Lebala, July 2019

WhatsApp Image 2019-07-20 at 10.09.12

Sightings were incredible at Lebala during July, and very close to home. We had four kills within the camp itself in the space of a week, once by lions and the rest by wild dogs.

(We do not usually get actual footage of the sightings in camp, but the guides and camp team were only too excited to share what went down in camp! With this post are actual photos and videos of the sightings!)

We managed to track the pack of two wild dogs after they made a kill in camp and were excited to discover that they had a den with seven puppies. One morning, just as we were enjoying porridge at the fireplace, we heard the distress call of an impala at the bridge right in front of camp and found the two wild dogs eating an impala. It took them 40 minutes to finish the carcass – a bit longer than usual because they were running back and forth to their den a kilometre away to regurgitate for their youngsters. This pack was feeding on impala most of the time, once being chased around by a sounder of four warthogs who were not at all happy about their presence. Another time we found the adults and puppies running towards a spot where the alpha pair had made an impala kill.

The resident pride of lions was located practically every day with the eleven playful cubs always providing entertainment even when the adults were sleeping. We were often lucky enough to see the pride hunting and more than once witnessed them making a kill right in front of the vehicle. One evening they came right through camp hunting as all the guests were having dinner, providing great excitement for our guests. A few days later they killed a huge old buffalo bull near to our manager’s house and the guides were quickly alerted to bring their guests back to Lebala to watch the whole pride including the cubs feasted. They stayed on this carcass for several days, causing us to have to put in place some additional security measures to keep staff and guests safe as we walked around camp.

Once the two males were found feeding on a kudu by themselves, but at the same time they flushed out a female leopard who bolted from the thick bush up a tree. It was incredible seeing the two different cat species in one sighting. The following day the rest of the pride joined the males to finish up the carcass. A lone intruder lion with an injured eye briefly appeared in the area during July.

We saw leopard a few times during July but sightings were relatively scarce, probably due to the heavy lion presence in the Kwando reserve at the moment.

The resident coalition of two cheetah brothers were located resting, but soon got up and were moving around as though to start a hunting mission.

Spotted hyenas were denning in the area and so were seen fairly regularly.

General game included sable antelope, giraffe, wildebeest, impala, kudu, red lechwe and warthog. A wonderful herd of twenty-six roan antelope including ten calves were in the area.

Now that the inland waterholes had dried up lots of elephants could be seen crossing the river to and from the marshes. Guests enjoyed watching them mud-bathing and listening to their vocalisations as they prepared to move along. We also saw buffalo in breeding herds of up to 50 individuals. The dust clouds that they created could be seen from a distance, attracting the attention of the Wapoka lions.

Smaller mammals encountered included honey badger, spring hare and porcupine. An aardwolf was seen foraging for termites during night drive.

Bird sightings included vultures, Verreaux’s eagle owl, tawny eagle, marabou storks and saddle-billed storks. Birds associated with water such as spurwing geese, white-faced duck, African jacana, African spoonbill, fish eagles, herons and ibis could be seen by the channels. Pink-backed pelicans delighted guests by flying in beautiful formations before landing in the pools.

WhatsApp Image 2019-07-27 at 17.53.14

 

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