Dinare

Dinare Camps, June 2022

“Rra Dinare never ceases to amaze”. At least, that is what our resident safari guide, Zulu, reported from an action-packed month. 

This season, for the first time in living memory, the Gomoti River — which flows in front of Mma Dinare Camp — reached the Thamalakane River in Maun before the Boro River in an atypical floodwater route.

Most naturally-filled water holes and pans have run dry, and our guides noticed that animals mostly ventured west to drink from the growing Gomoti channel. This river flowed strongly, and a tremendous amount of game and birdlife congregated at its flourishing floodplains. Enormous herds of buffalos and streams of elephants paraded past Mma Dinare Camp while Red lechwe straddled the marsh. In the drier woodlands, we saw Tsessebe, Kudu, Steenbok, Impala and in one strange instance, Common reedbuck rather far from the water. Perhaps this antelope was spooked by the lion prides, which have enjoyed such prey abundance! 

Cats were sighted throughout June, but lions were seen more frequently than other species.

What happens when you skip a game drive?

For several days, a small group of lions roamed the floodplains at Rra Dinare Camp, and their tracks were seen repeatedly in the Kalahari sand. A typical day in camp proved rather fruitful for sightings, in fact! Giraffes and elephants ambled past the pool, a honey badger was seen scurrying below the deck, while Red lechwe and buffalo bulls enjoyed the softer grazing of the sodden grasses. The river also supported a healthy array of aquatic birds, such as egrets, herons, Spoonbills, fish eagles, kingfishers and storks. 

Another lion pride, consisting of a male, three lionesses and six cubs, was regularly seen near Mma Dinare camp. The cubs are growing healthy and energetic under the protection of the strong pride male. 

A documentary-worthy lion kill!

During one afternoon drive, two male lions trailed a herd of buffalos (approximately 300), strategically singled out a big bull, and guests watched a documentary-worthy lion kill from stalk to skeleton. One of the lions held the buffalo by the nostrils while the other male attempted to weaken the rear and it seemed like the animal was surely doomed. After 15 minutes of bellowing struggle, the buffalo’s herd returned to a courageous rescue and bullied the lions off the injured animal. This hundred-strong herd then stood around the animal, protecting it from further attack for about an hour. Unfortunately, eventually, the group had to move on and continue feeding and the wounded buffalo could not keep up. With group defences down, the male coalition struck again, and the buffalo distress calls brought in more lions! Four adult lionesses and ten subadults arrived on the scene joining the two young males. After a tense moment of growling and establishing the hierarchy, the lionesses and lions ultimately worked together to quiet the prey. The buffalo was reduced to a skeleton in a matter of 30 hours. 

Lion Kill Rra Dinare Camp

Flocks of vultures and other birds of prey were seen daily soaring, gliding, descending and ascending. Hooded, Lappet-faced, and White-backed vultures were common species in the skies, and the distinctive Bateleur Eagle could never be missed with its acrobatic flight patterns. We also spied the rarer White-headed vulture from the deck of Rra Dinare Camp! 

Three leopards in one tree – well almost

Leopards were seen throughout the month, but one event had guests and guides excitedly chatting around the dinner table. In a mating ritual, three leopards were found together: two males and one female. The distracted leopards went about their business until suddenly, a cloud of dust signalled an incoming lioness, intent on harassment. The leopards were fortunate to escape by taking refuge in the towering Kalahari Apple leaf trees while the lion circled below. 

Our first cheetah sighting of a mother and three sub-adult males was enjoyed at Nxaraga. During another morning drive, we encountered a lone female. Still, the last week of June was most impressive when we followed the group of four cheetahs moving from Katty’s Pan to a suitably horizontal branch of an old Leadwood tree. They marked territory and played together before continuing their journey. 

There were no sightings of African wild dogs this month, but their fresh tracks were found imprinted over our own vehicle tracks. Their scarcity is likely linked to a den site on the far side of the reserve, but they are hunting in the area.

Spotted hyenas and black-backed jackals were routine visitors at kill sites and often spied during night drives. One evening, our guests were delighted when our spotlight gleamed upon the figure of a Brown hyena. Another Brown hyena was found near a leopard kill around Mma Dinare Camp. We also saw an Aardwolf among the usual nocturnal species, such as serval, civet, honey badger, genets and wild cats.

(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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