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Moremi Crossing, November 2022

The Boro River (which feeds this game-rich Moremi Crossing area) was almost at its lowest before the summer rains arrived, but November showers brought new life as the Woodland kingfishers called out their song and serenaded the new baby warthogs and impalas.

With the river waning, we covered greater distances than any other time of year. The night drives and offroad options yielded great sightings of leopard, African wild cat and the elusive yet most awesome of predators: the black-footed cat!

Weighing less than two kilograms but able to jump over a metre into the air, this fantastic (yet fluffy) sighting is perhaps one of the most lethal predators we know of in the bush, with a hunting success rate that rivals the African wild dogs.

Little lions and birding splendour

The principal lion pride in the area numbered around ten, including their young and boisterous cubs. The cubs practised their tree climbing skills, which came with mixed results, including a couple of heavy falls and sibling rivalry. After several hard knocks, they returned to basics and rehearsed on fallen trees instead – much easier to climb! The two big pride males ruled this territory, and their displays of brotherly affection made them a firm guest favourite.

We saw them regularly, sunning themselves before and after the storm clouds rolled in. When we didn’t locate them during the day, their calls often punctuated the night as they patrolled their territory and occasionally joined the hunt.

Over three weeks, the bush went from dusty and dry grasses to a beautiful green with myriad trees and bushes flowering. The birdlife was excellent, and spending time at one of the many large waterholes allowed birders to tick off dozens of species. The pelicans, storks, geese, herons, stilts, and many colourful species created a string of humming coffee stop spots to admire the scenery. The plentiful hippo population was always on hand to give a photo-grabbing yawn.

Pel’s fishing owl still roosting among us

The resident Pels fishing owl has found his favourite roosting spot high in a Jackalberry tree near the central area. He regularly hunted in the channel before camp, giving lucky guests some splendid sightings every week.

The hyenas were also very active. We often found them close to the airstrip first thing in the morning as the adults brought back breakfast for the youngsters, who steadily grew bigger and stronger. They kept a wary eye as the two pride males patrolled not far from their den. For now, the lions mostly kept to the other side of the river, which kept the peace, but it won’t take much for these two eternal foes to lock horns.

(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!)