Pom Pom

Pom Pom Camp, December 2021

Leopard Tree Pom Pom Camp

This month, walking safaris have been a pleasure. The water has left our floodplains, leaving shorter grass lush and fertile from the floods attracting all manner of species. Guests were granted unique insights into nature, walking with giraffes, red lechwe, zebra and more in areas where vehicles cannot always reach. Ryder highly recommended them, calling this activity “a quiet, tranquil experience in vast wilderness area”.

There’s been an incredible number of general game in the area. Dazzles of zebra, red lechwe (shall we call a group of them a splash?), impala herds, rough and tough old buffalo bulls, elephant breeding herds, plus lonesome tuskers too. 

 Birdlife has been fantastic too. Most of the area is dry, so many birds gather at lagoons for fish trapped in the pools. Guests didn’t even need to leave camp to enjoy the bounty. There was plenty of serene bird watching in the mornings and afternoons in front of Pom Pom amp at the lagoon. We ticked off Wattled Cranes, African Fish eagles, egrets, geese, ibises and vultures awaiting their carrion meals. 

There were several lion sightings in Pom Pom Reserve this month, most of which belong to the aptly named the Pom Pom Pride. We saw one lioness with three cubs of about six months old resting along the road at Motswiri crossing, and another day we counted roughly eleven lions’ tracks heading to the East of our camp. Ryder described how they followed the tracks for almost two hours before locating them resting below a Sausage tree. With its mushroom-shaped canopy of dense foliage and flowers, this tree is a valuable source of shade in summer. The pride consisted of three big males, three lionesses and six cubs of approximately nine months old. One hot day, we saw three lionesses and a male lion mating, and another delivered a lioness hunting one afternoon. It chased a warthog piglet to its fate on the flood plains.

However, the lion sighting of the month award goes to this encounter. “One afternoons, we saw one sub-adult male and two sub-adult females resting by the airstrip. They were new to the area because they seemed nervous. These same lions moved from the airstrip towards camp. After dinner, we heard a lot of hyenas calling behind the staff housing. We found them feeding on a male red lechwe with ten hyenas trying to chase them away from the kill”. The lions managed to keep the kill, licking every last morsel from the bones.   

Pom Pom is renowned for its leopard sightings and this month did not disappoint. One afternoon we saw a female leopard in Mochimbamo Island stalking some stork and pelicans fishing in a waterhole. The hunt was unsuccessful because it was open, however. With no cover for subterfuge, the cat gave up, and we continued with our drive only to find another female with one cub resting on a termite mound at BG spot. One evening sitting around the camp fireplace with three guests, impalas started making alarm calls on the southwest of Pom Pom Lagoon. We invited the guests to accompany our investigation and found a young male leopard by the water. Another morning, we visited a female with two cubs feeding on an impala carcass that had been dragged up into a sausage tree. Leopards are known to prey on antelope that pass below the branches feeding on fallen flowers. 

A pack of two wild dogs has frequently been moving between the airstrip and the camp. At Ghxenega Lagoon, a pack of eleven (six adults and five puppies) delighted many guests during game drives to the northwest of the camp. One day, we saw a group of eleven on Rebecca’s field hunting red lechwe without success. 

The red lechwe is popular prey, but they have a suitable escape mechanism because it often retreats to the water. One morning. Ryder watched a spotted hyena running after red lechwe, but it failed to land the animal. Contrary to Disney films, hyenas are adept predators and often kill their food rather than scavenge.     

Small mammals were commonly seen on night drives, and this month guides recorded sightings of small spotted genet, African wild cat, scrub hares, civets, springhares, side-striped jackals and even banded mongoose, which is unusual. 

This month’s gorgeous photograph comes from Pom Pom Camp guest Simona Fenini-Leoni.

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