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!)

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