Lagoon, April 2018

LAGOON - davidlloyd-cat7-hyena

A pack of six wild dogs were seen in the area and the guides were excited to note that two of the females were pregnant. This is heard of from time to time, but quite unusual as generally it is just the alpha female who gives birth to pups. We tracked the pack until we discovered them them feeding on a young kudu by the airstrip at the middle of the month and they were seen very regularly thereafter. We saw them hunting impala, warthogs and kudu and witnessed them making kills more than once.

We found a highly active spotted hyena den towards the end of the month. During April we saw six adults and two cubs, but from the tracks we suspected that there were more who were still in the den. We had a lovely sighting of a cub being suckled by its mother before the two started playing a great came of chase around the den site. Eventually the female lifted the pup in her powerful jaws and took it back down inside the burrow.

The resident female leopard and her two sub-adult cubs were seen often, sometimes just 100 metres from camp. The cubs were getting more independent and we encountered them singly as well as with their mother. We enjoyed some fun sightings of them playing together on their own. One time the young female made a brave, or perhaps silly, chase of a hippo that she saw outside the water. Luckily for her the hippo ran into the waterhole rather than attack her. A different female leopard with cubs of 3-4 months old was seen in the Cheetah Valley where she had made a kill.

We were pleased to see the coalition of cheetah brothers in the area and saw them every day in the middle of the month. At one stage we tracked them to discover that they were feeding on a female ostrich, a dangerous and difficult prey for a cheetah as ostriches kick forward viciously to defend themselves and their long claws can do a great deal of damage. When we observed them the following day we noticed that one of them had a fresh scar under his belly, possibly from the ostrich encounter, but it didn’t seem to deter them as a few days later we found them feeding on yet another female ostrich.

Four male lions who recently moved into the area were seen at the start of the month, though their movement was not predictable as they were covering large distances marking their territory.  At one point two of them feasted on a buffalo kill for a couple of days. A different pair of male lions was also seen near to the airstrip. One of the two had fresh scars and the guides wondered if they had come into contact with the larger coalition. This pair linked up with two lionesses, one of whom appeared to be pregnant. These lionesses were seen stalking and hunting zebra without success but they did manage to bring down a warthog whilst we were watching. Unfortunately for them, the clan of hyenas heard the commotion of the warthog squealing and came to steal it from the lionesses. After staying towards Lebala for several months now, the Bonga Pride were occasionally seen at Halfway Pan, getting closer towards their old territory again.

There were plenty of elephants in the area; one day we heard a loud commotion and were lucky enough to see two of them mating. There are some lovely relaxed herds of sable and roan antelope in the area, including calves. Other general game sightings included hippo, giraffe, eland, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, impala, warthog, ostrich and giraffe. We had wonderful sightings of the smaller carnivores including African wildcat, bat-eared foxes, small spotted genets, large spotted genet and jackals.

An African harrier-hawk was observed feeding on the chicks of a Burchell’s startling, having discovered its nest in the hole of a tree. A family of four ground hornbills was seen hunting for frogs at the pans. Raptors seen during the month included martial eagle, tawny eagle, brown snake eagle, African hawk-eagles, secretary birds and bateleur eagles. In an unusual sighting more than ten black herons were seen at one waterhole. We also located a pair of Verreaux’s (giant) eagle owls regularly. Large numbers of vultures were seen on a carcass of a young wildebeest.

 

(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, Mar 2018

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The four new male lions in the concession seemed to be doing well as they were located in different areas patrolling or hunting. This pride appeared to be specializing in stalking eland and were found feeding on different eland carcasses during the month. The four males were very actively patrolling the area to mark their presence and secure their new territory, often splitting up so that they could cover more ground. There were two lionesses in the area who appeared to be very good hunters, seen feeding on wildebeest close to Lagoon camp on a wildebeest and another time on a warthog. The two lionesses were also seen stalking different antelope species late in the afternoons as temperatures cooled down.

During the month of March three different female leopards and two cubs were spotted around Lagoon camp in different locations, the sub adult leopard was located hunting birds west of the airstrip. The mother of the sub adult leopard was also seen east of the airstrip heading west where the sub adult was located. An old female leopard with her two months old cubs was also located east of Lagoon camp feeding on a reedbuck; she was wise enough to take her kill up on a mangosteen tree to ensure that she didn’t lose her kill, or indeed her precious cubs, to hyenas or lions.

Hyenas were very active around Lagoon camp moving from one carcass to another. One brave hyena was spotted running away with a bone from an eland that was killed by the four male lions. It was very risky for a lone hyena to steal a meal from under the noses of the four-male lions, but the hyena seized its opportunity and bolted with its prize. Guests who were on that activity managed to take great pictures of the hyena running with a bone in its mouth.

An aardwolf was located at mid-day walking on the road; although it ended up going into a burrow guests were able to get some good shots before it disappeared. An African wild cat was seen walking through tall grass. Bat eared foxes were seen feeding, and jackals were found scavenging on different carcasses

The two resident male cheetahs were located on a hunting mission, after tracking them for two hours. The coalition managed to kill a piglet and after feeding they spent the rest of the day in the shade. The following day they started moving to start patrolling their territory area. These two brothers cheetahs cover a huge area.

A pack of six wild dogs were in the Lagoon area and seen either hunting or resting during the day. One morning the six wild dogs tried their luck with a pair of zebra but instead the two zebras chased them. The six wild dogs gave up and moved on into the bushes, but their bad luck continued as they then came face to face with a lioness so decided to run away from the area altogether.

General game was great during March. There were large breeding herd of elephants, a good number of zebras, eland, giraffes, impalas, wildebeest and roan antelopes. Hippos were also located outside water during the day.

Birds sightings were good and highlights included lesser jacana, hooded vulture, pygmy goose, white baked vulture, Verreaux eagle owl, scoops owl and pearl spotted owl.

A python was also located on several occasions.

(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, Feb 2018

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A new pride of four male lions have continued to do well in the area and were located in different parts of the concession as they explored their new territory. Sometimes they were seen patrolling alone, each taking a different route to cover the maximum ground, before meeting again. Some of the guests were very lucky to see them roaring, which is also part of marking their presence in the area to other lions. A female was also located with one of the male lions the guides suspected that they might be mating. The male lions were also seen stalking zebras but unfortunately not being successful. The Bonga pride were located resting on a termite mound.

The resident female leopard appeared to be doing well raising her two cubs, it takes a very experienced leopard to raise two cubs in an area where there are so many hyenas and lions. She was seen hunting and her biggest target seemed to be baboons; she was spending most of her time around the area where the baboons spend their night. The two cubs were seen playing around chasing each other around the trees. This female leopard was also seen stalking impalas but not being successful. She was also spotted resting on top of the sausage trees during the day, making for great photo opportunities.

A pack of six wild dogs were still in the area and seen often. One afternoon the guides followed them as they were hunting and guests were lucky enough to see them bring down and devour an impala. Another time the wild dogs were found feeding on a warthog carcass. The pack was also seen stalking impala on different occasions.

The two male cheetahs were located in the area during the month of February, the two male cheetahs spend most of their time in the area between our two camps Lebala and Lagoon. The male two brothers were seen patrolling their area to make sure there were no intruders. A serval cat was located one of the afternoons and the lucky guests managed to take good daytime pictures of this species who is more usually seen at dawn or dusk. Six bat eared foxes were seen busy hunting feeding on insects and going into the holes looking for beetles and other insects.

Spotted hyenas were seen in different location feeding on the left-overs from other predators; hyenas could not keep up with the wild dogs to try steal their carcass.

General game was great and we saw good number of zebras, wildebeest, impalas and breeding elephants. A massive herd of over 150 eland were seen often and made an impressive sight; this is the largest of the antelope species and to see them in such numbers is a wonderful sighting. A herd of roan antelope were also located more than once.

There were some good rains end of February and the vegetation was nice and green. The river channel in front of the lodge filled nicely and grunting hippos were always wallowing in front of the rooms.

Bird life was also good as we still have birds coming for breeding including carmine bee-eaters and African skimmers. The African fish eagle was always regularly seen, and a real favourite with guests.

(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 2018

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At the start of the month the guides were thrilled to find an aardwolf den with three cubs in residence. This very rare sighting was a delight for our guests. Bat-eared foxes also had den sites in the area and were seen on almost every drive as well as both black-backed and side-striped jackals.

Four male lions who were new to the area were initially a bit shy towards our game viewers, but the guides’ patience was rewarded and the lions seemed to get more relaxed as the month progressed. Their presence seems to be influencing the Bonga Pride of 10 who are spending more time in the south of the area whilst the intruders occupy their usual territory. The Bonga pride were seen feeding on a baby giraffe; as they later walking up to the watering hole for a drink some spotted hyenas lying in wait, but keeping their distance at the lion’s kill. The Bonga pride were also seen hunting zebras and a male warthog, but without success. A young male lion who was pushed out of the pride was sometimes seen with his sister and together they managed to catch a warthog piglet. Another time the make was located feeding on old wildebeest carcass

The resident coalition of two cheetah brothers were in the concession and found feeding on an impala

A female leopard with two cubs had been missing from the area for a while, so our guides were pleased to find her back in the concession and feeding well on two kills at the same time – a zebra foal and warthog piglet. A male leopard was located a couple of times as he patrolled his territory, though he was still quite shy.

Hyena sightings were more common than usual during January and were often seen morning and afternoon as they frequented carcasses along the woodlands and floodplains. A hippo carcass in the marshes at Watercut attracted scavengers including hyenas and many vultures. Another single hyena was seen feeding on an old elephant carcass that was been soaked by the previous day’s rain.

The general game was excellent with a phenomenal influx of zebra and giraffe throughout the area. Large herds of eland moved in from the north west of the concession, grazing in a mixed herd with the zebra. Wildebeest were also spotted in large numbers and we also had wonderful sightings of shy roan and sable antelope herds. All of the plains game including impala, tsessebe and warthogs have babies, making for delightful photographs. As the unusually dry weather continued during January, elephants started to return back towards the river area from the mopane woodlands where they would usually be found at this time of year.

The resident pack of wild dogs has reduced in number over time from 12 individuals to just 6 at the moment, although the remaining dogs were looking well-fed and healthy. They were often hunting at the airstrip area, one time flushing out a group of three leopards, a mother with her one-year-old cubs. We saw them making other kills including an impala and warthog piglet.

In terms of smaller mammals, we saw included slender, yellow and dwarf mongoose. Wild cats were seen from time to time.

There were plentiful ostrich and many had chicks following them as they grazed – up to 12 at a time trotting along behind their parents. One time, hundreds of vultures were seen by the river having a bath. Four species of vulture were still being seen in the area; white-backed, hooded, lappet-faced and white-headed, some of them had nest sites. Secretary birds and ground hornbills were also breeding in the area and wattled cranes were seen with nestlings were found at the inland waterholes. Following the first heavy rains insectivores such as bee-eaters were attracted to the alates, sometimes known as flying ants, that took to the wing in huge numbers. Raptors identified included tawny eagles, bataleurs, wahlberg’s eagles and lesser-spotted eagles.

(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, Dec 2017

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The Bonga pride of lions were seen in the Halfway Pan for the first few weeks of December, but decided to move closer to Lagoon camp in time for the Christmas festivities, attracted by the huge mixed herds of eland and zebra which moved into the area. They had a kill of a sub-adult giraffe 4 kilometres from camp and were also seen feeding on wildebeest. A young male lion evicted from the pride has now been joined by his sister.  A different lioness with three cubs was seen regularly near to John’s Pan, they all looked in great condition and one time were seen killing a pair of warthog piglets. The two dominant male lions were sometimes seen with the pride, however they spent much of their time patrolling and marking their territory as three new males have moved into the area and were seen mating with a lioness towards the end of the month near to Kwena Lagoon.

The resident female leopard with two cubs was seen a few times near to the airstrip where she was preying on baboons. She was frequently moving her offspring from one spot to another to try and ensure that they did not become a targeted by another predator. One time, guests had a lovely view of the mother taking her cubs to a kill which she had dragged up a nearby tree. The male cub decided that he preferred his dinner served at ground level and brought his portion down to enjoy underneath the tree. This little chap seems to be quite independent for his age and was seen another time on the move without his mother and sister, but appeared to be in good condition.

A pack of six wild dogs was seen hunting more than once. Although they failed to make a kill when we were watching them, they were in good condition.

The resident two cheetah brothers were seen chasing wildebeest on more than one occasion. They were targeting the calves, but did not manage to succeed in bringing down their prey. A new male cheetah to the area was found lying next to the road, but he was very skittish.

In addition to the large herds of zebra and eland, we also had great sightings of sable and roan antelope. There are good numbers of giraffe, wildebeest, kudu and tsessebe,  but fewer elephants and buffalos as they started to move deeper into the Mopane woodlands. During night drives we saw servals, genets, springhares and honey badgers as well as a great sighting of an African wild cat hunting. The elusive aardwolf was seen more than once.

Endangered birds continue to thrive in the Kwando concession including a new family of ground hornbills, wattled cranes and black egrets. The blue-cheeked bee eaters have arrived back in the area and were seen feeding. An African scops owl is living in camp and often seen near to the main area.

The start of the rainy season brought some spectacular late afternoon lightning storms providing an authentic African light show to awe our guests. These welcome short but sharp storms freshened up the air and produced the most amazing scents.

(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, Nov 2017

ARoos.Action.Jacob.Canon500D lagoon

The first of the summer storms came to the Kwando region in November quickly turning the vegetation verdant green. Breeding season was in full swing during November and all of the antelope species started to give birth to their young. In turn, this created a bonanza for the predators who were quick to make the most of the easy food source.

The two resident brother cheetahs were seen regularly, and were successful with their hunting. We saw them on red lechwe, impala and young tsessbe carcasses. One day we had found them resting in the morning, so went back in the afternoon to see what they were up to. They were up and alert, in full hunting mode. We followed them as they looked for prey, stopping regularly on their favourite look out points to scan the surrounding area. They had just climbed such a tree when the guide suddenly spotted a leopard nearby. In a very unusual encounter, the cheetahs bravely chased the bigger predator away. As if this wasn’t enough drama for the afternoon, the cheetah then promptly went behind a bush and killed an impala. What a thrilling afternoon for our guests!

The big Bonga pride of 7 adults and 10 sub-adults were seen regularly and in good health. The lions all fed together for three days on the kill of a fully-grown giraffe. Another time the pride was found looking extremely satisfied next to no less than three buffalo carcasses right next to each other. By the following day they were still only halfway through the second carcass and the two males were moving off, having had their fill. They were also seen feeding on zebra. A group of four hyena were seen moving around the lions, but lacking strength in numbers they were not brave enough to challenge for the kill.

The resident pack of nine wild dogs looking were seen looking very hungry at the beginning of the month. One week we watched them fail more than once on impalas and greater kudus however eventually they were seen feeding on an impala near the airstrip, and will be able to feed more easily now that lambing season has started. The larger pack of 25 wild dogs, usually found to the south of the concession, were also seen towards Lagoon. The adults were looking full and were regurgitating food for their puppies after a successful morning’s hunting.

The resident female leopard with two cubs was tracked several times. There was an anxious morning where only one cub was with her and we worried as she called and called for her other baby. Both guests and guides were hugely relieved to find her later the same day accompanied by both youngsters. She has been hunting successfully to feed her fast-growing family and was seen feeding on a wildebeest calf as well as impala.

Birding was great during November. Summer visitors such as the broad-billed roller and woodland kingfisher arrived back to the area. The chicks hatched at the carmine bee-eater colony near John’s Pan, so we were able to see the adults feeding them. A black heron was frequently sighted near Watercut, an unusual and beautiful sighting for the area. A giant kingfisher was located more than once during the boat cruise, in addition to the more common pied and malachite kingfishers.

Within camp itself an African Barred Owl and a Scops Owl both chose to roost in the trees surrounding the main area. Sometimes the birds swoop into the main area during the evening, one time an owl perching comically on a bottle of wine. Sadly no one had their camera with them at the time to capture this unique sighting. A good reminder that you should have your photography equipment nearby at all times whilst on safari!
Elephants browsed within the camp surrounds after dark; the mesh windows of the rooms allowing guests to hear their contented munching and grunts of hippos throughout the night. An unusually relaxed wild cat was often seen just five minutes 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!)

Lagoon, October Sightings 2017

ThomasRetterath.cat7foxes Lagoon

As temperatures soared during October, elephants in their hundreds started to congregate in the riverine area creating a magnificent spectacle for guests who were able to observe the herds throughout the day from the main area and their rooms.  A very relaxed herd of sable antelope were also seen regularly in the afternoons as they ventured out of the woodlands down to the river to drink.

The coalition of two male cheetah brothers were seen very regularly, killing successfully every two days on species including impala and warthog. A mother cheetah and two cubs who were new to area were seen with the two cheetah brothers, although the mother and cubs were nervous of our vehicles.

One evening a guide came across an African Civet. As the guide was positioning the vehicle they startled two leopard cubs who had been hiding in the grass stalking the civet.  Leopards were seen frequently, including three separate sightings in a single day. There was a female leopard seen near camp, although she was fairly shy, and a young male in the same area who was seen marking his territory. A different female leopard who had two cubs was seen feeding on a freshly killed roan antelope; one cub kept trying to sneak up on the carcass but time and again was rebuffed harshly by its mother. Yet another female leopard who was beautifully relaxed was seen on an impala kill.

Our guides were delighted to track down the resident pack of wild dogs, busy feasting on a waterbuck kill. They had been away from the area for a while. Later in the month we saw them again hunting, although not successful on that occasion.

October was a really successful month for sightings of the smaller predators. We saw two honey badgers interacting with black-backed jackal; in the end the honey badgers disappeared into a hole. Bat- eared foxes were seen very regularly; our guides have found five different dens in the area so the animals were located on most drives. One productive night drive produced two separate sightings of African Wild Cat, both cats were beautifully relaxed.

The Bonga pride were still split up into different groups, the largest comprising ten individuals. They killed an eland bull which kept them busy for two whole days before they eventually left the carcass for a clan of four hyenas to finish off.  Two male lions were seen feeding on a buffalo calf. A young male lion and his sister were also in the spot, but they were chased away by the dominant males. A lioness with three cubs was seen with the two fathers. The pride were also seen on a wildebeest kill. Four new male lions were located north of the camp, two with manes and two without manes but the same size. They were extremely skittish and ran towards the Namibian border.

A family of four Verreaux’s Eagle Owls were found perched in a tree. Crowned Hornbills were also seen looking for food along the river, this is one of the less common hornbill species resident in the area. The Carmine Bee-eater breeding colony just north of the camp made an amazing spectacle as the brightly coloured birds set about making their nests in the river bank. The colony was very active first thing in the morning and late afternoon.

(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, September 2017 Sightings

Your Operator = Adventure Discoveries Lebala Camp - Guide=Babo

Lions were sighted very frequently because for much of the month the Bonga Pride of 21 lions split up into four smaller groups. The largest of these groups comprised the two dominant males, three females and five sub-adults. Of these youngsters, there was one male who was older than the others and he started to pick fights with the dominant pride males. We were able to observe how the young upstart was quickly put in his place, even sustaining injuries. The two male lions were trying to actively evict him from the pride, but he had a habit of sneaking back to find his family when the lionesses were on their own. It will be a vulnerable time for the young lion unless he manages to band together in a coalition and it seemed that he still has a lot to learn. In one dangerous manoeuvre he was seen trying to single-handedly tackle a huge herd of buffalo; not a wise move for a newly independent young lion.

The Bonga Pride males are also facing competition from outside. We were following a new lion to the area who was sniffing the ground and grimacing in a ‘flehmen’ response as though he had picked up then scent of a female. All of a sudden, another big male came rushing out of the bushes grunting, accompanied by a female. The males started to fight and the lioness ran away, eventually joined by the new male who seemed to have won the battle.

One day we saw the lionesses try for a warthog which they missed, but during their hunt they managed to leave behind a small cub aged 3-4 months who was sleeping by a termite mound, later that day he was still not reunited with the pride.

Leopard were seen more often in the area than in previous months, mostly mobile or on the hunt. There was a female leopard with two cubs, each 6-7 months old. They were mainly seen feeding on impala. A male leopard apparently managed to kill a female kudu, though its meal was appropriated by a hyena. Leopard were also seen hunting and eating steenbok.

We managed to locate cheetah a few times during September, usually the resident brother coalition who are well known in the area. We saw them hunting, and on a different occasion feeding on a red lechwe. After they had finished the vultures came and finished up all the remains.

Wild dogs were located just twice during September, once resting and one on the move. When we  saw them they were looking full-bellied and in good condition, although there were only 9 dogs compared to the usual 12 which was a little worrying.

The ongoing dry weather means that massive herds of elephants were congregating along the river, often drinking and swimming right opposite camp. Other species herding towards the water included a large number of zebra, wildebeest and tsessebe. Sable and roan antelope were located in the woodlands.  One day we were watching the Bonga lions when two honey badgers came across the pride who attacked them. Living up to their fierce reputation the honey badgers managed to defend themselves against the 13 lions. At another time we saw a honey badger fighting back against a pack of wild dogs, growling at them.

Guests thoroughly enjoyed visiting the carmine bee-eater nesting colony, huge numbers of these richly coloured birds making a striking sight. We were able to see how they excavated their nesting holes in the soil, which give them protection from their many enemies including monitor lizards, raptors and the smaller cat species.

We watched a serval on the eastern side of the camp and he appeared to pounce on and catch a rodent. Wild cats were also seen on the hunting on more than one occasion during night drive.

(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, August 2017 Sightings

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August delivered spectacular lion sightings at Lagoon camp; the resident pride was keeping us busy and were seen on almost all game drives. Our guides noticed that the two lionesses mothering five cubs between them had a tendency to pull away from the rest of the pride as a way of trying to reduce competition for food. These two lionesses appeared to have a very successful kill ratio in their own right and we saw them feeding on a variety of prey including zebra, kudu and a wildebeest calf. All of their cubs seem to be in good health. The other part of the pride comprising three lionesses, 2 female sub-adults and 6 male sub-adults were seen together most of the time. This month we saw them on kills of hippo, giraffe, zebras and kudu. The two big male lions were sometimes with the pride, but very often seen on their own together, patrolling and scent marking their territory. We noticed that one of the sub-adult males had been ejected from the pride, but that didn’t stop him trying to sneak back into the family when the dominant males were not around. Once he tried to feed with the mothers and cubs, but was caught in the act and quickly dismissed by the adult males. On that occasion, the male lions sat back and let the mothers and cubs have the kill to themselves, since it was not enough to feed the whole pride.

As there had been an active wild dog den since July we had the chance of viewing the pack very regularly. We were extremely careful to minimise visits to the den itself to avoid disturbance to the alpha female and her puppies, but we also had great sightings of the adult dogs hunting and sometimes witnessed the kill itself. One day the pride of lions passed by the wild dog den and chased the pack away. From that time onwards, the dogs were very skittish, spending the whole day in the bush and only coming back to the den at night. On their third week, the puppies were allowed out of the den and introduced to the rest of the pack, but then this happy family tale took an unfortunate and dramatic turn. Seven lions came to the den one afternoon as the female was nursing the puppies with two other adult dogs in attendance. The lions surprised the mother and three of the nine pups were killed. All three adult dogs managed to run away and the remaining puppies dashed back to their den. That was the last we were to see of them. The following day the rest of the pack went hunting, but instead of coming to the den they stood about 30 metres away. The female was crying and she led the pack to the old den where they spent the whole day. We continued to check both dens in the hope of seeing the puppies, but three days later our worst fears were confirmed when we found leopard tracks and drag marks coming from the den where the puppies were last seen. After that the dogs left the area for a week and we feared for their safety, but towards the end of the month they reappeared and were found at their old den and on the hunt once more.

A mother leopard and her two cubs have developed a convenient habit of living near our airstrip, making for some special arrival and departure memories for guests. Most often the female was located on her own whilst hunting, leaving the cubs hidden. One time we witnessed her having to rebuke the cubs strongly when they tried to follow her. There was also another female leopard seen in the area.

The two resident cheetah brothers were observed just once during August, but it was towards the end of the month so we hope to have better luck with them in September. These two young males cover a very large territory.

As the climate started to warm and the inland waterholes dried up, elephants were seen in massive numbers as they congregated towards the riverine areas – some herds were in excess of 100 individuals. From the lodge main area and rooms our guests were able to enjoy spectacular views of elephants drinking in the channel that flows past Lagoon Camp. Huge herds of buffalo were encountered as well as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and kudu. A very relaxed herd of sable antelope were being seen approximately three times per week.

The African Scops Owl and African Barred Owlet which live around the tree in the main area were seen almost every 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!)

Lagoon, July 2017

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Lagoon had a great month for predator sightings, lions were seen every single day from the 9th onwards and towards the end of the month we were thrilled that the wild dogs chose a den site in the concession.

At the start of the month the dogs had not been seen for a couple of weeks, so we wondered if they had chosen to raise their pups elsewhere, but on the 17th they returned to their usual territory and upon arrival, the alpha female quickly started to clean out her den site. Before long, we were able to see the first appearance of 9 puppies and whilst we managed sightings carefully to avoid disturbing the young family, we were lucky enough to see them playing outside the den and also interacting with the rest of the pack before the adults set off for their hunts.

The Northern Pride of lions were seen located almost daily and we were pleased to see three new cubs with the pride for the first time. They have joined the two older cubs – now about 4 months old – so the pride now usually comprises a group of 4 lionesses and 5 young. From time to time the two impressive male lions join the rest of their family and their roaring often helps the guides to locate the group. Some lucky guests had the most incredible welcome to Lagoon Camp – as they were being driven from the airstrip on arrival they came across the whole pride of 11, followed them for a few minutes and were lucky enough to see them killing an impala. What a start to their safari!

We watched as two of the lionesses, together with the two older cubs, followed a medium sized herd of buffalo. Within the buffalo herd there was a calf with very fresh injuries and our guides suspected that it could be from the lions. As they were following, the lionesses saw some wildebeest and decided to try their luck with this less formidable prey, but missed on that occasion.

A very relaxed female leopard was in the area and was seen frequenting the area between the camp and the airstrip.  A different leopard with two cubs was seen hiding her cubs before she went off to hunt. We followed her hunting and the next day found the two shy cubs still hiding in the place where she had left them.

A single male cheetah who hadn’t been seen in the area for a while returned to the area. The coalition of two young males, our usual resident cheetahs, were seen busily scent-marking, perhaps aware of the new intruder. They are both looking well fed and in great condition.

The general game in the Lagoon area continued to be very good. Elephants were coming every afternoon to drink water in the channel west of the camp, and sometimes on the other side of the river, directly opposite the lodge. Big herds of buffalo, up to 200 strong could be located from half a kilometre away due to the clouds of dust that they raised. Other plentiful game included zebra, wildebeest, tsessebe, giraffe, impala and eland. We saw a very relaxed herd of 17 sable antelopes two to three times a week, as well as less frequent sightings of roan antelope.

On night drives, guides were successful in locating black-backed jackals, scrub hares and honey badgers. We had lovely sightings of an African civet drinking from one of the natural watering holes and a group of 7 bat-eared foxes feeding on insects. An African wild cat was encountered along the road during one afternoon drive.

The Lagoon area continues to be a safe refuge for the endangered white-backed and lappet faced vultures.  Other notable species recorded during the month included red crested korhaan, tawny eagle and bateleur. African barred owl and scops owl were both heard calling in the camp itself.

(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!)