Tau Pan

Tau Pan Camp, December 2021

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is astonishingly green, and we’ve seen many creatures this month, especially in the pans. With such excellent rainfall, animals congregated in large numbers to feed on the nutritious new shoots. One day, we encountered 67 giraffes at the nearby Phokoje Pan! It was amazing to see such high numbers of giraffes, especially since these lofty creatures are undergoing a silent extinction in other parts of Africa. 

Tau Pan has been productive and flush with herbivores, including gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest and small groups of kudus. Many of these species had newly-born calves too, which attracted predators. We saw several lions from the Tau Pan pride at the water hole. This pride has one female mothering six cubs, four males and another two females. One day, the three males were located at Tau Pan, full-bellied at a carcass. Another male was seen on the second pan from Tau Pan, and the others were roaring ahead of him, urging him to join the feed. On 25 December, we saw the whole Tau Pan pride resting after a hunt – a lovely Christmas present for our guests. 

On a day trip to the Deception Valley, we came across members of the Deception Pride; three of them lay resting in the bushes. 

We did not see any leopard this month, but the staff noted several tracks around the camp. 

Also around Christmas Day, we saw different cheetahs in Tau Pan and San Pan: two cheetahs at San Pan were feeding on a springbok, the four cheetahs found at Tau Pan were hunting but unsuccessful in landing a meal. We saw this trio for two days (one adult female, two sub-adult females), and they were joined by a sub-adult male. Kwando Safaris guides noted that it was very shy. 

Insect activity flourished this month. Thanks to pools of water, we have logged sightings of rainwater scorpions and other exciting aquatic bugs. Even African jacanas have flown in to visit. The Dwarf bittern, Cattle egret, Little grebe, Black crakes and Common sandpiper were all witnessed enjoying the water too. 

Two jackals were seen feeding on a feast of termites after rains softened their mound. Other insects include the shimmering Giant jewel beetles, busy tok-tokkie beetles, and multiple kaleidoscopic butterfly flights; Yellow pansies, African jokers, African monarchs and Zebra whites have all coloured the desert skies.

A female Side-striped sand snake was seen sliding through the bushes, and a Black mamba crossed the road during a game drive.

A honey badger was briefly seen at San Pan before disappearing in a crash through the bushes in contrast to the relaxed caracal located east of the camp, making for fabulous photographs. An aardwolf was spotted to the west, and there were several steenbok and scrub hare sightings. Bat-eared foxes are always a delight, but arguably more so when sporting pups at their den. One pair was seen with a baby this month.

(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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