Lebala, March – July 2020

GHorneCat1lionesses

As yet, Lebala camp has not received guests post-lockdown, so sightings have been restricted to the animals coming to visit camp.

On a daily basis there was a good amount of general game passing through. A herd of wildebeest often congregated in front of camp. Impala were a constant daily sighting and the loud barking of the rams echoed throughout the rutting season. Warthogs frequented the river banks and flood plains where they foraged on the roots of new green grasses. Giraffe were often observed browsing on the acacia bushes and trees.

As the dry season progressed, the natural waterholes in the woodland areas to the west of camp started to dry up. This meant that elephants were now forced to head to the northern and eastern sides of Lebala to drink from the river which became the only source of water for them. We saw breeding herds with small calves feeding between the swimming pool and Room 1.

The Wapuka pride continued to visit camp throughout lockdown and in June two lionesses with two sub adults made a kill of a wildebeest around 4am, just about 50 metres away from the main area. After 20 minutes a group of spotted hyenas came and managed to overpower the lions and took over the kill, but the drama had not yet finished. About 30 minutes later, two male lions came and chased the hyenas away although by this stage there was not much of the carcass remaining. By 6am the lions were done, but now scavenging vultures and jackals finished the remains. The lions were often heard roaring at night. The two resident male lions, Old Gun and Sebastian, passed through camp on a regular basis as they patrolled their territory to the north.  We recently saw them eyeing up a herd of red lechwe.

A male leopard was spotted majestically walking past the hide heading to room 9. It was calling and at the same time, we could hear a response call from the marshes which our guide believed was from a female.

Different birds were also common around the camp, including wattled cranes in front of room 6 & 7. Swamp boubous were always calling in camp. A pearl-spotted owlet was still hanging around, and seen on the cold winter mornings basking in the sun to try and warm up.

(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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