Tau Pan

Tau Pan Camp, January 2022

Tau Pan Green season

We kicked off the year in true Tau Pan Camp style with a sighting of four lionesses accompanied by six cubs and five males in the eastern part of the area on 1 January 2022. They were catching some shade by sheltering below bushes while the males lay down in the open as if to show off their full bellies. 

This resident Tau Pan pride were seen drinking from the camp waterhole often. One morning, we tracked them through the alarm call of a jackal. They were full-bellied again, and the cubs were playing around with the skull of an oryx. We repeatedly encountered the pride at play which is always a joy to watch. Especially when lions are typically lethargic and can rest for up to 20 hours a day. 

An implausibility of wildebeest

Plains game sightings included high numbers of Oryx, lots of steenboks, a few kudus, healthy implausibilities of Blue wildebeest, a massive amount of springbok and a large click of eland along the Aardwolf Road one day. Did you know? The giant eland antelope breeds all year round. 

This month, we did not see any leopards but found plenty of tracks that proved their omnipresence. Guides spotted four sub-adult cheetahs through another alarm call from our wily friend, the Black-backed jackal, when it called south of the Tau Pan area. They were resting under the tree and looked hungry. Three days later, we encountered three of these cheetahs. We suspected a female was missing because they usually remain solitary between periodic meet-ups with the males. We soon spotted her, but this time accompanied by a cub and hunting on the northern side of Tau Pan. 

Passarge Valley of plenty

Passarge Valley proved particularly productive and yielded a mating pair of Kalahari spine agamas and a Brown hyena running through the bush. One day, we also stopped for a big flock of White-backed vultures and Lappet-faced vultures and saw them feeding on the carcass of a juvenile ostrich chick. 

On a day trip to Deception Valley, we came across a caracal on the move, and in another exciting sighting, an African wild cat was seen active during the day, which is unusual. Early in the month we also located a well-hidden Black-backed jackal den during our morning game drive west of Tau Pan.

Sandgrouse regularly flocked to the full waterholes, and the Kalahari landscape has been fantastic with its greener trees and flowers in bloom. This attracted a glut of insects, and hungry birds soon followed. Even ostriches took advantage of the softer stems, sweet flowers, fresh leaves, and small fruits of the trees. We have seen an abundance of ostriches within the Tau Pan area, sometimes counting 40 in one drive.   

We also noticed a flock of Abdims storks, some Bateleur eagles, Red-knobbed coots, and once a Barn owl came to visit the camp’s central area. Black-shouldered kite, Northern black and Red-crested korhaan were familiar sightings, and guides also noted many juvenile Southern pale chanting goshawks and Yellow-billed kites around. 

(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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