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Tau Pan Camp, January 2024

The pan has been unusually dry this month. Consequently, we embarked on longer drives from the camp. Despite the uncommon conditions, our epic expeditions had many exciting moments! 

The most memorable? Watching approximately eight black-backed jackals join forces to confront a baby oryx. This young oryx had become separated from its mother due to a bull attempting to mate with her.

Black backed jackals Tau Pan

The jackals persistently tested their luck for about 10 to 15 minutes until the same bull that had chased the mother returned to the rescue. However, the jackals did not easily relent, continuing their challenges until we departed as the sun descended. 

The plentiful joys of Passarge Valley

Many of our best general game sightings occurred along the Passarge waterhole to Passarge Valley, where we watched numerous oryx with their young, springboks with offspring, wildebeests, and occasionally a few red hartebeests. We also encountered one timid brown hyena on the route to the Passarge waterhole from the camp, before it swiftly disappeared.

A cheetah mother of three cubs, estimated to be 7 to 8 months old, was observed resting under a buffalo horn acacia at the Passarge waterhole. Following that, she was sighted along Phukwi Pan for three consecutive days. Another mother, accompanied by a subadult cub, was glimpsed on the northern part of Tau Pan during one of the afternoon drives. Additionally, two subadult cubs were seen at Letiahau Pan, resting on the roadside, leading us to assume that their mother had left them, possibly for hunting.

The scarcity of rainfall significantly influenced the movement patterns of local prides, including the resident Tau Pan pride. During one morning activity, we encountered the airstrip pride attempting to hunt adult giraffes, but the endeavour yielded no positive results. Due to the heat, they sought shade under an acacia tree on the roadside. The same pride, accompanied by two of the five dominant males, was spotted at Passarge Valley, feasting on an oryx. At times, the Tau Pan pride ventured into camp, entertaining with their playful activities and creating noise, and in the mornings, they frequented the waterhole, offering a picturesque view from the deck of the main area. The last three days of the month were particularly special, as our resident pride was consistently present in the camp, even during the nighttime. 

Leopard swimming pool bush

A resident subadult leopard female attuned to our movements, and one morning, she visited the poolside while we tucked into breakfast around the fire. 

Busy families of bat-eared foxes and ground squirrels contributed to the lively atmosphere in and around Tau Pan. We also spotted secretarybirds twice this month on the hunt. Additionally, sightings of a pale chanting goshawk, Gabar goshawk, and peregrine falcons added to the avian diversity around the pan. 

Limited rainfall prompted many animals to migrate to other areas. The harsh Kalahari landscape featured trees gradually turning brown, and temperatures reached a maximum of 42 degrees. Natural waterholes were dry, and animals relied solely on pumped waterholes. Elephants hovered in the area seeking water, but encounters were limited to tracking their footprints and dung along our game drive routes. 

(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!)