Dinare

Dinare Camps, August 2021

The Dinare Camps have lived up to their name this month. Mma Dinare means ‘Mother Buffalo’ in Setswana and sits in a glorious site on the Gomoti River in the south-eastern side of the Okavango Delta called Santawani. Since the annual flood has flourished in this area, we have experienced enormous herds of buffalos.

Herds congregate at the remaining waterholes during this dry season, wading deep into the water, grumpily shouldering their way into the best drinking positions. Buffalo social structures are matriarchal, just like the elephant, and these breeding herds can sometimes number over 1000.

Thanks to these massive herds, the lion population is thriving too. After almost six months without a pride male in the area, more males are sneaking into the territory for mating opportunities, Kwando guide NT says. “We are expecting a new generation to emerge anytime now! We have seen the lions mating with a few of the resident females”. The team also saw a coalition of five lions feeding on a giraffe and one healthy male digging into a warthog kill. One afternoon, we tracked two males to room nine at Rra Dinare Camp. They were exploiting the sweet shade for a fitful nap below the deck. 

There has been a spate of excellent Wild dog sightings. Guides noted that these only consisted of adults out on the hunt, and they suspect a den must be nearby. The tracker and guide teams are still pinpointing an exact location. 

The mokoro station has been a busy neighbourhood with hippos bobbing about in the water, crocodiles basking on the banks, elephants on one occasion crossed the Gomoti River in a lively herd numbering 25 strong. Then there was also a leopard sighting. Unusually, some hippos were also seen fighting outside the water. 

Our game drive transfers between Maun and camp have been equally productive. One day guests were treated to giraffe, zebra, elephant and a pair of leopards mating before check-in! A healthy cheetah was also seen feeding on the road that leads to Maun. 

Santawani has been dubbed the honey badger capital of the world, and the August records sure reinforce the label. One evening a night drive yielded a sighting of three honey badgers. Black-backed jackals and the civet were also regular spotlit sights. Civets are stocky animals that resemble cats, are dog-like in size but are actually closer to the mongoose family.

Likewise, the Brown hyena is neither cat nor dog but an order all its own. We were thrilled to catch sight of one this month while on the way to the mokoro station! Predominantly nocturnal, these animals are easier to see in August because they tend to travel further during the dry season. Brown hyenas will seek carcasses to scavenge on or protein-rich ostrich eggs to crack open using their strong jaws. These curious creatures also hunt small vertebrates, such as birds, amphibians and mammals and can walk up to 30km in one evening. During the rainy season between December and March, they travel and scavenge less. 

(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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