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!)

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