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!)

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