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4 Rivers, February 2024

A pride of 10 lions with cubs became a familiar sight. Adding to the spectacle, three imposing males from the Kwara pride patrolled the region between 4 Rivers Camp and Kwara Camp.

Another remarkable morning, we ventured eastward on a game drive, reaching the Paradise or Tsum Tsum area, where we were treated to the sight of 13 lions resting in the expansive flood plains. Two days later, a male lion was sighted in the southern part of 4 Rivers lagoon, engaging in scent marking. Venturing northwest of Tsum Tsum, we traced the tracks of a significant lion pride, numbering nine. We explored the area further, discovering the remnants of a tsessebe antelope in the grassland, with hooded vultures perching on nearby trees. To our delight, we found the pride lying down in the nearest bushes, their bellies full from a recent feast.

Three lions were spotted in the morning at Last Mabala, stealthily stalking red lechwes. However, the openness of the area thwarted their attempt. Later that afternoon, we discovered three male lions resting along J.D Spillway. Another more minor pride of five lions secured their breakfast by capturing two warthogs and a red lechwe.

In mid-February, two leopards were observed along the main road to Kwara in the eastern part of the area. Later that day, in the afternoon, a male leopard made a captivating appearance along the scenic flood plains. Adding to the leopard tales (or should they be tails?), we had a delightful encounter with a serene female leopard one morning as she actively hunted tree squirrels. We closely followed her for approximately an hour as she skilfully navigated different habitats, transitioning from grassland to thickets in search of potential prey. Despite her efforts, she didn’t achieve a successful hunt and eventually settled down to rest in the nearest bushes.

On multiple occasions, a cheetah was observed in the northeastern region of the Paradise area, consistently displaying the vibrant energy of a young male.

Abundant Wildlife: Zebras, Elephants, and Avian Delights

The landscape came alive with zebras scattered throughout the area, alongside wildebeest, red lechwes along the floodplains, and the distinctive figures of warthogs and kudus. Substantial herds of elephants and buffaloes frequented the vicinity around the camp. These majestic creatures often visited the main river for a refreshing drink during the late afternoon.

Hippos Tsum Tsum river

Crocodiles lurked in the 4 Rivers lagoon and other pans, feeding on trapped fish and taking advantage of the drying conditions. Birds likewise congregated, feasting on the abundance. Among the avian residents, sightings of storks, African spoonbills, egrets, and ibises have offered special moments for observers.

Carmine bee-eaters, displaying their unique feeding behaviour near vehicles, were a delight for photographers. Birds of prey included the majestic bateleur eagles, martial eagles, numerous brown snake eagles, and the distinctive secretarybirds. Adding to the activity, the golden weavers began constructing their intricate nests in the green grass. 

A proliferation of water lily flowers in the river infused the mokoro excursions with beautiful colours. Guests also loved the charismatic presence of painted reed frogs. Due to diminished rainfall, floods have receded.

Still, the floodplains burst with exquisite grass species: the soft elegance of white-tufted snowflake grasses swayed in the gentle summer breeze and the warm glow of Natal red top grass created captivating scenery for enchanting sundowners that featured diverse cloud formations.

We had terrific glimpses of small spotted genets, civets and servals at dusk along the floodplains, witnessed during the night drive back to camp. Spotted hyenas were observed scavenging on carcasses abandoned by other predators in the region.  

Game drives offered glimpses of various snake species, including the impressive rock python, the visually striking spotted bush snakes, and the intriguing Mozambique spitting cobras.

(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!)