Lebala, Jan 2020

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The resident pack of four wild dogs were hunting successfully and more than once we saw them take down two impalas during one chase. Another time we watched as the impala they were chasing spectacularly leapt to safety across the river. On one occasion the dogs’ impala kill was stolen by a sub-adult male lion who came rushing in out of nowhere at high speed, forcing the dogs to run away. At times, we enjoyed seeing the pack running around and playing with each other, developing their social bonds.

The Wapoka pride were seen hunting zebra and red lechwe. A female with three cubs was seen killing a warthog piglet which she immediately gave to her youngsters, rather than eat it herself. These cubs were seen playing with a small tree, until the lioness hid them in a bush whilst she went stalking wildebeest.

The two resident males lions were located finishing up a wildebeest that they had killed. These males often engaged in load roaring to reconnect with each other after they split up to patrol. They made an impressive sight striding through the plains together, watched by impala who were snorting alarm calls.

A young male lion was nicknamed Nomad as he wandered around on his own and as yet had no territory. However, he seemed to be doing well fending for himself and we saw him chasing warthogs. We also saw two intruder male lions at Halfway Pan.

The coalition of two resident cheetah brothers were found feeding on a kill.

The resident young tom leopard known as Fisherman was spotted hunting a few of times, although not successfully.

General game included impala, kudu, giraffe, red lechwe, buffalo, steenbok, wildebeest, eland, sable, warthogs, zebras, reedbuck, red lechwe and sitatunga.

Big herds of elephants were in the area, some up to 100 strong. We watched them drinking and mud-bathing. They were feeding on trees as well as the lush green devil’s thorn.

Hippos were observed wrestling and opening their mouths in dominance displays. One time two bulls were in a serious fight that lasted over half an hour.

We were able to enjoy watching an aardwolf as it was walking around feeding on termites. A family of seven bat-eared foxes presented a wonderful photo opportunity. Black-backed jackals were seen often and one family had puppies who came right up to the vehicle. A troop of over twenty baboons, including eleven babies provided entertainment as they jumped around in the trees. We also saw African wild cats during night drive.

Notable bird sightings included African skimmers, red bishops, European bee-eaters, pink-backed pelicans, saddle-billed storks, martial eagles, woodland kingfishers, brown snake-eagles and carmine bee-eaters, yellow-billed kites and marabou storks.

(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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