Kwara, Splash

Splash and Kwara Camps, July 2022

Guests witnessed two African wild dog hunts where the pack successfully took down a kudu and an impala. As wild dogs are such social feeders, this greatly benefits the new puppies, who are allowed to eat at the dinner table first. 

African wild dog den movements

The pack moved away from their original den near Kwara and headed west this month. The puppies managed to cross shallower water channels but decided they were not yet keen on swimming lessons. One day, the alpha female called for them to cross a deeper Okavango Delta channel, but the pups refused, walking up and down uncertainly on the far bank. Uncertainty quickly turned to danger when 12 Spotted hyenas suddenly appeared, alerted by the chattering of the puppies. As the clan slowly advanced, the wild dog pack launched across the channel and the hyenas thankfully turned tail.

Wild dogs of the Okavango

The pack, perhaps knowing its precarious position in the predator hierarchy, abandoned their efforts to get the youngsters across the channel and headed back towards Kwara Camp. They discovered a well-excavated aardvark hole just south of camp, and after a detailed inspection, this has since become their new home. They moved away from their new home late in July, heading west. However, they soon doubled back for a reason we have yet to ascertain. Perhaps they simply realised that there is no better place than Kwara? 

Lioness introduces her cubs

Lions spent much of the month around the Jackal Den area and had good luck with the hunt as the whole pride has been lolling around, full-bellied and content. We found them after they had taken down two zebras not far from Kwara Camp. The pride moved on to the second zebra, having eaten their fill of the first, which allowed nine Spotted hyenas to work on the remains of the first – an uneasy truce as two Black-backed jackals watched enviously. These same hyenas also trailed the wild dogs often – living up to their somewhat unjustified reputation as scavengers.

Back to the lions, guides tracked the same pride feeding on a hippo carcass later in the month. The five-day banquet meant the lions’ daily route changed little from snack-sleep-shift–snack. These successes were essential as four new cubs were finally brought to the pride for an official introduction.

Lion cubs of Kwara

The lionesses detached from the pride for almost three months as the cubs remained secreted away. We were present when the newest mother warily presented her young to the pride. As the cubs wandered around meeting their siblings, the lioness protectively stood over them, batting away the rougher behaviour of some sub-adults. Lion cubs face daunting odds of making it to adulthood. However, these newcomers have a strong pride around them, granting them an excellent chance.

Meanwhile, the pride males did an excellent job of defending their territory. We found them chasing two new males who strayed into their territory, sending the interlopers running back. They did not want to learn the same lesson they had just doled. Later in the month, they wandered East towards Khwai and came back licking some impressive wounds. Clearly, their incursion was not welcomed!

Honey badger vs lion

Both the MmaLeitho and Kwara lion prides hunted well this month, including stealing an impala kill from the resident African wild dogs right in front of tent 8 at Splash Camp. However, they don’t always get their way, as some of the younger members of the Kwara pride found when they approached a Honey badger.

The Honey badger, legendary for its fearlessness, was not in the mood to submit and leapt forward as the lions paced around it trying to find an angle. The leading lion jumped hurriedly out of the way as the badger went on the offensive. No matter what the lions did, their attempted bites had no effect!

Honey badger Botswana

Eventually, the badger found itself on the edge of the flood plain and walked off into the bushes. (Perhaps “strolled” would be a better word. Honey badgers don’t run from anyone.) After all the hunting and moving around, the MmaLeitho pride needed somewhere to rest. What better place than under tents 1 and 3 at Splash Camp, where they spent a few relaxed evenings.

Large herds of elephants and buffalos moved through the Kwara Private Reserve in their hundreds, throwing dust and trampling the little grass that remained. The Tsessebe, Plains zebra, Red lechwe and Blue wildebeest are out on the plains in large numbers, further opening up the bush.

Mr Special on the hunt

Mr Special, our resident cheetah, took full advantage of the dwindling grasses. For months, the long grasses provided a haven for the smaller antelopes, which hide and appear almost invisible to the naked eye. We found him slowly pacing along Ostrich Road, highly alert. As he entered the low grass, a baby Common reedbuck broke cover. Mr Special didn’t hesitate and accelerated down the road in pursuit with a fantastic speed turn of speed.

Cheetah Botswana

The reedbuck had a good headstart, but in less than 40 metres, Mr Special had caught up and swiftly took down the unfortunate antelope. He immediately pulled the reedbuck under a bush and began to eat and we left him after half an hour, still content with his prize.

(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!)

Share this Story
  • Moremi Crossing

    Moremi Crossing, July 2022

    Our regular game drive routes gradually grew wetter and muddier as the month progressed due to the rising floodwaters, but guests ...
  • Tau Pan

    Tau Pan Camp, July 2022

    Brown hyenas are known to be elusive, but we were treated to the glorious sight of one throwing caution to the ...
  • 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 ...
  • Nxai Pan

    Nxai Pan Camp, July 2022

    Winter at Nxai Pan brought crisp, chilled air perfect for photography and gorgeous night skies. Now that the natural pans have ...
  • Pom Pom

    Pom Pom Camp, July 2022

    While we try and report on all facets of wildlife, big and small, sometimes centre stage must be given to our ...
  • Lebala

    Lebala Camp, July 2022

    There were plenty of excellent sightings of Aardwolf, Serval, Nile Crocodiles and Civets, but the sighting of the month must go ...
Load More Related Articles
  • Moremi Crossing

    Moremi Crossing, July 2022

    Our regular game drive routes gradually grew wetter and muddier as the month progressed due to the rising floodwaters, but guests ...
  • Tau Pan

    Tau Pan Camp, July 2022

    Brown hyenas are known to be elusive, but we were treated to the glorious sight of one throwing caution to the ...
  • 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 ...
  • Nxai Pan

    Nxai Pan Camp, July 2022

    Winter at Nxai Pan brought crisp, chilled air perfect for photography and gorgeous night skies. Now that the natural pans have ...
  • Pom Pom

    Pom Pom Camp, July 2022

    While we try and report on all facets of wildlife, big and small, sometimes centre stage must be given to our ...
  • Lebala

    Lebala Camp, July 2022

    There were plenty of excellent sightings of Aardwolf, Serval, Nile Crocodiles and Civets, but the sighting of the month must go ...
Load More By Kwando Safaris
Load More In Kwara

Check Also

Moremi Crossing, July 2022

Our regular game drive routes gradually grew wetter ...

Archives