Dinare

Dinare Camps, July 2022

African wild dogs denned down at the Dinare Reserve this month! Guests enjoyed stunning sightings, watching the five adults play and interact with the seven puppies. 

Leopard Dinare

On the feline front, male leopard sightings dominated during July. A lone leopard killed a fully-grown male kudu, and we found it brazenly feeding from the ground because the kill was too heavy to haul up into the safety of a tree. 

The last waters for winter

July also marked the height of winter in the Dinare Reserve. Bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, this territory contains critical dry season watering points, and high animal densities congregated around the lingering waters.

Elephants Dinare Reserve

Every day we had the pleasure of seeing growing elephant herds drinking and bathing in the Gomoti River and its winding channels as the weather warmed up a touch. One afternoon, they waded right into the river,  crossing it with much splashing and splooshing. Meanwhile, Saddle-billed storks frequently fished in the shallows, and one day we found a Bateleur eagle drinking water — a welcome change from typically seeing their underbellies as they soar across the skies. 

Pachyderms love palm trees

The Real fan palm, or Mokolwane trees, were in full fruit. The ripening nuts drew plenty of pachyderms that exploited their height and great strength to shake the fruits free from the tall fronds.

Palm trees Okavango Delta

These nuts provide a vital food source during the dry season. 

Mokolwane Palm Nuts

Winter mornings always bring spectacular sunrises, and we weren’t the only ones enjoying them. During dawn game drives, we often encountered lions patrolling the area looking for their prey. Several times our guests snapped away as lions feasted on buffalos until bursting.  

Lion pride update

The resident pride at Rra Dinare Camp consists of three lionesses and six cubs. One day, we found them resting, but they suddenly stretched out and launched into a hunt, ultimately killing a buffalo calf. When the Cape buffalo weren’t fending off lion attacks, they were devouring the last grasses. Like cows, buffalo chew cud to further extract as many nutrients as possible. The buffalo breeding herds have assembled enormously, and we frequently counted groups numbering over 330. The collective noun for buffalo is ‘herd’, but other, more descriptive phrases include ‘gang’ and ‘obstinacy’.

The lions were also seen with a kudu kill, hunting Red lechwe, and one day, a tower of giraffes stood browsing carefree within eye-watch of the lioness and her sprightly cubs. Unsurprisingly, the Dinare guides picked up the pride of seven lions feeding on a giraffe carcass later in the month. 

An insurgent coalition of three male lions battled it out with the reserve’s resident male. They obviously wanted a slice of this prime territory, but the fearsome fight was at last won by the mighty male lion. His strength forced the three rivals to flee back across the river despite his singledom.

As always, there was plenty of activity around these predator kills. We had regular sightings of Spotted hyenas, Black-backed jackals and circling White-backed and Hooded vultures. 

Cheetahs normally avoid high lion densities and so given all the lion activity, we were truly blessed to enjoy regular sightings of a cheetah coalition of four brothers that provided fantastic viewing.  

With the bush thinner during July, the night drives were outstanding, and we witnessed a Serval hunting. Other nocturnal sightings included a Honey badger, African wild cats and Large-spotted genets. It’s also been easier to admire the Southern ground hornbills in this more open landscape as they patrol the grasslands searching for tasty critters. 

The biggest surprise of the month was seeing giraffes mating. Giraffes reproduce all year round and have a gestation period of 14 months.

(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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