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Nxai Pan Camp, October 2022

Even with the onset of rains and increased water availability in the Makgadikgadi landscape, the Nxai Pan Camp waterhole remained an animal magnet. This month’s most special sighting was watching a confident brown hyena bathing in broad daylight!

Typically nocturnal and shy, this male took his time first sipping water before stepping in, enjoying a cooling soak, and splashing about for over an hour. Big breeding herds of elephants also streamed to the water source and entertained us with messy mud baths. The baby elephants learning to use their trunks were a particularly delightful sight!

Elephants at Nxai Pan Camp

Vultures plus jackals equals?

Soaring vultures repeatedly gave away the lions of Nxai Pan National Park this month. One morning, we scoured the skies, and our feathered friends helped us locate three lionesses and a male lion feasting on an adult female buffalo at the waterhole near South Camp. The fresh carcass was a hive of activity. Black-backed jackals prowled the edges of the scene while Tawny eagles, Yellow-billed kites and Pied crows lined the tree branches. These birds are often the first indicators of a new kill and tend to arrive on the scene before the vultures.

Another great morning, a series of haunting jackal alarm calls drew us to the north side of camp, and we uncovered a pair of mating lions. We followed them as they lazily made their way to the camp waterhole and guests photographed them drinking water in gorgeous morning light.  

Nxai Pan Camp Jackals

The resident male cheetah was seen along the Middle road, and there were frequent sightings of foraging bat-eared foxes in the same area. An aardwolf family remained in residence along Baobab Loop road, and we loved watching their antics (or should that be ant-licks?)

At twilight one day, an African wild cat slowly crossed the road granting the perfect photographic opportunity to snap this evening animal. On a day trip to Baines’ Baobabs and Kudiakam Pan, we located several dazzles of plains zebras and a big herd of gemsbok. Giraffes, blue wildebeests, impalas, and vast springbok herds were also regulars on game drives.

The first rain showers triggered the revival of cicadas, brown-veined white butterflies and African monarchs, which kept the summer visitors well-fed. Birds recorded in October include a large flock of beautiful Blue-cheeked bee-eaters, a high number of Lesser grey shrikes, Red-backed shrikes and Carmine bee-eaters. Crowned lapwing chicks meanwhile welcomed guests to the airstrip.

(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!)