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4 Rivers Camp, November 2023

We headed out on many a cheetah-tracking adventure this month!

Trackers and guides located fresh cheetah tracks on the east side of Tsum Tsum. The pursuit led us to the northern part of the region, tirelessly following the faint trail for nearly 30 minutes. Our efforts were rewarded as we unexpectedly encountered the renowned “Mr Special” concealed in tall grass, guided by the vigilant alarm calls of common reedbucks. However, the morning didn’t end with a successful hunt. Towards the end of the month, a newly discovered cheetah, seemingly more relaxed, was observed on the eastern fringes of Tsum Tsum.

In the heart of 4 Rivers, lions kept everyone on our toes. The Kwara pride, a team of three robust males, four regal females, and a lively ensemble of sub-adults with cubs, stole the show. With 20 members, this pride grapples with internal dynamics, breaking into smaller groups due to the intensifying competition for sustenance. We witnessed a marsh-side feast on wildebeest and the later spectacle of the Kwara pride relishing the spoils of two zebras. Our guests also observed the War pride indulging in a giraffe feast.

Leopards are being seen more and more at 4 Rivers. On 15 November, a male leopard crossed our path, utilizing the roads common to these stealthy creatures during nighttime. Another leopard was seen on 20 November at the eastern edge of the 4 Rivers waterhole. Tracking African wild dogs led us to their resting place under a jackalberry tree.

As temperatures cooled, the dogs stirred, and the pack ventured into a marshy area. There, they discovered a leopard with its prey, a common reedbuck. As hyenas joined the scene, a dramatic skirmish ensued, creating a tense standoff. In the wild hierarchy, the outnumbered leopard yielded to the combined might of hyenas and wild dogs.

African wild dogs 4 Rivers

Hyenas become a familiar sight, drawn to waterholes during the searing heat. Their numbers surged, and occasionally, the animals shadowed the more prosperous African wild dogs, likely in anticipation of scavenging the remnants of a successful hunt.

Walking through a wild wonderland

Nature walks on Maboa Island came alive with countless birds, and the ground was adorned with the vibrant bloom of freshly germinated flowers. The termite mounds buzzed with activity, becoming lively hubs amid our exploration. As we strolled through the bush, a bustling community of insects, including dung beetles,  bright red velvet mites, ants, and their predators, tiny ant lions, revealed themselves, turning every step into an exciting discovery.

The northern side of Tsum Tsum burst into life, attracting various animals. Towering giraffes, herds of zebras, wildebeest, tsessebe, roan and sable antelope, and a herd of eland created rich scenery. The breeding season post-rainfall has predators keenly eyeing their vulnerable young. The changing weather also spurred activity among reptiles. We clocked eyes on leopard tortoises, pythons, black mambas, and crocodiles basking along riverbanks.

Night drives unveiled a cast of smaller mammals, from African wild cats and porcupines to rabbits, beautiful elegant servals and charming small-spotted genets.

The skies and waterways become alive with the arrival of birds from the north. Slaty egrets, woodland kingfishers, and black herons engaged in their respective captivating ballets of flight and fishing. We also saw carmine bee-eaters, Wahlberg eagles and many more species.

(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!)