Press "Enter" to skip to content

Nxai Pan Camp, August 2023

Lion sightings around Nxai Pan were a little thin over the first few days of August. Their roars and calls echoed through the night alongside the whoops and hollers of the spotted hyenas, but witnessing them proved fleeting.

However, fantastic lion observations soon proved ample. One day, in the early hours, three lionesses and their cubs took down a subadult kudu at the waterhole near South Camp. A few days later, observant guests scanned the Nxai Pan Camp waterhole and watched as a lioness attempted to surprise a family of warthogs after brunch. The lioness missed and swiftly retreated into the trumpet thorn thickets.

An African wild cat’s tussle with three jackals was another of August’s most intriguing sightings.

Buffalo herds at Nxai Pan Camp

There were many occasions when over a hundred buffaloes frequented the camp waterhole, visiting during early and late hours, occasionally even lingering around the camp overnight. Male buffalo groups also made their presence known.

Buffalo at Nxai Pan Camp

Unpredictable weather lured large herds of elephants, arriving around noon and staying until late hours or even spending the night. Nxai Pan National Park showcased the rest of its stunning wildlife, including wildebeests, impalas, springboks, kudus, giraffes, oryx, and zebras. Steenboks were spotted in their monogamous pairs or solitary, enjoying the green shoots of grass and leaves.

Honey badgers appeared near the camp and by the pan, hunting small prey, and we caught the small-spotted genets in our torch lights after dinner as they casually foraged between the rooms.

During the early mornings and late afternoons, scrub hares would venture out in search of food while avoiding the midday heat. At the same time, bat-eared fox packs were active, taking advantage of the most favourable feeding times. Meanwhile, helmeted guinea fowls were enjoying a feast of the last remaining grass seeds and insects, such as grasshoppers and harvester termites. Black-backed jackals often interrupted these poor birds, chasing and scattering the guinea fowls.

Elephants Nxai Pan waterhole

Birdwatching enthusiasts and amateurs alike were delighted with sightings of the Makgadikgadi’s resident birds, such as pale chanting goshawks capturing prey, tawny eagles, and secretarybirds. The waterholes teemed with doves and sandgrouse, either drinking or soaring overhead. The grey-backed and chestnut-backed sparrow larks were frequent visitors.

A rock monitor lizard was spotted along the main road to Baines Baobabs, stealthily searching for food. These lizards are skilled at scaling trees, rocks, and cliffs, using their strong claws and long tails for balance and support. Despite their relatively large size, they are agile and can navigate various terrains with remarkable dexterity. This exceptional climbing ability allows them to access elevated locations where they often find shelter, rest, and nest away from danger.

Winter skies at Nxai Pan Camp

The last of our winter skies provided stunning celestial displays of constellations like the Southern Cross, Musca, and Scorpio during late hours. Constellations such as Orion, Canis Major, and Canis Minor set early in the month. Even Venus made an appearance in the evening and early morning.

Leopards, on the other hand, remained more elusive, leaving only their tracks around the camp. Closely monitoring their imprints, we know a diverse community roamed the area, including cubs and larger individuals, while smaller tracks traced the main road to Baines’ Baobabs.

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the precise 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!)