Pom Pom

Pom Pom Camp, June 2022

With winter at its coldest, hot bottles and blankets made the bracing morning drives much more comfortable, and guests ventured out to witness the natural world as it stirred with the rising sun. 

A prominent clan (roughly 13) of Spotted hyenas has taken up residence near the airstrip and often scouted for prey and carcass scraps around camp. On two occasions, we found them fighting the lions near the airstrip. 

Hyenas at Pom Pom Camp

We frequently encountered a mother cheetah with two cubs in the eastern parts of the Pom Pom Reserve on game drives along the floodplains and grasslands. She always moved carefully between islands to avoid the marauding hyenas at all costs. Keeping a low profile has worked in her favour regarding hunting. She was seen feeding with her cubs on Red lechwe, Impala, and Common reedbuck kills. One day, the hyena clan stole her Tsessebe kill (only the fastest cat could kill this speedy antelope!), and the mother cheetah graciously forfeited the meat to protect her cubs. 

African wild dog duo den near Pom Pom Camp

A pack of two African wild dogs have denned on the eastern side of Pom Pom Camp, beside an emerald green floodplain. They have eight offspring about one and a half months old, and these adorable puppies have started eating meat in addition to suckling. This means they venture out from the den fairly often, begging their parents for a regurgitated dinner.

Wild dogs Pom Pom Camp

The two adult dogs favoured the floodplains as their feeding grounds and often killed the semi-aquatic Red lechwe antelope (though the fresh grasses attracted Blue wildebeest, Plains zebra and plenty of Tsessebe too). The alpha male looked skinny and run down at the start of the month, but once the female rejoined him on the hunt, making the work a little easier, he quickly regained his health and strength. 

Lots of leopard sightings

Leopard sightings were off the charts, and we sent many a happy guest home with fabulous photographs. On some days, we located three leopards at different places in one drive. An adult female was seen frequently around the Pom Pom Camp area with her subadult cub, and one day a boat cruise became indefinitely delayed as guests followed a leopard hunt on the way to the boat station. Brown snake-eagles, Black-chested snake-eagles, and Black-shouldered kites meanwhile patrolled the skies.

Leopards of Pom Pom Camp

The Pom Pom pride (four adult lionesses and one male) has ten cubs between the three mothers. These cubs are roughly three months old, and the pride doesn’t have a permanent den anymore because the cubs have already started eating meat. They were seen almost daily at different places and often hunting. 

Slow down on a boating safari and see lions

The floods arrived in early May, and mokoro trips departed from the front of camp this month. Gliding silently through the lagoon, we saw plenty of water birds, including African jacanas, Spur-winged geese, Egyptian geese, Pied kingfishers, African fish eagles, Malachite kingfishers and Black-winged stilts. We also accidentally flushed a Pel’s Fishing Owl from its perch. 

Mokoro at Pom Pom Camp

This new water was so gin-clear one could see the waterlilies unfurling from the floor, twisting towards the sunshine where the lily pads will open soon. The dry pools likewise filled with the flood water, transforming them back into shallow lagoons, and hippos quickly made a home in these refreshed pools. From the boat cruise, we saw them spewing water from their noses and opening their wide jaws, baring extended tusks. Enormous Nile crocodiles, African elephants, Red lechwes, Plains zebra and Cape buffalo, were also spotted.

Boating Safari Lions

One afternoon, vultures drinking from the water’s edge drew us to a lion sighting on an island. A mother lion had killed a zebra, and her two cubs happily feasted on her hard work. The zebra often waded rather fearlessly into the waters, and one could hear the splashing as they crossed from island to island in front of camp. 

Birdlife on your doorstep

Scanning the Okavango Delta from the porch in front of each luxury tent proved rewarding. Bushbuck and warthogs scuffled the leaves below the elevated deck, and Tree squirrels scurried up and down the riverine trees. At the same time, African golden orioles, Crested and Black-collared barbets and Green pigeons hopped about the upper boughs. On the water, Striped kingfishers and African darters perched on the last dry branches sticking out of the water. One night, a teeny tiny Pearl-spotted owlet flew in to visit the fireplace before the guests relocated to the dinner table.

(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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