Nxai Pan

Nxai Pan Camp, August 2021

Nxai Pan Sightings Report

As we approach spring, some trees and plants start to flower again in a resilient reminder of the renewal that follows winter. However, August is still a season of survival.

Kwando Safaris guide Matt shares the story of Black-backed jackals on the hunt. These animals are bold scavengers, always circling on the sidelines of lion kills and cheetah snatches. However, they are capable hunters too and vital – ecologically speaking – for removing injured and sick animals from the bush.  One pair was seen hunting Helmeted guineafowls around a waterhole with their two subadult pups. Sadly, their attempts at a catch were thwarted by a Martial eagle that flew overhead, which caused the ground birds to scatter back to safety.

Matt also reported regular sightings of Aardwolf. These ‘Earth wolfs’ are typically nocturnal and somewhat secretive. It’s been a pleasure to see them rearing their young at a den near the camp! They seem to enjoy basking in the sun just in front of the entrance to their burrow.

One lonely lesser flamingo was seen in the Baines’ Baobabs area. Every year, these birds stop to use the water that collects across the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans network as breeding sites on their regular migrant routes. There was also plenty of general game along the road leading to Baines’ Baobabs. Springbok, Gemsbok, Greater kudu, Plains Zebra and Blue wildebeest were all spotted in the golden grasslands.

All the shallow pans dried up near the end of winter, and animals navigated towards permanent water sources. A large number of elephants (particularly breeding herds) regularly frequented the waterhole in front of the camp. Other prey species try to get in for a drink too, but the hefty animals don’t permit them much chance! We’ve checked off buffalo, zebra and Bat-eared foxes plus Black-backed jackal roaming the area.

When the elephants are absent, it pays to keep those eyes peeled. A pride of ten lions were seen drinking by the camp waterhole one morning. The group consisted of three adults with seven teenage cubs. At another waterhole on the eastern fringe of the Nxai Pan National Park, guides became alert to a Black-backed jackal making an alarm call. Upon driving in the direction of the eerie noise, they encountered two male lions walking through the bush.

Although it may not constitute the ‘kill’ of an imagined safari, it was fascinating to see a Rock monitor lizard walking along the Middle Road one morning. It was cruising along, keeping to shade and licking up ants as he went.  

(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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