Nxai Pan

Nxai Pan Camp, February 2022

Lion sightings were fantastic in Nxai Pan National Park. We saw the Nxai Pan Pride of eleven (five sub-adult males and two sub-adult females, two adult females and two adult males) several times, and they appeared to dominate the territory at first. One day vultures perched conspicuously on a tree led us to the pride on the kill of a fully-grown zebra, while other days, the lions came to us. The Nxai Pan pride visited the waterhole in front of the camp and made themselves very comfortable. 

Nxai Pan Camp Summer

Early one morning, we saw the five sub-adults passing through Nxai Pan Camp at a run. They were being chased away by two other dominant males that were not part of the pride. We had heard lions roaring all around camp the evening before. One of the younger males in the Nxai Pan pride came off second-best and was severely injured, struggling to walk, but the other sub-adult escorted him closely to ensure safety.

These two dominant males were then seen across the salt flats of Kudiakam Pan, heading south of the reserve after the battle. There were other sightings of four sub-adult females with two males around this area where Baines’ baobabs stand sentry over the waterlogged salt pan. On one day trip to the trees, we surprised a Mozambique spitting cobra sunbathing on the road. 

Hyenas, honey badgers and breeding herds

We enjoyed seeing a clan of six Spotted hyenas at the camp waterhole during breakfast, which was hardly surprising given all the recent action! We had big breeding herds of elephants and the usual lone bull elephants drinking there regularly. The grass across the park was green but kept short by the myriad mammals mowing the lawns. Sitting on the deck, we surveyed many of these herbivores at work. Dazzles of zebras, big herds of Springboks, Impalas, Kudus, Steenboks, wildebeest, Oryx, hartebeest, warthogs and some buffaloes too.  

Zebra Migration Summer

Early morning drives proved productive for Scrub hares, Side-striped jackals, plus Small spotted genet, African wild cat, Banded mongoose and Honey badger sightings. 

There were still plenty of puddles and pans holding rainwater. These have become home to the Water scorpion and other aquatic bugs. At the same time, the Giant jewel beetle, Brown-veined white butterflies and Guinea fowl butterflies made hay of the ample nectar offerings provided by all the blooms. The Poison apple, Fireball lily and Wandering jew were all in flower, as were the Common cork wood and the Trumpet thorn.  

Birdlife has likewise blossomed with the bevvy of migratory birds still swopping about the skies. The Common buzzard, Montagu’s harrier, Greater kestrel and Lanner falcon were noteworthy additions to the raptor list. At the same time, waters swelled with species, too, thanks to the presence of Black-headed herons, Yellow-billed storks, African spoonbills and the African snipe.

(Note: 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!)

Pom Pom

Pom Pom Camp, February 2022

Lucky guests saw three different leopards in a day this month! We first came across a handsome male resting on the termite mound, and then, just as it started getting dark, our spotlights shone on a female with her sub-adult cub by Kessy’s Field. The mother was clearly expecting her next litter, and we felt she was trying (without much success) to persuade her cub to move out. Two different female leopards were also seen in the Pom Pom Camp surroundings. One day, we discovered one of them being harassed by three Spotted hyenas, but she managed to keep her kill safely out of their scavenging paws. 

The Pom Pom pack in camp

There were regular sightings of the pack of two African wild dogs and an additional pack of 10 that frequented the area. We witnessed a kill right in front of the camp when the ten-strong group managed to nab an impala opposite tent one. They first gave the puppies a chance to feed for a few minutes before the adults moved in to eat. The puppies certainly are the most privileged individuals in the pack! We enjoyed watching the pack dynamics until suddenly, six Spotted hyenas arrived on the scene to steal the meal. It was not easy for them because the dogs outnumbered hyenas, and the united pack managed to keep the clan off their dinner. 

Pom Pom Camp Wildlife

Plenty of hippos enjoyed the water in front of the central area, and they graced us with their presence and guffaws throughout February. We also saw plenty of other huge herbivores on our early morning and late afternoon game drives. We noticed particularly large breeding herds of elephants, and the usual zebras, giraffes, Red lechwes, buffalos, Impalas, Kudus and Tsessebes. Then there was the enchanting acrobatics of the baboons and monkeys, which provided terrific entertainment during the hotter hours of the day. 

Hippo Pom Pom Camp

Night drives were just as good, with the highlight being several encounters with the little insect-eating Aardwolf. Not only is this nocturnal creature an insectivore, but it feeds on a particular type of termite, which is likewise active at night. Isn’t our natural world astonishing? Night drives also yielded fantastic sightings of the Small spotted genet, African wild cat, Side-striped Jackal, African civet, and porcupines. 

The birdlife in camp was also excellent. Many species found shelter in our tall forest trees that beautifully shade the tents. The Blue waxbill and Common waxbill were frequently identified, along with White-bellied sunbirds, Southern masked weavers, Golden weavers, Verreaux’s eagle owl and the ever-present Fish eagles plus the Yellow-billed stork. Elsewhere we logged Malachite kingfishers, Black heron, African jacana and Pel’s fishing owl.

We often saw a coalition of three cheetahs along Manontlhotlho area. We also noticed some tracks around Letswai area and Kessy’s Field. A young male lion was frequently seen and easily identified due to an injured hind leg. He scored the wound during a territorial tussle with bigger males over a giraffe kill. Another pride of five males and four lions have occupied the northwest areas of Pom Pom, and we often located them on the move, hunting at night. We’ve kept a close eye on the lionesses because three are heavily pregnant. We can’t wait to see their cubs! 

(Note: 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!)

Lebala

Lebala Camp, February 2022

Lebala Camp Sunrise

A pack of three wild dogs crossed our path at Nare Pan as we concluded a fascinating nature walk this month. We admired the trio from a distance as they sniffed all the animal scents (including ours) around the waterhole. We also noticed that water monitor lizards were very active around the waterhole areas.

The general game has been excellent, with elephants often swimming in the river and mud-bathing on sunny days. We found giraffes everywhere and witnessed large numbers of zebra, wildebeest and kudu. We’ve also enjoyed big herds of Eland antelopes in the area and several sets of Southern ground hornbills hunting or moving around in search of food. The African cuckoo was still around, and the Amur falcons were seen in large flocks. A small, kestrel-like falcon, this summer visitor migrates all the way from northern and eastern Asia.  

Two Brown hyenas have been active at their den site throughout the month, and we often caught them in the afternoon, moving about or digging and neatening their burrow.

Lebala Camp Wildlife

Three male lions slept through the afternoon heat at Skimmer Pan, and we later found a lactating lioness hunting along the river. She started walking more inland, and we followed her, hoping to see the cubs, but the thick Mopane forest blocked the route. Fortunately,  as we were finishing up the night drive, we found this lioness with her three cubs (roughly three months old) and watched them frolic for a long time before our tummies started to growl for dinner.  

Unforgettable evening encounters

Night drives have been totally enthralling this month. We came across a lioness hunting and followed her through the bush. With the engine off, we heard other lions roaring, and they showed up to chase off the lioness. She had to scamper for a good kilometre. On another evening, we saw a lioness chasing the jackals through thickets.

We saw both a serval and an African wildcat hunting and found three aardwolves together. It appeared to be a single parent looking after two little ones, and their den was very close to the camp. We have also noticed another den site near Halfway Pan but haven’t set eyes on the occupants yet.

The fireflies were still around and entertained our guests on walks back to the tents after dinner before the soft beeping sounds of the reed frogs later lulled them to sleep. 

(Note: Accompanying picture is 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!)

Lagoon

Lagoon Camp, February 2022

Jackal berry and towering Fig trees have been bursting with berries. There are two motivations for how the Jackal berry earned its name. Number one is that the seeds from the tasty fruit have been seen in jackal droppings, but we prefer the second. They say that the berries are often not very visible. They are wily and elusive, like the fabled animal that often features in African folklore. Fruits from both trees provide nutrition for an array of species. This month, they attracted the parrot-coloured Green pigeons and noisy Grey go-away birds and squirrels. We have yet to see the jackal eat them, though.

Speaking of trees, our sharp-eyed team spotted a Green spotted bush snake near the central area going up a tree, and we saw a Boomslang between the kitchen and the dining area.

Lagoon Sightings Report-2

Most of the termite mounds have bred big fungus umbrellas and these mushrooms sure gained the attention of baboons and monkeys. These impressive mushrooms can also be eaten by humans and can form a remarkable diameter up to 50 centimetres long. Other insects logged this month include the shapely Rhino beetle, several dung beetles, the harvester termites and the gorgeous African monarch butterfly.

General game along the flood plains included lots of waterbucks, dazzles of zebras, Red lechwes, and we often encountered elephants along the river drinking water as well as mating pairs of Wattled cranes. We also appreciated the sighting of a big herd of Eland.

Two lionesses with six cubs were spotted at Giraffe Pan feeding on an Eland carcass. We later found a different group of four lions had landed another Eland and were enjoying the spoils of a rather enormous feast. A pride of 14 lions was seen frequently, once at hunting at Grass Pan and then on the Main Road hunting close to the river.

Lagoon Sightings Report

Two cheetah brothers were located at Water Cut Road with full bellies and the resident pack of ten wild dogs (four adults and six subadults) lay near Lebengula Road with full bellies of their own. We later found this pack minus a member, and we sadly discovered the animal dead, with what looked like a savage bite mark on the head.

Leopard activity included a male feeding on warthog on the ground while a female leopard lay upon a tree nearby. We also located a female leopard with a cub along James Road and later on Rakgolo road. This female also enjoyed an impala kill, which it stashed safely into a tree for stress-free feeding.  

Lots of springhares and the small bushbabies jumped across our spotlight on night drives, and we had an opportunity to watch the Black-backed jackals from close quarters. The night sky was outstanding, too, and we could see the most prominent constellations such as Taurus, Canis Minor, Canis Major, and Orion. Autumn is undoubtedly on its way because Scorpio was just visible on the eastern side very early in the morning.

(Note: 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!)

Kwara, Splash

Splash and Kwara Camp, February 2022

Just before Valentine’s Day, we witnessed a young female leopard between the curio shop and the public bathrooms at Splash Camp. The animal was skittish to start but soon relaxed. It locked eyes on a genet and started hunting and chasing the genet. It was incredible to see this action safely from the dining area on foot.

Best place to see wild dogs

Trackers located 13 wild dogs at Impala Pan, where they were actively hunting, but they aborted the mission when they came across a dead baby elephant, and the pack started feeding on the carcass instead. The Kwara Pack of wild dogs was seen hunting along Jackal Den road but was also unsuccessful. A group of 14 dogs was then seen at Goms crossing, finally feeding in a frenzy upon a Red lechwe kill. 

However, more action indeed transpired with the felines this February. A female leopard was seen hunting near Motswere Pan, and we watched her land an impala meal before she dragged into the long grass and disappeared from our sight. Another female leopard was seen at the Marapo a Kubu Pan with wet nipples, so we suspect she has cubs hidden nearby. We also encountered a male leopard on the way to the mokoro station. It sat in the middle of an island, scanning the area. 

Mr Special still dominates

Mr Special, the resident male cheetah, was seen loitering around the Kwara Camp area, sniffing around a termite mound north of staff village. He then marked his territory and sat on the termite mount, looking for animals. Three other cheetahs were located in the Bat-eared fox area (one female and her subadult cub, plus a nomadic male). The male was visibly disturbed by the cub’s presence kept growling at her, but the mother was very protective, holding her body between the male and the cub. This nomadic male was found dead with bite marks on his neck the following day, and we uncovered Mr Special roughly a hundred yards away. We suspect that he caught up with the nomadic male and killed him. 

The Mmaleitho Pride was resident in Kwara Camp for at least a week and a half. We mostly saw three females with two cubs around rooms 4, 5 and 12. The pride occasionally moved to the staff village and rested near the firebreak. One morning, two of these females were seen hunting right in front of Kwara Camp, aiming for the wildebeest. However, there was not enough cover and all the prey scattered. 

The Kwara Pride, consisting of two females and three cubs, was seen on a zebra carcass along Tom’s Road. The kill was relatively new, and the three cubs were neatly hidden under a small shrub not very far from the kill. The Kwara Pride also attempted an ostrich hunt, but the quest didn’t succeed. The wide-eyed bird spotted the lionesses and speedily fled the scene. 

Later in the month, a further pride of lions of four lionesses, two cubs, and five males were seen resting along Tom’s road and hunting around Lechwe Plains later that afternoon. 

Four of the five resident males were located close to Splash Camp with two Splash Pride females. The animals were well fed and headed north in the mopane woodland. Two male lions (the Zulu Boys) were located at Green Pan. 

The Spotted hyena den was active, with one cub and a couple of adults resting by the den site. One hyena came trotting along during dinner after our exciting leopard sighting at Splash Camp and actively investigated the feline scents left behind. Spotted hyenas have also been seen frequently around Kwara Camp, Splash Hippos and Lechwe Plains. One day we found a dead giraffe at the aptly named Giraffe Pan. We assume the animal died of old age because it was still intact. The hyenas were out in their numbers to enjoy the feast.   

Brilliant bird sightings

We encountered plenty of elephants in almost all the game drive routes, Red lechwes, Tsessebes, giraffes, Hippos, Impalas, Waterbucks and noticed many raptor species, including Tawny, Wahlberg and Brown snake-eagles. A juvenile Southern ground hornbill was seen around the Splash Hippos area, with two adults following closely behind. These hornbills are long-lived birds and only reach maturity at six years old. Like all smaller hornbills, they also nest in tree hollows, which can be hard to find for a bird this size!

Ground Hornbills Botswana

A pair of nesting secretary birds at the Bat-eared Fox area also provided excellent birdwatching. Saddle-billed storks, Wattled cranes, European bee-eaters, Carmine bee-eaters, Egyptian geese, Hamerkops and lots of teals were present this month too.

Days spent out on the water were fruitful. We saw a Double-banded courser and Grey-headed kingfishers on mokoro activities and two male sitatungas along the Kwara Channel during a boat cruise in the morning. We also found a crocodile feeding on a baby warthog at Motswere Mogobe. The warthog family was trying to cross the water body, and sadly the baby was caught.

(Note: Accompanying pictures 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!)

Ntswi

Moremi Crossing Camp, January 2022

It rained a lot in the first three weeks of 2022, and the water has filled different parts of the Boro River channel, which runs in front of the camp. There has not been enough water to recommence boating safaris or to safely mokoro around the hippos that have found refuges in the deeper pools. Still, thanks to the cooler weather and cloud cover, we could conduct some brilliant nature walks, and these on-foot safaris have been wildly productive!  

During a nature walk one afternoon, we encountered several impala herds, a dazzle of zebra and watched in awe as a breeding herd of elephants crossed the river with mighty big splashing sounds.  

The general game has thrived with the fresh grasses and plentiful watering holes. Giraffe, warthogs, baboon troops and monkey gangs, red lechwe, common reedbuck, elephant, Spotted hyenas and widespread buffalo herds feeding in the lagoons were seen on game drives.

We saw several wild dog and leopard tracks, but the lions stole the show this month. On a morning game drive into Moremi Game Reserve, we came across a pride of five lions on Chief’s Island. The following day, they were joined by three other females, and we watched them as they patrolled the area in search of breakfast.

At the end of the month, we heard baboons alarming calling through the camp and on investigation, we tracked a big sub-adult male lion walking past the tents. Two Black-backed jackals and two Spotted hyenas were also very active in the area.

A flight of fireflies and African skimmers linger

Turning our eyes upward, Kwando Safaris guide Titus noted that “The sky has its own beauty at this time of year with heavy, ominous clouds”. It was also filled with summer visitors. The African skimmers flicked above the Boro River waters, and the Black coucals took full advantage of the long, rank grass in the marshes and flooded grasslands. We have also heard the distinctive calls of the Dideric and Jacobin cuckoo, Woodland Kingfisher and snapping beaks of the vivid Carmine bee-eaters (though they are admittedly starting to lose their colour). Big flocks of Collared pratincoles have also been observed, lots of Spur-winged geese, African fish eagle pairs, Wattled crane couples and plenty of storks.

Guests of Moremi Crossing Camp were really excited to see glow worms and fireflies at night. These enigmatic little insects are often seen in the vicinity of Sycamore fig trees, which are plentiful. The males can fly, while the females don’t possess these acrobatic abilities and as such are known as the ‘worms’.  

Dragonflies, butterflies, dung beetles and fishing spiders have also been plentiful. Walking also allowed us to witness the little Tok-tokkie beetle at work. The males tap their abdomens in a rhythmic pattern on the ground to gain the female’s attention. Perhaps in preparation for the upcoming Valentine’s Day…

(Note: Accompanying picture is 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!)

Tau Pan

Tau Pan Camp, January 2022

Tau Pan Green season

We kicked off the year in true Tau Pan Camp style with a sighting of four lionesses accompanied by six cubs and five males in the eastern part of the area on 1 January 2022. They were catching some shade by sheltering below bushes while the males lay down in the open as if to show off their full bellies. 

This resident Tau Pan pride were seen drinking from the camp waterhole often. One morning, we tracked them through the alarm call of a jackal. They were full-bellied again, and the cubs were playing around with the skull of an oryx. We repeatedly encountered the pride at play which is always a joy to watch. Especially when lions are typically lethargic and can rest for up to 20 hours a day. 

An implausibility of wildebeest

Plains game sightings included high numbers of Oryx, lots of steenboks, a few kudus, healthy implausibilities of Blue wildebeest, a massive amount of springbok and a large click of eland along the Aardwolf Road one day. Did you know? The giant eland antelope breeds all year round. 

This month, we did not see any leopards but found plenty of tracks that proved their omnipresence. Guides spotted four sub-adult cheetahs through another alarm call from our wily friend, the Black-backed jackal, when it called south of the Tau Pan area. They were resting under the tree and looked hungry. Three days later, we encountered three of these cheetahs. We suspected a female was missing because they usually remain solitary between periodic meet-ups with the males. We soon spotted her, but this time accompanied by a cub and hunting on the northern side of Tau Pan. 

Passarge Valley of plenty

Passarge Valley proved particularly productive and yielded a mating pair of Kalahari spine agamas and a Brown hyena running through the bush. One day, we also stopped for a big flock of White-backed vultures and Lappet-faced vultures and saw them feeding on the carcass of a juvenile ostrich chick. 

On a day trip to Deception Valley, we came across a caracal on the move, and in another exciting sighting, an African wild cat was seen active during the day, which is unusual. Early in the month we also located a well-hidden Black-backed jackal den during our morning game drive west of Tau Pan.

Sandgrouse regularly flocked to the full waterholes, and the Kalahari landscape has been fantastic with its greener trees and flowers in bloom. This attracted a glut of insects, and hungry birds soon followed. Even ostriches took advantage of the softer stems, sweet flowers, fresh leaves, and small fruits of the trees. We have seen an abundance of ostriches within the Tau Pan area, sometimes counting 40 in one drive.   

We also noticed a flock of Abdims storks, some Bateleur eagles, Red-knobbed coots, and once a Barn owl came to visit the camp’s central area. Black-shouldered kite, Northern black and Red-crested korhaan were familiar sightings, and guides also noted many juvenile Southern pale chanting goshawks and Yellow-billed kites around. 

(Note: Accompanying picture is 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!)

Dinare

Dinare Camps, January 2022

January marks the middle of our rainy season, and the Gomoti River has risen every day due to the high amount of localized showers we’ve experienced. This month, we recorded 86mm of rain and enjoyed warm days with spectacular afternoon thunderstorms. These cloud gatherings conjure breathtaking sunsets and make for dramatic photography at this time of the year.

Lion vs. buffalo

Our resident male lion Sankedi was not seen for a few weeks but returned with a bang. Kwando guide NT describes it with comedy. “One night during dinner, he roared very close to Mma Dinare Camp, and our guests needed no introduction. It was like a Dolby surround sound speaker broke the silent night”. During one morning drive, a pride of four lions was found feeding on a giraffe.

The Tees pride was seen frequently on our game drives through the reserve, often with a buffalo kill. One day 12 lions lay sleeping in the shade, and guides noted that one was injured — perhaps in pursuit of their favoured prey? The African buffalo is a formidable animal known for its grumpy temperament!

In yet another testament to the name of our camp, we have seen enormous herds of these buffalo grazing, often numbering 100 or more in a grunting congregation feeding on the lush plains. Meanwhile, the old dagga bulls have lazily bathed in the numerous water ponds filled from the rains.

A first for us!

More unusually, we spotted a female leopard on a young buffalo kill. It was pulled very high into a tree away from the competition. Kwando guides report that it is not common to come across a leopard preying on buffalo. However, a young buffalo was seen alone in the same area the previous night. It is a reminder that cats are opportunists! if a young buffalo is separated from the rest they will take advantage.

Healthy African Wild Dogs roam Santawani

A pack of seven healthy wild dogs was frequently spotted in the Santawani area, and they were looking fantastic. Their coats were shiny, and bellies bulged thanks to the influx of young impala prey. “The young antelopes that were born at the end of 2021 and survived are strong and very fit”, NT reported. “They are giving predators a hard time”. We enjoyed some great cheetah sightings this month and spent a wonderful afternoon with a coalition of two relaxing in the shade one day.  

A giant crocodile was seen at Sam Pan, which is 7 kilometres away from Gomoti River, and it’s not the only creature that went walkabout. The hippos have also been noted wallowing in water holes far away from the main rivers because they have plenty to graze upon these days. One morning, a hippo was seen feeding on land near the mokoro station despite the sun beating down on its back. Elephants also enjoyed the plentiful mud wallows across the reserve.

A feast for feathered friends

Birding has been equally fantastic. With all butterflies and insects around, it’s been a feeding frenzy. The migratory Woodlands kingfisher was joined by Carmine bee-eaters, Broad-billed rollers and Yellow-billed kite. A particular highlight was seeing termites eruptions after the rains. Marabou storks, rollers, plus many more birds enjoyed the insect feast.

Back at Mma Dinare camp, guests were delighted to watch eight giraffes as they journeyed past room eight. Significant numbers of buffalo, grazing zebra, elephants, kudu, and red lechwe were also seen from the main area deck as they drank from the river. At nighttime, the eerie human-like laugh of Spotted hyenas was usually heard from camp.

(Note: Accompanying picture is 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!)

Nxai Pan

Nxai Pan Camp, January 2022

Nxai Pan Summer

There was lots of lion activity at Nxai Pan this month. On a day trip to Baines’ Baobabs, Kwando guides came across a tower of giraffes, and all were looking in one direction, which can sometimes indicate predators nearby. Following this instinct, guides detected the Nxai Pan pride of 11 lions settled around the kill of male kudu. 

One dominant male was located east of Nxai Pan Camp, heading to the waterhole, and guests followed it in a vehicle. However, a few minutes later, a big herd of elephants disrupted its peaceful drink, chasing the lion until he eventually disappeared into the bushes.  

Two male lions were also seen at the other waterhole in the south, and the following morning we came across the Nxai Pan pride loping across the flourishing grasslands east of West Road. 

We did not see any leopard this month, but we did come across fresh tracks on the road to Baines’ Baobabs. Likewise, we didn’t have any cheetah sightings, and we only heard Spotted hyenas when they called during dinner time. We did notice an increase in reptile activity, however. We surprised a Black mamba basking in the sun on the side of the road to Baines’ Baobab and caught sight of a golden Cape cobra crossing the road. Guides also clocked a beautiful Boomslang on the West Road,  following it until it vanished into the tall grass.

A blossom of butterflies

Insect life thrived this month thanks to the plentiful pools of rainwater. There were pond skaters in the natural waterholes,  crickets and Tok-tokkie beetles scampered through the fields alongside the busy dung beetles that had to clean up after all the Plains zebra now milling about. We’ve been blessed with an abundance of butterflies too. Brown-veined white butterflies, Broad-bordered yellow grass and African monarch butterflies have been noted this month. 

Flowers have blossomed too, including Flannel weed, Jackal food, brightly coloured Flame lily and Cats tail. 

Zebra migration update

Kwando Safaris guide Matt reported, “An outstanding migration of zebras has arrived. The area is green everywhere, and we saw many animals in the pans with their young”. Nxai Pan has had excellent general game, and herbivores sighted include the jubilant springboks, gemsbok, red hartbeest, wildebeest, small groups kudu and large groups of giraffe, sometimes numbering 30 individuals in a group. 

Guests loved seeing the Bat-eared foxes with their two cubs. They had created a burrow at the side of a termite mound close to the road. We also located an aardwolf, and a Honey badger visited the camp behind the kitchen near the water tanks. Scrub hare and Black-backed jackal were seen regularly on early morning drives. 

Migratory birds such as the Steppe buzzard, European and Blue-cheeked bee-eater, European roller, Greater snipe, Barn swallow and Denhams Busard were all seen across the skies. We also enjoyed watching a Black-chested snake eagle feeding on a Striped skink and Tawny eagles feeding on termites. Birding became action-packed one day when we found a White-backed vulture fighting a Lappet-faced vulture over an elephant carcass.

(Note: Accompanying picture is 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!)

Pom Pom

Pom Pom Camp, January 2022

Jackals Okavango Delta

As well as regular encounters with the resident Pom Pom Pride, there was further outstanding cat action in this rich region of the Okavango Delta this green season. Dalton reported that “we had beautiful sightings of lions and leopards in Pom Pom Reserve” during January.

Much to the delight of our guests, we saw four leopards in different locations in just one morning. We first found two male leopards and then a female leopard with a cub (roughly two years old) feeding on a male impala in the fork of a Sausage Tree. On another day, we visited a big male leopard in Mochimbamo island feeding on a sub-adult female kudu,  safely stored in the boughs of a towering Rain tree.

We came across three new lions in our area (a coalition of two lionesses and one big male). Dalton estimated that the lionesses must have been roughly four years old and that the big male aged about eight. The king of the carnivores can live up to 14 or 15 years if he is very successful, but males are often killed in territorial disputes at the age of ten. This guy was in his prime. On another game drive, we found a romantic couple that had snuck away from the rest of the Pom Pom Pride. The lioness and big male were mating at Zeppa, near the mokoro station.  

Another morning, we picked up on the tracks of a pride at Rebecca’s field heading to the North-East of Xinega. We followed the paw prints for about two hours before locating four lionesses and a male lion resting under a big Jackal berry tree. One of the most prominent species in the Delta, the majestic Jackal berry trees were covered in creamy white flowers at this time of year.  

We also found a clan of twelve Spotted hyenas at Rebecca’s field lying down near a vast waterhole and on another early morning, we watched five hyenas being chased by a pack of ten wild dogs!

We saw this pack again at Kessy’s Field hunting impala without success because the tall grass and wild sage proved too tricky to move through at their famously dangerous pace. We’ve also noticed a small pack of two wild dogs that tend to move between the airstrip, Manonthoto and the camp, and to Pom Pom Camp’s northeast.

Scrub hare, Small spotted genet, African wild cat, Springhare and Side-striped jackal were all recorded during night drives. Dalton recalled the creative ways jackals fill their bellies in this months report. “Jackals live alone or in pairs that stay together for life. They can locate carrion by smell when they are downwind, but also by sounds of large carnivores fighting for food (we call this intra-specific competition). Jackals drink water if they can, but they can go for some time without because they often feed on fruits. They are very clever”.  

General game included elephants (breeding herds and bachelors), buffalo, giraffe, tsessebe,  Blue wildebeest, kudu, Common reedbuck, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Steenbok, Common duiker, Red lechwe, Impala, hippo and zebra.

(Note: Accompanying picture is 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!)