Lagoon

Lagoon Camp, March 2022

The Lagoon Camp landscape was just glorious this March. Most trees and grasses still wore a summer uniform, but some areas have started losing their colours as autumn approaches. Happily, the Wild jasmine was still in flower together with the Ruspolia plant, which decorated the camp area in a handsome coat of red. Sunrise and sunset likewise gifted us with ruby hues. Once the sun disappeared, our night sky was fantastic on cloudless nights. Our guides noticed five planets lined up in a parade consisting of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn on several evenings.

Stargazing Lagoon Camp

One morning drive, Springhares entertained guests by fighting for dominance, a spectacle that lasted over 30 minutes. These crazy-looking creatures live in burrows and dig impressive warrens. Speaking of diggers, the dung beetles were still rolling their balls of dung, often with a mate catching a lift on the mound before her egg-laying duties commenced at the ideal excavation site. Bat-eared foxes were also seen foraging in different areas of the Kwando Private Reserve.

One night, we found a medium-sized python moving between room one and the main area of Lagoon Camp. A baby crocodile was also seen several times along the log underneath the deck by the boat station. Water monitor lizards often frequented this area too.

Lion prides and leopards in Leadwoods

We located two dominant lion prides (Mmadikolobe and the Holy Pride), but we have been lucky with sightings of the Mma Mosetlha pride, which comprises two lionesses, and the three Rra Leitho coalition too. One of these three male lions wears a collar. We watched 14 Black-backed jackals trying to steal scraps at one kill made by one of these impressive male lions! One evening during the night drive, we found the male with the collar from the Rra Leitho coalition, and he was bleeding around the right eye after a fight with the dominant males from the Rra Bogale coalition.

On another night safari, we came across a female leopard hunting along Rex Road. Porcupines and civets were also commonly seen during the evening activity.

A mother leopard of two cubs perched up on a Leadwood tree by the Firewood-Rakgolo junction, full-bellied and we later saw this female teaching her cubs to hunt an impala. Comically, they had very little success.  

We also came across a Brown hyena this month! It was very relaxed, walking along Makudi road before disappearing into a hole. We visited again to check if it was perhaps a den site, but there were no further signs of inhabitation. On another day, guides noticed many vultures and investigated to find a lone Spotted hyena feeding on a kudu carcass.

The resident pack of Wild dogs numbering nine was seen hunting. On another occasion, the team picked up the tracks of three dogs running around Grass Pan before disappearing into the thick bush. The next day they were seen at Giraffe Pan and identified as the resident Lebala Pack.

Fresh cheetah tracks gave us the run around for a few days. We spent about a week following the tracks and signs without a sighting until one afternoon proved fruitful. We spotted the two brothers on the move and followed them to a termite mound, where they spotted a Red lechwe. They stalked it over the next hour but failed to land the meal. We kept with them until they eventually managed to kill a female Red lechwe.

There have been excellent sightings of the general game, including enormous herds of Plains zebra numbering over a hundred in size. Breeding herds of elephants were also sighted on many occasions, and guests were delighted to see the Red lechwe leaping across the waters with a photographic splash. Lechwe are the most aquatic antelope after the Sitatunga and can feed in water up to their bellies (if they deem it safe from crocodiles). Roan and Sable antelopes were also witnessed, and we have been lucky with several Eland sightings.

Banded, Dwarf and Slender mongooses all made an appearance this month, and we once found a Black mamba halfway through its meal of an Emerald spotted wood dove on Rex Road.

Ground Hornbill Botswana

Most migrant birds were still around, including European, Carmine and Blue-cheeked bee-eaters, Broad-billed rollers, Woodland kingfishers, Jacobin cuckoos and Amur falcons. Ostriches, Wattled cranes and Ground hornbills were logged too.

(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!)

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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!)

Lagoon

Lagoon Camp, January 2022

Lagoon Camp Summer Sightings

Bat-eared foxes have had a brilliant time feeding on all the termites early in the morning and late afternoon. We’ve loved seeing these insectivores active thanks to the cooler rain-induced temperatures. 

On Maheke Road, we came across an impressive dazzle of zebra, and we estimated there must have been over 200. They formed a herd together with 20 Eland antelopes. We also came across a newborn zebra foal on Pangolin Road. It took precious time for the foal to gain its balance, and it wobbled around for over twenty minutes, but some fifty zebras stood nearby to ensure its safety. The general game along the flood plains has been rich with elephant breeding herds, elands, tsessebe and lots of Red lechwe. 

Wonderful Walking Safaris

We enjoyed such varied and diverse nature walks. Thanks to the insect activity, there was plenty to inspect, such as the Harvester termites and Matebele ants. We also saw many dung beetles pushing their big dung balls, which always look so comically enormous compared to the beetle’s diminutive body size. The tracks of different animal species were easily seen after the good rain, and we could safely approach elephants up to about 500 metres. Other animals sighted included Blue wildebeests and some Black-backed jackals. 

Fig trees and Jackal berry trees have burst with fruit, which has attracted Green pigeons, Grey go-away birds, and jackals. Most of the termite moulds also have mushrooms that gain baboons and monkeys’ attention.

Despite cloud cover on some nights, the sky was beautiful. The most prominent constellations were Taurus, Canis Minor, Canis Major and Orion. Very early in the morning, Scorpio was visible on the eastern side.

Brilliant Boating During January

During boat cruises, we noticed that the Kwando River had risen. It was also amazing to see the Red lechwe jumping across and splashing through the water. Wattled cranes have been seen several times along the river and other aquatic birds such as White-faced whistling ducks, Goliath herons, Black herons, and Dwarf bitterns.

At Halfway Pan, we always saw more than twenty crocodiles outside the water basking in the sun. One day, a small crocodile tried to grab a Spotted bush snake close to the boat in camp, but the small snake escaped. We often saw the Water striders and Water scorpions running on the water getting small insects such as the mosquitos during the boat cruises. 

Two lionesses with their six cubs were found along Diolo road feeding on the eland carcass, which guides estimate to have been killed early that morning. Four lionesses from Mmamosetlha pride were seen at Giraffe Pan. The considerable pride of 14 (commonly known as Mmadikolobe) was found at Water Cut lying down well-fed after feasting on a zebra. The mating pair was then seen at Kwena Lagoon for three consecutive days. 

There is a resident pack of 10 wild dogs that comprises four adults and six subadults. We often followed them hunting and witnessed them kill impalas and warthogs. 

One day, we saw a female leopard resting upon the tree along Maheke Road and on a leopardess sitting on the termite mound along Zebra Road. We tracked a leopardess with her two cubs along James Road, finding them with an impala carcass. They remained there for two days, as did the Spotted hyenas and Black-backed jackals who hung out on the periphery waiting for leftovers. 

One Spotted hyena was seen patrolling at Muddy Waters, but we heard them almost every night from camp. We saw lots of springhares and Lesser bushbabies during the night game drives with the spotlight. There have been great sightings of Small spotted genets hunting long James Road, and we also had the fantastic opportunity to watch the Black-backed jackals with their litter of four six-month-old puppies on the road connecting Zebra Pan and Grass Pan.

(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, December 2021

Cheetah Lagoon Camp

The area was exquisite this month. After lashings of rain, the vegetation was so green that we could almost taste the fresh smell of Northern Botswana’s beautiful flowers, such as the large Devil thorn, purple Common Barleria, and Wandering jew (Commelina benghalensis).  

Many of the natural waterholes were filled and refreshed from the rain. Driving in the afternoon, we could often hear the pleasing sounds of different frog species, such as the reed frogs and the bubbling kassina. Many leopard tortoises were seen during all game drives as they nibbled on plentiful fresh grass. However, we experienced low elephant numbers in the area. When good rains fill the natural water holes, they tend to linger in the Mopane woodlands.

During nature walks, we had time to appreciate the smaller summer creatures. Scarlet in colour, the velvet mites often emerged following afternoon showers, tok tokkies tapped the ground to attract their mates and baboon spiders sat upon their burrows, a simple hole covered with the newly-spun web. Harvester termites busily made hay with the sun shining and tucked grass into their hollows. Some of these termites were eaten by birds. We’ve noticed they are a favourite snack for Lilac-breasted rollers. It was amazing how we could approach animals on foot, such as zebras and wildebeest. Under correct conditions, we could often safely get as close as 40 meters before animals recognised our presence. The walking range was wonderfully productive and presented the opportunity to share our tracking techniques. Lagoon Camp guests saw the fresh paw prints of black-backed jackals, spotted hyenas, impalas, zebras, and many bird species. Did you know the hornbill hops about for insects leaving a banana-shaped imprint?

The resident coalition of two cheetah brothers was found on the road joining Cutline Road and Alison road, with full bellies. We tracked them again the following day and found them along Maheke Road on the hunt. After spending a morning with them, we left them sleeping.

There have been great sightings of different lion prides in the Lagoon area. We tracked the pride of 13 for about an hour and found them at Muddy Waters feeding on a wildebeest carcass. The Northern Pride (three males and one lioness) was seen at Second Lagoon heading north. Two lionesses with their six cubs were found several times around Grass Pan area, as they were lots of prey species around, such as impalas and zebra.

Guides followed the tracks of the resident pack of 12 wild dogs through the month, noting how they often disappeared into thick bushes. The pack was trying to avoid contact with the lions, which have called every night. One day, we found them crossing the runway and had a fantastic time viewing them in the open.

We also had an incredible sighting of an African rock python close to the airstrip. James located the giant snake as he saw something shining in the summer sun. We followed it as it was crawling slowly toward the runway. Spotted bush snakes were also seen. One even feeding on a house gecko!

A leopardess was seen at Firewood Pan on the hunt, and we followed her several unsuccessful hunting attempts, leaving her when she settled into a Sausage tree. Fresh male leopard tracks led from Second Lagoon north toward Kwena Lagoon, and we followed them until francolin alarm calls sounded. We found him on an impala carcass.

There have been frequent sightings of the rare roan and sable antelope. Many antelopes were accompanied by their young ones this month: impalas, tsessebe, waterbuck and reedbuck all gave birth.

Birdlife was impressive. Plenty of aquatic bird sightings included African fish eagles, wattled cranes, reed cormorants and heron species such as the Goliath, Purple, Grey and Black-crowned night herons. The resident scops and African barred owlets were often located hiding on the trees around the central area, waiting for the sun to set so that they could feed. One evening, a few Peters’s epauletted fruit bats perched low enough for us to observe easily. It was great to see the source of the standard evening call that rings through camp.

Night skies were stunning for stargazing because most of the Southern Hemisphere’s prominent constellations were visible. The brightest star in the entire sky, Sirius from the Canis Major constellation, was seen clearly. The Orion constellation, known as the hunter, also shone brightly on cloudless nights, together with Taurus.

(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!)

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Lagoon Camp, August 2021

Why do wild dogs time their denning to sync with the end of the impala rut or breeding season? Some researchers think that at this time of the year, there are plenty of stressed-out rams in poor condition that make easy prey targets. At least, the sightings coming in from the Kwando Private Reserve certainly reinforce this hypothesis.

“A very successful morning!” KB reported. “We managed to follow wild dogs on the hunt closely and caught them dropping an impala”.

After a few days of confrontation and uneasy interactions with other animals, we kept a close eye on this pack. We observed them digging around in some different abandoned holes, trying to find a suitable and stress-free new den. Wild dogs make use of old aardvark burrows and line the cavity with grass and leaves to make it more homely. Six adults were then seen soon afterwards moving five of the pups – sad news because we believed the dogs had lost two pups! 

With a new wild dog den active, our guests loved seeing the pups playing around while the adults went out to hunt. One day, waiting to watch their cute antics paid off. The adult dogs returned with full bellies after a successful kill to regurgitate and feed the young. “A smile came back on our faces”, KB said, “because when the parents came back, all seven puppies came out of the new den!”. Guides had found two pups on their own at the old den and believed that the mother would come to get them, so it seems this happened. Trackers then followed the adults back to their kill, where they were seen feeding on an impala.  

We were able to visit these frolicking pups and their new den several times. On another occasion, a commotion broke out in the bushes. Three spotted hyenas had found the wild dogs as they attempted to hunt, thwarting any chance of dinner for the den that day.

One morning, trackers followed fresh lion tracks, and they led to some carcasses caused by the wild dogs. “It was very interesting to watch”, KB reported. “We saw 14 lions scrambling over very few leftovers”.

This considerable pride was seen frequently through August. They preferred to lie in the shade of Kalahari Apple Leaf trees and were skilled at finding food because they were often noted with full bellies.

Guests were thrilled to see the pride taking down a buffalo, and succeeding that, two of the lions and five cubs were seen feeding on a zebra. Another morning, the pride was located on Cheetah Valley Road, resting once again with well-stocked stomachs. When we returned in the afternoon, they set off to hunt as dusk darkened the day. We followed the group through the evening, but they had no luck in landing prey. Perhaps that’s why they sometimes resorted to wild dog scraps!

A leopard was seen with her cub resting up in a tree. The leopard mother often moved off to hunt, leaving her young behind stashed safely in the foliage. Later that evening, she was located again near Firewood Pan and came very close in her chase of an impala. One day, two additional leopards were seen fighting for territory in an impressive display, but they disappeared into the thickets before resolving the issue.

The general game was great. We recorded substantial numbers of eland, with some herds numbering over a hundred, and they were very relaxed, affording fantastic views for our guests. One day we tracked two adult cheetahs resting on a termite mound. When they moved off to hunt, the cats followed once such sizeable herd of eland, but they were not successful in killing any. Both the handsome Roan and statuesque Sable antelope were sighted too.

Unusually, we saw several typically nocturnal species during the day. Cooler weather conditions often yield this type of behaviour. African civet, African wild cat and porcupine were all seen before the sun set. The porcupine lingered for ages and drank fitfully from the waterhole. We were also very pleased to catch sight of a caracal this month! 

Lagoon

Lagoon Camp, June-July 2021

We are so pleased to share that a pack of African wild dogs successfully denned with a busy litter of 9 puppies! Kwando Safaris guides have been following the action closely.

Spencer reports that there are actually two dens. “Just 60 metres apart! The main den, where the Alpha female is often visible at the entrance is more active than the Beta female as she spends a lot of time indoors due to being dominated. She also tends to be fed less. At some point, she decided to join the hunt in the afternoon because she wasn’t being fed by the pack. They successfully killed a male kudu some 150 meters west of the den and stashed the kill in thick vegetation, devoured the meal over several days with the vultures hanging close by. The White-backed vultures constitute the largest percentage of the vulture species seen, but Hooded vultures help to give away carcasses and kills. The Lappet-faced vultures and the White-headed on rare occasions also grace our sightings”.

Meanwhile, the resident lion pride at Lagoon (the Holy pride) has been located several times this winter. The Holy pride has 10 cubs grown up to about almost a year. Then there are also two lionesses with seven more cubs of about two months old. They have been moving a lot to keep the little ones safe and the lionesses have been hunting during the day, mostly along the shores in Muddy Waters. There has been plenty of plains game. We saw lots of Red lechwes as our seasonal flood plains had been rejuvenated with the floodwaters, as well as waterbuck and reedbucks. The other pride (Mmamosetha pride) had been very active in and around the camp periphery almost every day with yet another coalition of three males occupying the territory north and west of Lagoon camp providing great sightings along with their pals, the hyena.

Hyena have been spotted on many occasions, either at the remains of the kills (zebra, in particular, the guides have noted) or on patrol. Spencer says, “We counted about 12 (if not more) having responded to one lion kill, but they were unsuccessful at intimidating the pride. The Mmamosetha pride has about six sub-adult males, which is why they so successfully defend their kills”.

In contrast, the cheetahs are reportedly feeding at midday. We have had good sightings of the three young cheetahs, aged 18 months (two males and their sister) hunting. On all occasions, they successfully killed an impala. They have slowly been moving north and are now close to camp (or literally in camp sometimes!)

Speaking of camp. There has also been a gorgeous leopardess with a cub of about six months visiting the area. One exciting evening, she made a kill just 200 meters from the camp and they dined on the steenbok for days, regularly moving to and from the lagoon to drink.

Lagoon Camp, October 2020

TMillerCat6Lagoon

Lagoon camp was closed to guests during October, but we still saw very good general game in the area, including zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu, giraffe and sable antelope.

Big herds of elephants congregated at the river channels and lagoons as the dry season progressed.  One day a huge herd started to cross and then they went into a complete panic. They then gathered in really tight with their trunks sticking out, and we realised that they were all rallying around a TINY elephant calf. Watching the herd work together to help him was fascinating. Then around sunset a young mother and her calf came to graze in front of the swimming pool. It was so cute to watch the little one trying to figure out how to use his trunk.

Big herds of buffalo also crossed the lagoon right in front of camp, and hippos tried to escape the heat in the shrinking pools.

A pride of three lionesses with nine cubs was seen. The cubs were of different ages ranging from three weeks to two months. We were able to see them suckling their young and one day the three male lions came to join them. Two lionesses were seen near Zebra Pan feeding on a giraffe.

A solitary spotted hyena was seen mobile at zebra pan and a leopard was seen on the way back from the airstrip a couple of times.

A porcupine tried to come into the office one evening and the following night a honey badger came to visit. We also saw a civet.

Our little resident African Scops Owl still lives in camp and was seen near to Room 2.

(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 Camp, August – September 2020

SKramer.Cat6cub_snarling_crop

Three lions from the North were calling whole night by the river front by the lodge. One day whilst we were transferring guests by vehicle to Lebala camp we saw a female lion and followed her. She led us to a den where there was another lioness and four cubs aged 3 to 4 weeks old. This maternity ward turned out to be for the Rra Lebant pride. The following day we saw two male lions and a different female by the river bank opposite room 1 and they were feeding on two hippos. Lion tracks were seen passing very close to the staff village and one night two males roared in camp all night long. Four hungry lionesses with ten cubs of different ages were seen for three consecutive days.

Every now and again we saw leopard tracks in camp and once we heard the impala uttering alarm calls and then heard a leopard call in that general direction. We suspected that it was the resident male leopard nicknamed Rodgers.

The wild dogs relocated from the first den that we found them at and still had four puppies remaining.

On cool winter mornings hippo could be seen grazing out of the water and crocodiles were also taking the opportunity to warm up in the early morning sun. As the weather got hotter during September, super-herds of elephants and buffalo came out of the woodlands each day to quench their thirst at the river. It was amazing seeing the elephants crossing the lagoon in front of the main area, drinking and bathing as they went. Hippos could be seen in dominance displays by opening their mouths in a wide yawn to reveal their tusks. In some cases, a physical battle ensued.

There was very good general game around camp including zebra, impala, sable antelope, tsessebe, wildebeest, warthog, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck and red lechwe. Troops of baboons were foraging on the river banks, often mixing with the herds of impala.

A rock monitor lizard made himself a temporary home under the deck at back of house and was seen feeding on a waterbuck carcass that died of natural causes. Two porcupines and a honey badger were foraging around the main area at night. One night there were three honey badgers and they managed a breaking and entering operation into the main kitchen. Luckily there was not too much destruction and they just knocked over the dustbins.

A lovely group of ten wattled crane were sighted on the banks of the river opposite camp. Ground hornbills were feeding at the airstrip. Other species identified included, fish eagles, tawny eagles, little egrets, African jacanas, goliath herons, starlings, green pigeons, saddle-billed storks, Meyer’s parrots, hadeda ibis and bee-eaters. Several birds such as grey-backed camaropteras, fork-tailed drongos, red-billed hornbills and arrow-marked babblers were seen aggressively mobbing a slender mongoose. Different species of vultures were observed scavenging on 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!)

Lagoon, March – July 2020

TMillerCat6Lagoon

As the dry season got under way elephants moved out of the thick woodlands inland and were drawn towards the river system. They came to browse in camp quite often, including breeding herds with small calves.

Lions also came to visit, one day moving through the staff village. A male and female lion were located feeding on a hippo on the route to Lebala camp. The guides suspected that the lioness had cubs nearby. A different lioness with her two sub-adult cubs were observed hunting warthogs, but unfortunately for them they didn’t make a kill.

A beautiful female leopard created the perfect photo opportunity as she draped herself across a branch. As this was during Botwana’s lockdown we felt sad that we were only able to share this magnificent sighting via social media and not with real guests, but it was a moment that lifted the spirits of the camp team as they pretended to be on safari again.

On one occasion, the resident pack of five wild dogs came to check out the camp workshop. In July we were lucky enough to come across them denning near to camp and six puppies emerged into view. Sadly, a week or two later the tracks indicated that the den had been raided by spotted hyenas and two of the puppies were missing.

Herds of sable antelope and roan antelopes could be seen near to Muddy Waters. Impala, waterbuck and kudu grazed on the banks opposite camp. Once our first post-lockdown guests arrived, we were able to venture further and found big herds of buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and eland.

Crocodiles could be seen sunning themselves on the bank opposite camp and the hippos continued to congregate in the river that flows past the rooms. A 1 metre python was resting near the welcome spot.

A goliath heron could often be seen on the lagoon in front of camp. White-fronted and little bee-eaters were both resident. Other species making themselves at home included robin-chats, swamp boubous, starlings and green pigeons. Further from camp, we found wattled cranes and ground hornbills – both species are endangered so it is great to see them thriving in the Kwando Reserve.

(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, Jan 2020

WRiley.Cat2dogsbuffalo

Regular readers of our sightings reports may recall that the resident pack of five wild dogs denned at the beginning of December. Although the female gave birth to a single pup, it appears that it did not survive because by January the pack were nomadic once again. This outcome was disappointing, but not a great surprise because it would be rare for a puppy born so out of season to thrive. We were able to follow them as they hunted for impala and zebra.

The Northern pride of lions were hunting successfully; their target prey included wildebeest, zebra and warthog. One time we saw them feeding and, unusually, the two males let the lioness finish off a zebra foal, even though they looked hungry themselves. A lioness with three sub-adult cubs was seen frequently, including on a fresh elephant calf kill. One time we saw a lioness moving her three new born cubs to a new den, carrying them in her mouth. We were watching a lion pride and noticed a sub-adult male looking pointedly in a certain direction. The lion was moving its tail side to side and he started growling before racing into a charge. We followed him and noticed two figures disappearing off into the distance as two cheetahs ran for their lives. We tracked the cheetahs and eventually they relaxed and went back to marking their posts.

These two cheetahs were the resident coalition of two brothers who. During the month we found them ambushing zebra to target their foals, retreating to rest under the Kalahari apple-leaf trees as the day warmed up. Another time we saw them marking their territory and chasing around some giraffes. They were also seen hunting eland calves. After the clash with the lion they moved deeper south towards Lebala camp.

A female brown hyena was seen at the entrance of the den site on the Munhumutapa Islands. We also saw her running close to the river.

Very good general game in the area included big herds of eland, zebra, wildebeest, sable, kudu, red lechwe, buffalo and giraffe. There was a lovely herd of seventeen roan antelope including three calves. Elephants were seen in big numbers. One time we were lucky enough to come across a wildebeest giving birth.

A spotted hyena was seen running away with the carcass of a young zebra. We also saw another hyena feeding on the skin of an old giraffe carcass. The skin had been soaked by rain, making it easier to eat and digest.

We came across aardwolves foraging for termites during night drive. Bat-eared foxes were also in feasting on the termite alates that emerged after the rains; we saw three different families of foxes near to their den sites. Both black-backed and side-striped jackals were denning and we were abel to enjoy sightings of the pups. During night drive, we came across a family of genets with three small cubs. We were able to watch an African wild cat hunting for rodents and birds. Other smaller mammals located included dwarf mongoose, slender mongoose and bush babies.

A resident female leopard showed good signs of being pregnant. We saw her a couple of times as she was marking her territory, climbing trees and visiting waterholes. A rather skittish tom was also located.

We saw a fantastic feeding frenzy of many birds hawking for flying termites; species included tawny eagles, bateleurs, lesser-spotted eagles, Wahlberg’s eagles, swallows and bee-eaters. A pride of 24 ostrich were located as they grazed. Other notable bird sightings included wattled cranes, secretary birds, slaty egrets, Verreaux’s eagle owls, martial eagles, ground hornbills and European rollers.

(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!)