Lebala

Lebala Camp, April 2022

The massive rainfalls have left us with a dark green landscape and tall grasses even away from the river’s system. Thanks to these late rains, we have also experienced an intense winter onset this year. Mornings are exceptionally wet from the morning dew, and an icy chill has already settled into the air.

What to see Kwando Private Reserve

Migrant species such as Carmine Bee-eaters and European Rollers (which would have typically left our area already) were still lurking about. This is likely due to the unseasonal surplus of their food source, tasty insects.

Elephants returned in thriving herd numbers on their local migration route this month. These incredible animals disperse during the rainy season, crisscrossing the Kwando Private Reserve to explore Namibia and possibly roam onward into Angola along ancient elephant highways to seek out the most nutritious feeding grounds. 

Conversely, we noticed smaller buffalo numbers. We predominantly saw bachelor groups and expect to see the larger migratory breeding herds by mid-winter when they gather in their hundreds and thousands, kicking up a cloud of dust in their wake. Giraffes, zebras and other regular antelope species, such as lechwe, roamed the Lebala Camp vicinity in their herds. All seemed in good shape after a rich summer of plentiful food.

Shifting lion dynamics

Lion sightings have likewise been generous, thanks to some exciting pride dynamics. There have been many breaks and separations between the two dominant prides and new female lions in the area. A highlight was observing the Golden Boys attempting to court one such lioness, which already had two-month-old cubs. They valiantly pursued her for two days until she submitted to their appeals. The mating continued for several days, and she was forced to abandon her new cubs for the whole week. Fortunately, another female from her pride (a fellow feline mother to three cubs of the same age) adopted her litter and suckled them until the engaged mother returned. Late last year, the Golden boys took over the Wapoka pride from Old Gun and Sebastian. We thought these new males would kill the cubs because they realized that they were not the genetic fathers, but the Golden Boys let these little ones live to our surprise.

What to see Kwando Private Reserve

The resident pack of three wild dogs was seen chasing Red lechwe antelopes in front of the camp, but they were unsuccessful in their hunt. We encountered four different leopards in one trip during a pick-up transfer from the Lagoon Camp airstrip! This included a male, a cub and a pair of mating leopards. 

An Aardwolf on foot!

We discovered two Aardwolf dens. One was occupied by a mother and her two precious pups. During one of our nature walks, an Aardwolf was spotted in an extraordinary encounter at very close range. These animals are typically nocturnal and emerge from their den at six weeks old. At about one year old, both male and female aardwolves leave their mother and establish their own territory. 

What to see Kwando Private Reserve

During night drives, porcupines, springhares, and African wild cats were all encountered. Late one afternoon, one very happy hyena was spotted finishing up a wildebeest carcass early in the morning.  

We also had two snake sightings of the infamous Black mamba and watched enthralled as one snake made its way inside the tunnels of mole rats in search of supper. 

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. 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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