Lebala, Nov 2019

DNibouar.Cat1five cubs.jpg

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!)

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