Lagoon

Lagoon Camp, May 2022

Opportunism. Or just simply bare-faced theft?

First, the lions stole from the African wild dogs, and then the Spotted hyenas stole from the lion. The cheetahs were busy looking over their shoulders during the hunt, and the leopards pulled their kills up trees to avoid the attention of the lions and hyenas. The merry-go-round of the Kwando Private Reserve continued unabated!

Wild dogs of Botswana

A new pack of five African wild dogs was seen in the area during the first quarter of the month. One crucial piece of news is that the alpha female of the Lagoon pack (still comprising eight members) was heavily pregnant. They will be looking for a den soon, and we look forward to sharing that with our guests once the newborn puppies emerge.

Oribi spotted in the Kwando Private Reserve

An extraordinary and relatively uncommon sighting, we encountered the Oribi during a game drive. While being denoted as “least concern” in terms of conservation threat level, it is not a frequently viewed antelope in our area. This is the largest of the small antelopes, which can sometimes be confused with the slightly smaller Steenbok. They occur in small parties, so hopefully, he had some family around too.

Talking of lists, the bird life at Lagoon Camp has been excellent. Although many of the migrants were gone, there were still hundreds of species to witness: African fish eagles, Grey herons, Malachite kingfishers, Pied kingfishers, African darter, African jacana, Wattled cranes, vultures (White-backed, Lappet-faced, Hooded), pelicans, African spoonbills, Yellow-billed storks, Egyptian geese – the tally goes on and on.

As we scanned for the waterbirds (the Wattled crane being one of our favourites, not least because of its vulnerable conservation status), it was always worth casting an eye on what we might find beneath the water. More than 20 crocodiles have been regularly seen in and out of the water at Halfway Pan, and if that doesn’t get the blood racing, we also came across a five-metre rock python leisurely crossing the road. That is approximately 90kg of snake!

Our dedicated guides located the new den of a leopardess after tracking the animal. Black-backed jackals sounded the alarm and we found her moving through the bushes, returning to a warthog kill. After feeding, she returned to her thirsty cubs.

Lagoon Camp Botswana

The elephants passed through Lagoon Camp in large numbers this month, enjoying access to the river. They have also been crossing the river to the various islands that form in the Kwando River flood, and it was always a privilege to quietly watch them from the boat or room porch as they fed on the aquatic grasses and cool off in the heat of the day.

Caracal acrobatics

From the large, we’d like to draw attention to the small. A Porcupine has been frequenting camp, as have a couple of honey badgers. Instantly recognisable by its ear tufts, the wonderful Caracal made several appearances. While they can hunt and take down prey up to the size of small antelopes, their aerial skills need to be seen to be believed. They have a fantastic ability to hunt birds in flight, often jumping up to three metres to take birds on the wing. This talent also extends to their ability to twist and change direction mid-air.

The night sky was also marvellous this May with prominent constellations crisply outlined by the star. Southern Cross, Scorpio, and Sagittarius were visible. We had a good view of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in the morning sky on the eastern side.

(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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