Notable bird sightings included spurwing geese, African fish eagles, goliath herons, African spoonbill, pied kingfishers, tawny eagles pelicans, wattled cranes, brown snake-eagles, open-billed and saddle-billed storks.

(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, Oct 2019

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The pack of five wild dogs were seen hunting along the flood plains. In a scenario that is unusual at the best of times, let alone in October, the beta female appears to be heavily pregnant. This is the same pack that lost their puppies earlier in the year to lions. It will be interesting to see how they get on since wild dogs are not usually successful raising puppies when the weather is so hot. One day we were watching them as a herd of elephant came and started chasing the dogs around.

Smaller mammals encountered included bat-eared foxes, porcupines, servals, civets, African wild cat, springhare, servals and honey badgers. There were plenty of both black-backed and side-striped jackals. Troops of baboons and vervet monkeys were foraging along the edges of the flood plains. We saw a male baboon and his consorting female eating a scrub hare that they had killed. A pair of aardwolf were found in a den close to the main road. Bat-eared foxes were also denning and after sitting quietly for fifteen minutes we were lucky enough to see a tiny cub pop out to join its mother.

A pride of two females with four cubs known as “Mma D” were discovered looking extremely round-bellied after they had devoured an eland. A few days later we watched them hunt and kill a buffalo calf. A different pride of three females and three cubs formed a hunting party with the two resident males and we watched as they killed a buffalo as it was coming down to drink. By the following week they had three buffalo carcasses stashed in the blue bushes by Second Lagoon and we were lucky enough to witness a brown hyena coming to investigate them. The resident males were seen often and we found them feeding on a red lechwe that they apparently had killed in the morning.

The resident two cheetah brothers were seen marking their territory with two spotted hyenas resting close by. The next day we watched as they tried to target a buffalo calf, but they did not succeed. Another younger pair of male cheetahs had been seen in the area but sadly we found that one of them had been killed by lions. We found the other brother a few days later looking very hungry, but seemed as though he was missing his partner as he was not interested in hunting. A larger, older coalition of two cheetah males were also still in the area and we found them on a newly killed female tsessebe that was heavily pregnant. We also located them feeding on an eland calf.

A female leopard was located on a sausage tree but we were able to follow her as she went off hunting until she killed a steenbok and dragged it into the bushes.

As the dry weather continued big herds of elephants and buffalo were massing near to the water sources.

General game hot spots included some previously burned flood plains at Muddy Waters as well as the lagoons and river. Many species were grazing together in mixed herds including zebra, wildebeest, kudu, tsessebe, impala, giraffe, waterbuck, red lechwe, reedbuck, steenbok, roan and sable antelope. Very large herds of eland made a striking sight.

As the drought continued the hippo population started to take strain and many died of natural causes. Although this was tough to see, it is part of the natural cycle and provided food for crocodiles, vultures, storks and other scavengers.

An African python was seen confidently crossing the road and heading towards the tree line.

Bird sightings included many stork species: open-billed, saddle-billed, yellow-billed and marabou. As well as the more usual heron species we also located goliath herons and the black-crowned night heron. The breeding colony of carmine bee-eaters was still going strong with hundreds of birds making an amazing spectacle and there was a different nesting site for white-fronted bee-eaters. In a spectacularly colourful argument, a broad-billed roller was seen fighting a lilac-breasted roller for a nesting site. Four species of vulture (hooded, lappet-faced, white-headed and white-backed) were seen scavenging carcasses. Yellow-billed kites migrated back to the area. A Verreaux’s (Giant) eagle owl was seen perched at dusk, ready to begin hunting.

(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 / Kwara, Oct 2019

FDSchoeniger.Cat4fightingforfood - Splash

Lions were seen every single day on Kwara Reserve during October. The One Eye Pride were located near to Splash camp. A male known as “Big Man” was mating a lioness whilst the others were resting. This courtship went on for several days. Splash Pride of two lionesses and six cubs were often around Splash camp. They managed to kill an elephant calf during nightfall and we saw them feasting on the carcass the following day. We also saw them eating greater kudu, with spotted hyena waiting nearby for the chance to steal. Another time they managed to bring down a warthog, but the male lion took the meal for himself.

A new pride comprising two lionesses and their seven cubs were seen feeding on zebra and kudu. The cubs were still very young and just getting used to the vehicles.

Two male lions who have been in different parts of the Kwara Reserve over the past year ended up bumping into each other and a big fight ensued with plenty of roaring. Big Man emerged the victor and Mr Limping was pushed away.

A leopard cub was found located up on a tree by himself, waiting for his mother to return from hunting. The resident female leopard known as Splash girl was seen regularly. A tom leopard was feeding on an impala high up on a tree, but gave us a good view. Guests were thrilled to be able to see another tom resting on a tree branch as they were on their mokoro trip!

The resident pack of eight wild dogs with their eleven puppies were doing well and we were able to follow them as they made a successful hunt of a reedbuck near to the boat station. We also saw them kill several impalas, although one time their meal was taken from them by a pride of lions. There was a period of a few days where these dogs disappeared and the guides tried in vain to find them. Then one morning we were delighted to find them not only back in the area but actually waiting for us at the breakfast area at Splash camp! Another time they made a kill of an impala within Kwara camp.

A second larger pack of fourteen adults and twelve puppies were hunting extremely productively in the marsh area. One morning they managed to managed to kill an impala and a red lechwe and the next afternoon they brought down another impala and a reedbuck. All four carcasses were eaten in the water. Another time we saw them chasing impala, but the antelope managed to make her escape by swimming across the channel.

In yet more wild dog excitement, a third pack of twenty-six arrived from Khwai, arrived into our area and we followed them as they chased a reedbuck into the channel. It was a bad day for the dogs, but a good day for a crocodile who opportunistically seized his moment and took the reedbuck down.

The well-known male cheetah, “Special”, was located feeding on an impala which he had killed that afternoon. Another time we were following him as he missed a few chances, but then a warthog piglet ran straight towards him and he was able to grab his meal. A female cheetah with her male cub had not been seen for some time so we were happy to discover them one afternoon. We followed them as they hunted and killed a reedbuck. There was another female who we saw nursing her two cubs. After they finished feeding the cubs climbed on top of their mother making for some cute photo opportunities.

Spotted hyenas were seen feeding on the bones of a buffalo carcass.

As the dry weather continued and the temperatures started to sky-rocket, a good number of elephants were showing up at the river for drinking, fighting, swimming and mud wallowing. Buffalo were also in the area. Two sable bulls were seen at Splash camp waterhole. Other general game included roan antelope, kudu, reedbuck, red lechwe, impala, zebra and giraffe.

We were lucky enough to find an active aardwolf den and in a special sighting were able to watch the mother nursing her three new cubs. On night drives we encountered African wild cat, genet and serval.

Notable bird sightings included ground hornbills and on a boat trip we were lucky enough to find a Pel’s fishing owl. It is always pleasing to see summer migrants return to the area and in October these included yellow-billed kites and southern carmine bee-eaters. Yellow-billed storks were seen near to the water and guests enjoyed photographing an African fish eagle devouring a fish. At the Xobega Lagoon and Gadikwe Heronry the storks, herons and ibis were busy 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!)