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Moremi Crossing, October 2023

Often spotted between Tents 8 and 9, guests revelled in the rare sighting of a feathered basso.

Much like a soprano, but with a bass voice or vocal part, the Pel’s fishing owl is a large and striking bird that boasts dark brown plumage, a broad face, and calls with a low, deep hoot that’s audible from 3km away.

Pel's Fishing Owl MX - By Leslie Robert Edgar
By Leslie Robert Edgar

The Pel’s fishing owl thrives in riverine habitats characterized by slow-flowing or still water, such as lagoons, swamps, and riverbanks, making the Okavango Delta’s water channels and lagoons (as found near Moremi Crossing Camp) an optimal environment for habitation.

The predators of Moremi Crossing Camp

Two prides paraded the Gunn’s Private Concession — one flaunting five lionesses, the other a formidable six-member crew victorious in toppling buffalos. There are also dominant males, the Moremi Boys. Lions share the Okavango Delta with other predators, such as leopards, cheetahs, and African wild dogs. Interactions between these species, including competition for prey and conflicts over territory, contribute to the dynamic ecosystem of the delta. 

A resident leopard revealed her covert life with a newborn cub in the shadowy realms. Leopard cubs are typically born in a litter of one to three cubs and remain with their mother for an extended period because she is solely responsible for hunting and providing food.

The Matsebe pack of 15 African wild dogs made several appearances. The group included seven playful puppies and eight seasoned adults who had no trouble felling a red lechwe during one unforgettable afternoon drive. African wild dogs are highly social animals, living in packs led by an alpha pair. These packs can vary in size, typically ranging from 6 to 20 individuals, but larger packs have been observed (for example, 29 animals in the Kwara Private Concession). Social bonds are vital within the pack, and they exhibit cooperative behaviours such as communal care of the young and group hunting.

Mma Leitho, a hyena matriarch, nurtured four fuzzy companions in the southeast, but their den site remained a secret cocoon. Dozens of Peters’ epauletted fruit bats hung like living chandeliers from the main area, a fascinating spectacle for our enchanted visitors. 

Walking Moremi Crossing

Our safari guests, seekers of connection, found solace in nature walks on Chief’s Island. On the wide-open floodplains, elephants, zebras, lechwe, impalas, tsessebe, warthogs, giraffes, and buffalo were easy to spot from a distance. Animals gathered at the last reservoirs in this flat geography as the Boro River’s water levels receded further in response to the relentless October sun.  

(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!)