Lebala

Lebala Camp, May 2022

Our star activity this month has been the night drives, and we had the pleasure of glimpsing Aardwolf various times. African civets have also been very active and we commonly saw more than five on a single evening. 

You’ll need a strong stomach 

Aardwolf Lebala Camp

When thinking about predators, we often focus on their strength, stamina, and speed in the hunt. If an Aardwolf were to take a medal, it would probably be for the most impressive stomach. An elusive creature at the best of times, these termite-guzzling members of the hyena family can eat up to a kilogram of termites every night. Their muscular stomach can grind up 250,000 termites at a sitting and occupy a unique niche amongst the Hyaenidae by avoiding the competition for the hunt their brown and spotted cousins share with the felines and canids.


Feline family ties and successful Lebala lion hunts

One afternoon, we encountered three leopards and spent 45 minutes with the romantic trio as the two males tried to mate with the female. 

The coalition of three dominant male lions has been moving around the area near Lebala Camp, and it was wonderful to witness the bonds with their families. The three lions would greet all the pride females and patiently put up with the rough, tumble, ear pulling and nibbling the youngsters put them through. Their strong family ties paid dividends as they had tremendous success hunting wildebeests (guides have noted that lions have been killing more wildebeests than any other prey).

Lebala Camp Lion Dynamics

One of these hunts happened right in front of camp just as post-dinner drinks were being taken to the fire. A thunder of hooves in the darkness gave way as a wildebeest burst into the dim light from the camp, followed by the pride at a flat-out sprint. While wildebeests are fast (they can reach up to 80km an hour), the lions had sprung their trap to perfection. The wildebeest went down in a flurry of dust and hooves, and the lions quickly completed the job. This led to an evening of crunching and calling, and dawn found some content and full-bellied lions huffing and puffing near the camp, keeping a keen eye on the remains of their night’s work.

Enormous herds in the Kwando Private Reserve 

Away from the camp, we found a herd of almost 70 impressive Elands on the flood plains. The distinct clicking noise of the elands’ hooves can be heard from some distance, especially when there are so many of them! They were very relaxed around the game drive vehicle, and we almost became part of the herd with the correct car positioning. 

Large elephant herds have been seen with plenty of youngsters on the floodplains, and we enjoyed frequent sightings of a beautiful bird that occupies a special place in myth and legend. The Southern Ground hornbill is known as Lehututu in Setswana. Many tribes throughout Southern Africa associate them with death, but some associate them as bringers of rain, breakers of drought and protection against lightning. 

There has been a sprinkling of Carmine bee-eater sightings, a very early arrival as we usually only expect them in August and September. 

(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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