Nxai Pan

Nxai Pan Camp, February 2022

Lion sightings were fantastic in Nxai Pan National Park. We saw the Nxai Pan Pride of eleven (five sub-adult males and two sub-adult females, two adult females and two adult males) several times, and they appeared to dominate the territory at first. One day vultures perched conspicuously on a tree led us to the pride on the kill of a fully-grown zebra, while other days, the lions came to us. The Nxai Pan pride visited the waterhole in front of the camp and made themselves very comfortable. 

Nxai Pan Camp Summer

Early one morning, we saw the five sub-adults passing through Nxai Pan Camp at a run. They were being chased away by two other dominant males that were not part of the pride. We had heard lions roaring all around camp the evening before. One of the younger males in the Nxai Pan pride came off second-best and was severely injured, struggling to walk, but the other sub-adult escorted him closely to ensure safety.

These two dominant males were then seen across the salt flats of Kudiakam Pan, heading south of the reserve after the battle. There were other sightings of four sub-adult females with two males around this area where Baines’ baobabs stand sentry over the waterlogged salt pan. On one day trip to the trees, we surprised a Mozambique spitting cobra sunbathing on the road. 

Hyenas, honey badgers and breeding herds

We enjoyed seeing a clan of six Spotted hyenas at the camp waterhole during breakfast, which was hardly surprising given all the recent action! We had big breeding herds of elephants and the usual lone bull elephants drinking there regularly. The grass across the park was green but kept short by the myriad mammals mowing the lawns. Sitting on the deck, we surveyed many of these herbivores at work. Dazzles of zebras, big herds of Springboks, Impalas, Kudus, Steenboks, wildebeest, Oryx, hartebeest, warthogs and some buffaloes too.  

Zebra Migration Summer

Early morning drives proved productive for Scrub hares, Side-striped jackals, plus Small spotted genet, African wild cat, Banded mongoose and Honey badger sightings. 

There were still plenty of puddles and pans holding rainwater. These have become home to the Water scorpion and other aquatic bugs. At the same time, the Giant jewel beetle, Brown-veined white butterflies and Guinea fowl butterflies made hay of the ample nectar offerings provided by all the blooms. The Poison apple, Fireball lily and Wandering jew were all in flower, as were the Common cork wood and the Trumpet thorn.  

Birdlife has likewise blossomed with the bevvy of migratory birds still swopping about the skies. The Common buzzard, Montagu’s harrier, Greater kestrel and Lanner falcon were noteworthy additions to the raptor list. At the same time, waters swelled with species, too, thanks to the presence of Black-headed herons, Yellow-billed storks, African spoonbills and the African snipe.

(Note: Accompanying pictures are 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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