Lagoon

Lagoon Camp, June 2022

As the pans dry up and the greens give way to gold, we gear up for some of the most productive wildlife viewing months. Most of the trees, especially the Silver terminalia and Kalahari apple leave trees, have already lost their leaves, and the grasses have dried up.

Winter is the best time for night drives

Sightings of aardwolves have been excellent across the Kwando Private Reserve, and guides uncovered two different burrows being used as dens. However, the sighting of all sightings had to be witnessing a pair of aardwolves mating along James Road.

Night drive Lagoon Camp

Civet sightings were also fantastic, and we watched them feeding on ripening Jackalberries along Upper Kwando Road. Genets, Springhares, Bat-eared foxes and Scrub hares also entertained us thoroughly during night drives.

Elephants were found on almost every game drive, but let’s be frank, guests never had to venture far to see hordes of these pachyderms. One afternoon we counted over a hundred elephants moving towards the Kwando River for an afternoon dip and sip. As always, the room deck makes a relaxing vantage point to drink in the sight of these migrating mammals.

General game was equally prolific, with herds of Giraffe, Impala, Kudu, Tsessebe, Plains zebra and more crisscrossing the Kwando Private Reserve in search of fodder. We particularly enjoyed spending time with a small herd of Roan antelopes. This vast concentration of game attracted the attention of large predators.

Three packs of Painted wolves

We’ve enjoyed the company of three different packs of Painted wolves this month. A pack of five African wild dogs roamed the area around Lagoon Camp. The alpha female of this small group was heavily pregnant, and we last saw them hunting along Maheke, disappearing into the thick and enshrouding Mopane forest. Another group of three wild dogs hunted our area and frequently travelled between us and the Lebala region.

Wild Dogs Lagoon Camp

Meanwhile, the resident Lagoon pack took down a fully-grown female kudu at Kwena Lagoon. We tracked them after their frenzied feast upon the antelope, and they led us to their new den! The pack has been incredibly successful, and their puppies emerged from the burrow well-fed towards the end of the month.

Our guides located two cheetah brothers this month and guests watched in awe as they chased down an impala. We then discovered a different coalition of three males moving through the reserve.  

Leopards leaving the nest

On several occasions, a female leopard was seen with her subadult male offspring, and we suspect she has been training them for the hunt. They fed well on male impalas, but on close inspection of the tracks at her kill sites, guides noticed she had also lost her fair share of carcasses to Spotted hyenas and lions. Another subadult male leopard was seen moving alone, having been booted from his mother’s territory. His speciality has been hunting Helmeted guinea fowl. Another relaxed male leopard was also seen in the area.

Nile crocodiles lazed on the shores of Halfway Pan, and we found many Water monitor lizards during our boat cruises and around the camp. Ostriches, lilac-breasted rollers, African fish eagles, saddle-billed storks, African spoonbills

Crocodiles of Botswana

The Holy Pride of lions was about, but the group operated only as far as Halfway pan because the northern males have pushed our resident coalition southeast, more towards Lebala Camp. The Mma Dikolobe pride was often seen near Lebala and Johnnie’s pan. One day, we encountered the three Rra Leitho coalition (northern males) mating with the Mmamosetlha pride at the beginning of this month.

Countless tracks prove between the Mopane bushveld area, and the Kwando River had us suspicious. We reckon that the Spotted hyenas are denning in the cover of the thicker woodlands.

For this time of year, some unusually heavy clouds temporarily tampered with our winter stargazing. However, we enjoyed an excellent view of the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn lining up.

(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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