Lebala, Nov 2019

DNibouar.Cat1five cubs.jpg

We saw the large Wapoka pride most days during the month; they were feeding on warthog, buffalo, zebra and other antelope species. At the start of the month we found them feasting on a hippo along the channel by the camp’s hide. The hippo appeared to have died from a fight with another hippo as it had some deep puncture wounds on its body. We enjoyed a lovely sighting of the pride walking through the camp, playing with their cubs until they went to rest in the marsh near the hide. We watched as the lions waited for wildebeest to come and drink from the channel, but they were unsuccessful. After a particularly hungry day they finally managed to catch a warthog and squabbled noisily over this meal which provided a meagre ration for the seventeen lions. A few days later they managed to kill a buffalo and then the same day a zebra, but still they continued to fight with each other for the food and pushed each other around even though by this stage they were looking very full. Sometimes the two males known as Sebastian and Old Gun joined the pride; we witnessed them driving off a young male who originally left the pride two years previously. Another intruder male came across the river from the Caprivi Strip and was busy making territorial calls and scent marking.

At Halfway Pan we located two lionesses and four cubs known as Mma D’s Pride. One time we were watching them rest when a sable antelope walked straight towards them. The lions stalked their prey and although their final chase was unsuccessful, it was a very exciting encounter.

A young lioness with her three newly born cubs was found west of the airstrip. She appeared to be actively avoiding the Wapoka Pride.

The small resident pack of two wild dogs were seen hunting impala and they managed to bring one down in the middle of the marshes. They have two puppies who appeared to be doing well. Another lone wild dog was seen wandering around for a few days but then we sadly found him dead near to where the lions were feeding. Its carcass was being finished up by vultures.

A new aardwolf den was discovered with three cubs and we were lucky enough to find them playing outside with their mother. We also found a jackal den with four pups. One morning we were lucky enough to find an African civet moving through the grass at about 9.30am – unusual for this nocturnal animal which is rarely seen in broad daylight. We also saw African wild cat, large spotted genet, honey badgers and serval during night drive.

Spotted hyenas were observed taunting a young male lion who was finishing off a red lechwe carcass. They were also seen hanging around the Wapoka Pride whilst they were on kills, hoping for the chance for some bones at the end of the lion’s feast.

A female leopard was found trying her luck on some impala, but was unlucky. We also saw a female climb up a tree to look out for prey species, giving us a great photo opportunity.

We saw the two resident brother cheetahs a couple of times during the month.

As the hot weather continued, herds of elephant up to two hundred strong could be seen visiting the river channels to drink and mud-bathe. General game species included wildebeest, zebra, warthog, common reedbuck, steenbok, impala, kudu, giraffe, sable and roan antelope. We were lucky enough to find a herd of six sitatunga grazing in a mixed herd with red lechwe.

A flock of two hundred pelicans were seen in a single pool at Lechwe Corner. As we watched them, a roan antelope and two male lions were also present.

(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!)

Lebala, Oct 2019

EHanakova_Cat1_LionsAttack

Lebala was closed in October for 2 weeks for maintenance, but during the rest of the month, sightings were still productive.

Three male lions were located by Lechwe Corner and looked as though they had been fighting as they had injuries. Another male was found feeding on a hippo which looked as though it had been killed the previous night. We found the Wapoka pride gorging themselves on a young elephant that that they had killed. They were surrounded by vultures and marabou storks waiting for their chance to scavenge. Another time we found this large pride of sixteen feeding on two separate buffalos that they managed to bring down at once. The tables were turned in different exciting sighting; the lions were resting when a herd of buffalo started charging them and sent the startled cats scampering off into the bushes. The pride was feeding regularly – one day we saw them enjoying a red lechwe for breakfast and a kudu for lunch. As well as the big game, the Wapoka pride also had the occasional warthog snack.

In the northern section we found four sub-adult male lions who had killed a zebra and were very protective about the carcass, taking it in turns to go to the river to drink whilst others stayed to guard their meal.

We saw the wild dogs a few times and they seemed to be looking healthy and well-fed.

We enjoyed some good leopard sightings, and one time were lucky enough to find two different leopards in a single day.

The coalition of two cheetah brothers were located feeding on a red lechwe.

General game included impala, zebra, giraffe, red lechwe, kudu, warthog roan and sable antelope. Big herds of buffalo and elephants were drawn to the channels.

Guests enjoyed watching a very active honey badger as it foraged in the ground. We saw aardwolf looking for termites. Other smaller mammals included African wild cats and bat-eared foxes.

Notable bird sightings included spurwing geese, African fish eagles, goliath herons, African spoonbill, pied kingfishers, tawny eagles pelicans, wattled cranes, brown snake-eagles, open-billed and saddle-billed storks.

(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!)

Lebala, Sep 2019

AWoodcock Cat2 Pangolin

There was plenty of predator action at Lebala during September. For example, on just one night drive we found wild dogs finishing up a bushbuck, then came across a female leopard who had just lost her kill to hyenas and finally found Wapoka Pride feasting on an incredible four buffalos at once!

In another great sighting we found a leopard on a carcass but lions came in and stole the kill. Then, a big herd of buffalo appeared and the two male lions succeeded in taking a calf down.

Yet again, we were thrilled to locate a pangolin. Lebala is getting quite a reputation for locating these endangered animals this year. Other smaller mammals encountered included African wild cats, honey badgers, bat eared foxes, slender mongoose and yellow mongoose. A couple of times we were lucky enough to see an otter fishing in a channel.

We saw Wapoka Pride hunting warthogs a number of times, often the warthogs managed to outrun the lions, but sometimes we saw them make the kill, although it constituted little more than a snack for this large pride. One time we found all nineteen lions eyeing up a buffalo which had got stuck in the water as if figuring what to do next. By the following day they were trying to feed on the buffalo, but struggling to manage this because of the water so they were running in and out. At their age the 11 lion cubs were extremely playful and their antics made for some charming photo opportunities, however in a rather grisly sighting they were all playing with the dead body of a serval that they had killed. Another time we saw the pride fighting with a honey badger. At very close proximity the resident male lion, Sebastian, was seen gorging on an elephant that had died of natural causes. A few days later we found the male roaring to locate his coalition partner who had not been seen for a while and eventually we saw the two males together again. Three of the Bonga Pride were found eating a buffalo towards Halfway Pan.

The resident pack of two adult wild dogs with their five puppies were seen playing together as well as chasing and feeding on impala. Guests were fascinated to see the adult dogs feeding their puppies by regurgitating meat for them.

Two male cheetahs were found near to Halfway Pan.

The well-known resident leopard known as Jane, together with her two cubs, was seen feasting on an impala under a sausage tree. This carcass kept the family busy for three days. Another time she was seen hunting impala but the antelope saw her and bolted away. We continued to locate the leopards throughout the month. We also saw a tom leopard up on a leadwood tree where he was feeding on a tsessebe carcass. This male is Jane’s son from a previous litter.

Breeding herds of elephant could be seen crossing the river to access the green grazing on the islands and we also enjoyed watching them mud bathing. Big herds of buffalo were also coming to drink in the riverine areas and nearby guests were also able to enjoy good views of hippo out of the water. General game included impala, warthog, wildebeest, kudu, lechwe, tsessebe, zebra and roan antelope. We also saw plentiful giraffe including bulls fighting by “necking”.

Vultures were seen cleaning up the carcasses from the lion kills. Large flocks of pelicans were in the area and a highlight for some guests was seeing these striking birds flying in formation. Other bird sightings included African skimmers, fish eagles, yellow-billed storks, open-billed storks, secretary birds, white-faced ducks and tawny 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!)

Lebala, Aug 2019

GTankard.Cat4warthogkill

The pack of two wild dogs were often hunting impala and steenbok in the camp area and then travelling back to the den to regurgitate for their puppies. The Wapoka Pride of lions sometimes took over the wild dogs’ kill and once this happened right in our car parking area. One day the puppies had been left on their own whilst the parents went hunting and the dominant male lion known as Old Gun came along. The puppies managed to make their escape before he could see them, supported by the alpha male dog who managed to divert the lion’s attention in the opposite direction. As the month went on the puppies started to accompany the adults on their hunting missions and we saw them hunting successfully near the airstrip and also killed multiple impala within camp itself.

The Wapoka Pride of nineteen lions were also doing well and they even managed to kill an elephant. In an amazing 48-hour period they killed four times in front of our vehicles including a simultaneous take down of an impala and a warthog. We also saw these lions feasting on a kudu bull, tsessebe and wildebeest. Once we came across them fighting with another pride and they had managed to steal a carcass from them when suddenly a herd of elephants appeared and started to chase all the lions.

A beautiful herd of fifteen sable antelope together with their nine calves were grazing as a mixed herd with zebra. We also saw roan antelope with their young. Other general game included red lechwe, warthog, impala, kudu, sitatunga, reedbuck, tsessebe, warthog, eland and steenbok.

The two resident cheetah brothers were located and we saw them feeding on red lechwe carcasses more than once. Once we saw them hunting but they were thwarted when their prey ran into the marshes.

Huge clouds of dust in the distance gave away the location of buffalo herds on the move. We also saw plenty of elephant and the cooler weather meant that sightings of hippo out of the water were good.

We were thrilled to find an aardvark two nights in a row as that is a very rare sighting. One very lucky night drive we located a pangolin along the airstrip road hopping on its hind legs, and later the same evening an aardwolf which was moving up and down looking for termites. We also saw honey badgers, porcupines, genets and wild cats during the month.

We located a male leopard hunting a couple of times. A female leopard was spotted hiding under a bush with her two cubs.

Flood waters were very slowly starting to seep into the Lebala area and so we enjoyed great birding. At Twin Pools African Skimmers could be seen living up to their name by flying close to the pools and skimming their lower mandibles through the water to feed. Other great bird sightings included fish eagles, vultures, white-faced ducks, goliath herons, Verreaux’s eagle owl, tawny eagles, marabou storks, carmine bee-eaters, black herons, pink-backed pelicans, African spoonbills and endangered wattled cranes.

(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!)

Lebala, July 2019

WhatsApp Image 2019-07-20 at 10.09.12

Sightings were incredible at Lebala during July, and very close to home. We had four kills within the camp itself in the space of a week, once by lions and the rest by wild dogs.

(We do not usually get actual footage of the sightings in camp, but the guides and camp team were only too excited to share what went down in camp! With this post are actual photos and videos of the sightings!)

We managed to track the pack of two wild dogs after they made a kill in camp and were excited to discover that they had a den with seven puppies. One morning, just as we were enjoying porridge at the fireplace, we heard the distress call of an impala at the bridge right in front of camp and found the two wild dogs eating an impala. It took them 40 minutes to finish the carcass – a bit longer than usual because they were running back and forth to their den a kilometre away to regurgitate for their youngsters. This pack was feeding on impala most of the time, once being chased around by a sounder of four warthogs who were not at all happy about their presence. Another time we found the adults and puppies running towards a spot where the alpha pair had made an impala kill.

The resident pride of lions was located practically every day with the eleven playful cubs always providing entertainment even when the adults were sleeping. We were often lucky enough to see the pride hunting and more than once witnessed them making a kill right in front of the vehicle. One evening they came right through camp hunting as all the guests were having dinner, providing great excitement for our guests. A few days later they killed a huge old buffalo bull near to our manager’s house and the guides were quickly alerted to bring their guests back to Lebala to watch the whole pride including the cubs feasted. They stayed on this carcass for several days, causing us to have to put in place some additional security measures to keep staff and guests safe as we walked around camp.

Once the two males were found feeding on a kudu by themselves, but at the same time they flushed out a female leopard who bolted from the thick bush up a tree. It was incredible seeing the two different cat species in one sighting. The following day the rest of the pride joined the males to finish up the carcass. A lone intruder lion with an injured eye briefly appeared in the area during July.

We saw leopard a few times during July but sightings were relatively scarce, probably due to the heavy lion presence in the Kwando reserve at the moment.

The resident coalition of two cheetah brothers were located resting, but soon got up and were moving around as though to start a hunting mission.

Spotted hyenas were denning in the area and so were seen fairly regularly.

General game included sable antelope, giraffe, wildebeest, impala, kudu, red lechwe and warthog. A wonderful herd of twenty-six roan antelope including ten calves were in the area.

Now that the inland waterholes had dried up lots of elephants could be seen crossing the river to and from the marshes. Guests enjoyed watching them mud-bathing and listening to their vocalisations as they prepared to move along. We also saw buffalo in breeding herds of up to 50 individuals. The dust clouds that they created could be seen from a distance, attracting the attention of the Wapoka lions.

Smaller mammals encountered included honey badger, spring hare and porcupine. An aardwolf was seen foraging for termites during night drive.

Bird sightings included vultures, Verreaux’s eagle owl, tawny eagle, marabou storks and saddle-billed storks. Birds associated with water such as spurwing geese, white-faced duck, African jacana, African spoonbill, fish eagles, herons and ibis could be seen by the channels. Pink-backed pelicans delighted guests by flying in beautiful formations before landing in the pools.

WhatsApp Image 2019-07-27 at 17.53.14

 

Lebala, June 2019

AForsythe.Cat 7 lion cubs 1.jpg

The Wapoka pride’s six lionesses with their eleven cubs continued to delight guests. One time we saw clouds of dust in the distance and went to investigate only to find a huge herd of buffalo moving through the riverine area. We were not the only ones to see the dust because Wapoka pride arrived soon afterwards and started to chase the buffalo around.

The lionesses were looking after their growing family extremely well, making kills just about every day with prey species such as warthog and red lechwe. Sometimes they were accompanied by the big male lions known as Old Gun and Sebastian and we saw Old Gun successfully mating one of the younger lionesses. Another time Sebastian was found on his own on a sable antelope carcass. In one remarkable sighting we were lucky enough to see the cubs bravely chasing a honey badger. The cubs were at a very playful age providing guests with charming photo opportunities.

The resident pack of two wild dogs were still turning up fairly regularly in and around camp. One day they killed an impala right next to our hide. We also saw them hunting on Main Road. We also saw a larger pack of five a few times.

One morning we were trying to keep up with the wild dogs hunting when we spotted jackals and bateleur eagles moving towards camp. We changed direction to investigate and found the resident two male cheetah bothers on top of a termite mound. They still had blood stains on their faces from a recent kill. We found them again the next day, but they seemed nervous due to the close proximity of the lions. Right at the end of the month we found them hunting and witnessed them killing a kudu calf. They spent the whole day feeding on it before they were chased off by a lioness.

We found the resident female leopard hunting impala a few times and in one beautiful sighting we were saw her leap gracefully across a channel.

A clan of hyena was observed as the individuals were chasing each other around.

As the seasonal dry weather continued most of the game had moved out from the woodland areas towards the channels. Species included sable antelope, buffalo, zebra, kudu, giraffe, tsessebe, wildebeest, warthog and impala. A herd of six roan antelope were located near to the airstrip

Herds of elephant could be seen drinking along the channels and in one dramatic sighting we came across two bull elephants fighting. We also saw hippo in the riverine areas and pools.

A pair of aardwolf were denning to the southwest of camp and we were able to get good visuals of the female during the day.

We were lucky enough to spot the elusive pangolin again during June.

A colony of dwarf mongoose could be seen sunbathing to warm up after the cold winter nights. We came across African wild cat a few times, sometimes in hunting mode. Other smaller mammals located included baboons and monkeys.

Birds seen during the month included pied kingfishers, pied avocet, marabou storks, vultures, saddle-billed storks, fish eagles, pelicans, goliath herons and egrets.

(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!)

Lebala, May 2019

SMaxwell.Cat7LeopardKL

The Wapoka Pride was still resident in the area. One time we were following fresh tracks through the Kalahari apple leaf and a distance away we saw vultures descending, a good sign that there might be a kill. Sure enough we found the whole family of 19 lions including two big males, six females and eleven cubs. The lionesses were finishing off the zebra carcass whilst the cubs were amusing themselves playing with the bones. Nearby one of the resident males started roaring, whilst the other was drinking. We came across the pride many times during the month, one time finding them all with their faces dramatically covered in blood after they had clearly eaten well. Although the pride seemed to be specialising in zebra, we watched one of the lionesses stalking a wildebeest calf which had got separated from its herd. Unfortunately. one of the lion cubs came out into the open and thereby spoiled the hunt. The Bonga pride were also seen on the northern side of the area.

We had been seeing multiple tracks of a female leopard, but they always seem to head off and vanish into the marshes. However, one morning we got lucky and saw the tracks heading inland and to our delight there were also tiny cub tracks. Nearby there was a very relaxed herd of impala, but in the end it was the alarm call of a tree squirrel that gave the game away and we found an impala carcass in the thickets with the female and two cubs feeding on it. Everyone was astonished by the fact that there was a well-camouflaged leopard feeding just a couple of metres away from grazing impala who seemed oblivious to its presence. We saw the female leopard again a few days later, up on a leadwood tree with her cubs.

A pack of six wild dogs were located at Kubu Pan just as we were about to stop for sundowner drinks. In the pack there was one very striking pale female and we watched her drinking at the pan. The resident pack of two dogs killed an impala ram near to Room 8 and guests were able to quickly return back to camp to witness them feasting. Another time we saw these two dogs take down an impala close to the airstrip.

Bush walks continued to be a popular activity giving guests a chance to see species such as giraffe whilst on foot, as well as being able to study tracks of the other animals who had passed through the walking range. One of the sightings of the month was being able to view a pangolin from the ground and to watch it feeding on ants under the sage bushes.

The inland waterholes were very dry and the large herbivores were attracted to the riverine areas. Elephants were moving through the mopane woodland in large numbers, sometimes trumpeting, and herds of buffalo up to fifty strong were also seen coming to drink. We loved watching elephants drinking, swimming and mud-bathing at the river. Hippos were still resident in Twin Pools and guests were able to get some great shots of them yawning in a territorial display.

A lovely herd of 28 sable antelope, including ten calves were in the area. Once we were able to witness two of the bulls chasing each other in a battle for dominance. Other general game included zebra, impala, wildebeest, warthogs, kudu and lechwe.

We found both serval and aardwolf along Vlei Road, both of these smaller mammals digging in holes. A large colony of dwarf mongoose was found sunbathing at the base of a termite mound.

On night drive guests were impressed when a sharp-eyed guide was able to spot a chameleon up in a tree.

A huge flock of vultures were seen feeding on a zebra that had died of natural causes. It was fascinating to sit with them for a while and listen to their hissing and squabbling.

(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!)

 

Lebala, Mar 2019

mcrouch.cat1.leopardwithimpalakill lebala

The resident Bonga pride of two adults and six cubs were found frequently, and often near to camp or the airstrip. One time we saw them trying to hunt giraffe who were browsing nearby but a lack of cover meant that they were unsuccessful. The following day the lions covered a huge amount of ground by travelling to Halfway Pan where we found them feasting on a zebra. We saw them a few days later with the carcass of a big kudu bull which was finished up by spotted hyenas and jackals after the lions had left. This opportunistic pride showed great variety in their diet which ranged from wildebeest to warthog; one time the lions had treed a large male baboon who was looking very nervous, but he managed to escape. Sometimes the sub-adults were left on their own whilst the females were hunting, on one of these occasions the cubs were sitting on a termite mound having finished eating the carcass of a red lechwe. The male lions were seen patrolling often, sometimes on their own but calling for their coalition partner.

The female leopard known as Jane was located near to Twin Pools having caught a reedbuck. The next day she was still there, this time feeding on a civet. After a long tracking session a few days later the guides found Jane again; she had spotted her cub from last year and gave chase to it as though in territorial dispute. Meanwhile Jane’s older son was located with a kill of a tsessebe calf up on a tree. A few days later he was busy stalking reedbuck in the marsh area, this being his favourite territory and one that gives him his nickname “Fisherman”. A female leopard was found calling, as though looking for a mate.

One day our guide’s attention was drawn to a small herd of impala getting an elevated view from the top of a termite mound. We heard them make an alarm call and then the coalition of two cheetah brothers appeared. We also saw them stalking a dazzle of zebra, though they were not successful. Now that the foals were growing in size and strength they were getting harder to hunt.

We had quality sightings of elephants swimming across the deeper channels and they were present in good number at Twin Pools. Guests were able to enjoy seeing hippos grazing out of the water during the day. The was very good general game in the area. From time to time the big herds of red lechwe grazing at the edge of the marsh made a spectacular sight as they splashed through the water. Other species included sable antelope, wildebeest, zebra, impalas, giraffe and kudu.

A clan of hyenas was found devouring the carcass of an elephant calf; our guides suspected that it could have been killed by lightning. A couple of times we saw a lone hyena moving around near the camp searching for something to eat.

Sometimes the action happens right inside camp. One day we saw a water monitor moving near to the main area. We heard a squirrel make an alarm call and the next moment the lizard caught and killed the squirrel.

At Twin Pools and the marsh area there were lots of interesting birds including saddle-billed storks, cranes, ibises, egrets and eagles. Brightly coloured red bishops flocked in front of camp as they enjoyed eating seeds from the long grasses.

(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!)

Lebala, Feb 2019

AndyLibrande-CAT4-WildDogGreetings

The resident pack of six wild dogs were located near Halfway Pan and we were pleased to find that the alpha male and female were mating however in an interesting development of pack dynamics a few days later we noticed that the long-time alpha male was injured as if in a fight and the female was being mated by a different dog. Another pack entirely, one who had denned in the Kwando Reserve two years ago, was found after our sharp-eyed guide and tracker team had spotted kites and bateleurs at a distance. After following up they found the pack of ten dogs finishing up an impala who they had just killed. Let’s hope that they stay around for the next couple of months and choose to den nearby.

In a spectacular sighting the two dominant male lions known as Old Gun and Sebastian taking down a male buffalo. The bull tried to stand his ground but the two big lions were too strong for him and Old Gun started to feed whilst Sebastian was still suffocating the prey animal. The two male lions stayed on the kill for a few days, irritably chasing away the jackals and vultures who came to feed. A pride of two adults and six cubs were tracked from camp until we found them. In the evening we returned and found the cubs by themselves whilst the adults had apparently gone off to find food. The next day we discovered that the hunting mission had been successful and the whole pride was busy feasting on a sub-adult giraffe. There were plenty of hyenas and jackals hanging around and by the next day the scavengers, including many vultures, had taken over the carcass. On another occasion we found the pride feeding on a freshly killed wildebeest. We also followed the lionesses as they tried their luck on some red lechwe, but their stalking was spoiled by the noisy alarm call of the francolins. We also saw a pride of ten lions being chased by a herd of elephants.

Individual herds of elephants were seen heading towards the riverine areas and guests enjoyed watching them swimming and mud-bathing. However seeing so many elephants by the river was unusual for the time of year and an indication that the natural pans in the mopane woodlands did not have as much water as would be the norm during rainy season. However, some rains meant that the area was lovely and green meaning plenty of food for the herbivores. We found good herds of eland, impala, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe with plenty of young animals still nursing from their mothers. Warthogs and baboons helped to make up some classic African landscapes.

The resident coalition of two cheetah brothers were seen rolling around in the ground seemingly to get rid of flies that were irritating them, but possibly to also scent mark their territory. We found them patrolling a couple of days later.

The smaller animals also produced their share of the action and we saw a mongoose chasing and finally killing a lizard. We were lucky enough to find a serval fishing along the marsh and watched as it pulled out a catfish. Honey badgers were seen digging for mice and we saw one feeding on a monitor lizard.

Hippos and crocodiles were seen at the larger pans and we also saw a big African python slithering up out of a waterhole.
Bird sightings were good, especially around the Halfway Pan area which had many wetland species including storks, pelicans, egrets and terns.

(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!)

Lebala, Jan 2019

B.Christensen.Cat1lioncub

Wapuka Pride was located near to the airstrip with a blue wildebeest carcass. The following day we found the ten lions on a giraffe that they had managed to kill overnight. As we came in there were lots of scavengers around. The next morning the pride’s two dominant males had moved into the kill and one of the males was mating a lioness. Later in the month we watched two of the females hunting down a large warthog boar, but the prey managed to escape. We also came across the pride hunting red lechwe, again without success.
Bonga Pride were also in the area, although they had pushed closer to the Lagoon side of the Kwando Reserve. We watched as they eyed up a herd of zebra, but chose not to make an attempt in the end. We saw them a couple of days later looking full-bellied and this time the five lionesses and three cubs were joined by the dominant males, Old Gun and Sebastian. The two male lions were seen patrolling and marking their territory by spraying urine on bushes.
 
A tom leopard was located in a tree but eventually climbed down
A pack of six wild dogs were located at Halfway Pan. They looked starving and we watched as they tried their luck but they didn’t catch anything.
 
We were fortunate enough to locate a wild cat after picking up some guests from the airstrip. Although the animal was a bit shy it was a treat to see this species during the day. Black-backed jackals were observed sifting through elephant dung looking for beetles.
One morning drive we managed to come across a coalition of four cheetahs who were trying to hunt wildebeest, but they were still skittish to the vehicles and ran away. A few days later we saw them feeding on a warthog and were able to watch them from a distance. The guides will need to work patiently get these new animals to our area used to the vehicles.
 
Spotted hyenas were seen mobile, and one was running away holding onto a wildebeest skin. We also found a clan of eight in camp just as we were leaving for morning game drive.
A black mamba snake was observed sunbathing on a termite mound. And in other reptile action, guests enjoyed the rather comical mating of two tortoises.
 
We saw big herds of elephants coming through the area, moving from east to west as though they had a definite purpose in mind.
Lots of general game was seen in the area, especially around Nare Pan. Species recorded included giraffe, zebra, impala, wildebeest, tsessebe and red lechwe. Many of the antelopes had new offspring with them.
 
Birdlife was excellent, especially along the marsh. We saw three species of bee-eater (Little, Carmine and Blue-cheeked) as well as many different egrets and herons. Open-billed, saddle-billed and yellow-billed storks were all present. Raptors included tawny eagles, Wahlberg’s eagles and fish eagles. A special sighting was watching a martial eagle swooping down to take a banded mongoose, with the rest of the mongoose trying to rescue their family member.
 
(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!)