Dinare

Dinare Camps, January 2022

January marks the middle of our rainy season, and the Gomoti River has risen every day due to the high amount of localized showers we’ve experienced. This month, we recorded 86mm of rain and enjoyed warm days with spectacular afternoon thunderstorms. These cloud gatherings conjure breathtaking sunsets and make for dramatic photography at this time of the year.

Lion vs. buffalo

Our resident male lion Sankedi was not seen for a few weeks but returned with a bang. Kwando guide NT describes it with comedy. “One night during dinner, he roared very close to Mma Dinare Camp, and our guests needed no introduction. It was like a Dolby surround sound speaker broke the silent night”. During one morning drive, a pride of four lions was found feeding on a giraffe.

The Tees pride was seen frequently on our game drives through the reserve, often with a buffalo kill. One day 12 lions lay sleeping in the shade, and guides noted that one was injured — perhaps in pursuit of their favoured prey? The African buffalo is a formidable animal known for its grumpy temperament!

In yet another testament to the name of our camp, we have seen enormous herds of these buffalo grazing, often numbering 100 or more in a grunting congregation feeding on the lush plains. Meanwhile, the old dagga bulls have lazily bathed in the numerous water ponds filled from the rains.

A first for us!

More unusually, we spotted a female leopard on a young buffalo kill. It was pulled very high into a tree away from the competition. Kwando guides report that it is not common to come across a leopard preying on buffalo. However, a young buffalo was seen alone in the same area the previous night. It is a reminder that cats are opportunists! if a young buffalo is separated from the rest they will take advantage.

Healthy African Wild Dogs roam Santawani

A pack of seven healthy wild dogs was frequently spotted in the Santawani area, and they were looking fantastic. Their coats were shiny, and bellies bulged thanks to the influx of young impala prey. “The young antelopes that were born at the end of 2021 and survived are strong and very fit”, NT reported. “They are giving predators a hard time”. We enjoyed some great cheetah sightings this month and spent a wonderful afternoon with a coalition of two relaxing in the shade one day.  

A giant crocodile was seen at Sam Pan, which is 7 kilometres away from Gomoti River, and it’s not the only creature that went walkabout. The hippos have also been noted wallowing in water holes far away from the main rivers because they have plenty to graze upon these days. One morning, a hippo was seen feeding on land near the mokoro station despite the sun beating down on its back. Elephants also enjoyed the plentiful mud wallows across the reserve.

A feast for feathered friends

Birding has been equally fantastic. With all butterflies and insects around, it’s been a feeding frenzy. The migratory Woodlands kingfisher was joined by Carmine bee-eaters, Broad-billed rollers and Yellow-billed kite. A particular highlight was seeing termites eruptions after the rains. Marabou storks, rollers, plus many more birds enjoyed the insect feast.

Back at Mma Dinare camp, guests were delighted to watch eight giraffes as they journeyed past room eight. Significant numbers of buffalo, grazing zebra, elephants, kudu, and red lechwe were also seen from the main area deck as they drank from the river. At nighttime, the eerie human-like laugh of Spotted hyenas was usually heard from camp.

(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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