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Category: Nxai Pan

Nxai Pan Camp, July 2022

Winter at Nxai Pan brought crisp, chilled air perfect for photography and gorgeous night skies. Now that the natural pans have dried up, animals spent more and more time frequenting the permanent waterhole at camp, which meant full bellies for many of the lions we saw around Nxai Pan Camp this month.

Waterhole Nxai Pan Camp

On one occasion, we found two lionesses on a Springbok kill, while seven of the Nxai Pan Pride were found on a freshly killed kudu which they relished until the dominant male came to help himself and took away the remains.

A feline affair

We had brief sightings of a Spotted hyena, plus cheetahs and leopards, but the Nxai Pan pride reigned supreme. They will, however, need to keep their eyes open. One evening we stopped for sundowners and heard roaring from a few kilometres away. We packed up and, G&T in hand, headed off towards the booming lion calls. Upon arrival, we were stunned to find a nomadic male lion mating with one of the Nxai Pan pride females.

Nxai Pan Lions

Given the strength in numbers of the Nxai Pan pride, we could only admire the courage of the nomadic male who had strolled into their territory. Lion mating rituals last some time, and if the pride males get wind of him and track him down, he will face serious consequences. We haven’t spotted the nomadic male since, so he likely made good on his escape.

Awesome Aardwolf sightings

Our sightings of Aardwolf have continued, and they have been seen wandering close to the camp on several occasions. As previously reported, they are seldom-seen creatures, so we always count ourselves lucky to have spent so much precious time with them. The open veld at the airstrip also granted wonderful wildlife viewing, including Black-backed jackals, Caracals, and Bat-eared foxes.  

Aardwolf of Botswana

A male baboon was also seen drinking briefly at the camp waterhole but quickly dashed back into the tree line.

Then, we had the distinct pleasure of seeing a mother and baby Honey badger strolling across open grassland! Given its fearsome reputation, the Honey badger can probably allow itself an air of nonchalance. Even lions have learned the hard way that they are not to be messed with. Mum was likely taking Junior out to learn self-defence. 

That is not the only creature with a reputation in the bush. On the road to the airstrip, we stopped to watch the graceful Black mamba glide across the track. Their name is often met with fear, which lies in its potent neurotoxic venom, but it’s worth noting that a Black mamba will almost certainly turn tail and vanish if you encounter one. And before you judge them, ponder this. In the past ten years, it has been discovered that mamba venom contains a powerful painkiller. As potent as morphine but without many of the side effects. Despite the fear their name instils, perhaps your pain medication will come from the mamba in the future! 

Nxai Pan has also been alive with herbivores, including Red hartebeests, Oryx, Springbok, Kudu, and a journey of 57 Giraffes. This large grouping of giraffes has been a wonder in recent months in Nxai Pan as it is unusual to find them in such numbers.

Last but certainly not least, there was a Pale-chanting goshawk feeding on a Ground agama, and plenty of different species of birds and Black-backed jackals fed on termites. There were Tawny eagles, Cattle egrets, Steppe buzzards, Gabar goshawks, Brown snake-eagles and elegant Bateleurs.

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library, which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up-to-date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Nxai Pan Camp, May 2022

As the herbivores sought the water in the few remaining waterholes, the lions lay in wait.

The Nxai Pan pride is eleven-strong in number and well practised in the hunt. Over ten days, we found them feeding on zebra, kudu, wildebeest, and springbok. On one occasion, this led to family strife as the male strode in to take over a kudu carcass, only for the lionesses to register their disagreement with his arrogance. Paws and claws were drawn, and they settled their dispute with a bout of fisticuffs. The male eventually asserted his position as head of the table and wandered off with the kudu remains. Despite this slight disagreement, the pride was looking strong for the coming winter with their bellies full.

We also watched the mating rituals of the dominant male lion and his paramour on a day trip to Baines Baobabs. Lion mating rituals are the stuff of legend, lasting three to four days with the couple repeating every half an hour. (You do the maths.) Lionesses have a gestation period of approximately four months, so if they were successful, we’re sure to hear the patter of tiny paws later in the dry season. 

The cheetahs have also been busy, and we witnessed an unsuccessful hunt near the camp. After a failed chase in the midday heat, the male decided it was still too hot to reach the required speeds. Instead, it took up station in the bush, scanning the open ground for prey while our happy guests snapped away.

A giant journey of giraffe

Nxai Pan hosts a wide array of herbivores for all these predators to thrive. We sat in awe as a journey of 57 giraffes grouped together, which is rarely seen in such numbers. Our guides expertly moved ahead of the herd and sat quietly for a time, allowing the vast collection of tall mammals to pass close by before they elegantly sashayed off into the bush.

Giraffe Nxai Pan

We also had the privilege of seeing the Plains zebras as they commenced their long return migration north out of Nxai Pan, heading back towards the Chobe River. 

Caracal, aardwolf, a baby honey badger (small but deadly!), and baby Bat-eared foxes (perhaps the cutest of them all) were all seen during night drives. 

There’s a star man waiting in the sky

Nxai Pan is a stargazer’s paradise, where history is written in the skies, and local celestial tales can be related all night long. However, sometimes these huge skies come to us. This month our guests were treated to a large flash as a meteorite lit up the sky over the camp and headed south.

Stars at Nxai Pan

The last time this famously happened was in 2018, when a fireball shot across the sky and landed in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The meteorite was found and named after a local waterhole called Motopi Pan. Scientists believe it started its journey to earth some 23 million years ago. Now that shows some serious safari commitment for anyone who has ever doubted that the remote Kalahari is worth the trip!   

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Nxai Pan Camp, April 2022

A big herd of buffalo walked in a seemingly endless single file to visit the waterhole in front of Nxai Pan Camp, joining the elephants for a thirst-quenching drink much to our guests’ delight. 

The area was still very green and we enjoyed a beautiful spread of life all across the park. Plenty of insects were listed because of our abundant rains. We noticed Giant jewel beetles, Yellow pansy, African joker, African monarch, Zebra white and Broad-bordered yellow grass butterflies, and the abdomen-tapping Tok tokkie beetles scuttling across the pans. 

Let us take you on a sound safari

Our guides are trained to use all their senses when locating animals in the Nxai Pan National Park and we learnt how sound always amplifies the safari experience this April. At night, guests enjoyed the whooping calls of Spotted hyenas as they settled in by the fire below the stars. When we stopped to photograph a tower of giraffes, guides discerned the loud roars of a male lion and drove closer to investigate. There were two dominant males patrolling the Nxai Pan Camp area and one of the brothers was mating with a female. On another occasion, the trumpeting of elephants led us to a lion sighting. We located the Nxai Pan pride along the West Road as they were flushed from the bush by some very disgruntled elephants. 

Another lioness was located walking along the road in obvious pain. We noticed she had fresh wounds on her face and a bad injury to the shoulder, which all pointed to a fight. As she walked, the Springboks were running around her alarming and pronking, but she took very little notice. 

Giraffes Nxai Pan Camp

There were good herds of Springboks, Gemsbok Red hartebeest plus small groups of Kudus and a significant number of zebra were still around on their migration route south. We encountered thirty giraffes concentrated in one area along Baobab Loop road one day. The world’s tallest mammal, these animals are not territorial (though the males will fight for a mate) and live in loose, open herds gathering together for mutual security. 

An Aardwolf was seen along the Middle Road in an interesting sighting because the Black-backed jackals were after him. The little Aardwolf was visibly distressed and very skittish. A charming family of six Bat-eared fox was also seen along Middle Road, playing together during the day.  

A sidestriped sand snake was found on top of the walkway in camp and a pair of Crowned lapwings was seen mating pair at Nxai Pan waterhole. Thanks to the remaining insects, some migrant birds, such as the Blue-cheeked bee-eater and Swallow-tailed bee-eater have remained a little longer than usual in the area.

Flamingoes at Baines’ Baobabs

We also scored some gorgeous photographs of Greater flamingoes on a day trip to Baines’ baobabs. They were wading close to the shore of the Kudiakam Pan at very close range. There was also a Pale chanting goshawk seen feeding on a Ground agama plus the regularly-seen Black-shouldered kites, Brown snake-eagles, Black-chested snake-eagles, Common buzzards, Rattling cisticolas and vibrantly-coloured Crimson-breasted shrikes

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Nxai Pan Camp, March 2022

Things to do Nxai Pan

On a rather memorable day trip to Baines’ Baobabs, we came across a handsome male leopard walking along the road. It veered off and disappeared into the long grass, but to our great fortune, we found a female leopard resting in the shade on our way back. We approached slowly, and she got up to walk along the road, much like the male had. We followed her until she spotted a steenbok, which she then successfully stalked and killed! 

The territory of a Steenbok is relatively tiny, so we come across many in the park. This petite antelope typically covers its dung, which is unusual for antelope, but a clever little defensive tactic it uses to prevent predators from sniffing out their homes. Unless, of course, a hungry leopard comes strolling past.

Nxai Pan zebra migration update

Zebra Migration Nxai Pan

Nxai Pan has been incredibly productive for hungry herbivores. The site was exceptionally green, lush and sticky with mud. The Dropseed grass grew tall and puffed up (“Like someone who went to the salon!” Kwando Safaris guide Alex expressed). We saw Gemsbok, enormous gatherings of Springbok, Red hartebeest, small groups of kudu and the Plains zebra migration was still underway. However, the zebra numbers have gradually dwindled as they start to resume their journey south. One day, we encountered thirty giraffes in a single concentration along Baobab Loop road.

Predators of the pans

Two male cheetahs were spotted walking along the middle road heading south just after sunset one evening, their silhouettes unmistakable in the vanishing light. They seemed skittish and aborted the hunt. We later found lions active in the area and heard their gravelly roars close to camp that night. The following day, the male cheetah was found hunting springbok, but with no success.

The Nxai Pan pride of 11 lions was frequently seen (and often on a zebra kill) throughout March. Mid-month, we came across a mating pair of lions along West Road. It was interesting because the male lion was not part of Nxai Pan Pride. One afternoon, the sudden descent of circling White-backed vultures drew observant guides to Baobab Loop road, where they found eight of the Nxai Pan pride on a sub-adult zebra kill.

We briefly saw a single adult female spotted hyena this month, but it quickly disappeared into the bushes. We also saw Africa’s smallest hyena, the Aardwolf, along Middle Road, being chased by Black-backed jackals. Black-backed jackals were seen daily, and we frequently found families of Bat-eared foxes nestled into the base of termite mounds attempting to hide in the long grass, only to be betrayed by their satellite ears.

Summer birding and Baines’ Baobabs

Kori bustards also strutted their stuff on these plains and we particularly enjoyed watching a Pale chanting goshawk feeding on a Ground agama. Black-shouldered kites, Brown snake eagle, Black-chested snake eagle and Steppe buzzards soared the skies while Rattling cisticolas, Yellow canaries, and Crimson-breasted shrikes bounced about in the branches of the Umbrella thorn acacia trees. Blue checked bee-eaters and Swallow-tailed bee-eaters were often seen hawking from the roadside on our trips to Baines’ Baobabs. The pans in front of these iconic trees are full of water. Sometimes we come across big elephant bulls seeking shade below the other trees nearby, and we saw Lesser flamingos feeding in the water.

African Monarch Nxai Pan

There were many puddles and pans around the park, so we were flush with insect life and noticed a kaleidoscope of butterflies, including the Yellow pansy, African joker, African monarch, Zebra white and Broad-bordered yellow grass butterfly. Giant jewel beetles and tok-tokkie beetles have also enjoyed the prime conditions. One sweltering day,  a Leopard tortoise took advantage of the conditions and enjoyed a mud bath. We also came across a bright green Flap-necked chameleon on the road. 

To our surprise, cattle came to visit the Nxai Pan Camp waterhole one day and drank alongside the zebra and wildebeest. We called the wildlife authority to alert them.

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Nxai Pan Camp, February 2022

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

Nxai Pan Camp Summer

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

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

Hyenas, honey badgers and breeding herds

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

Zebra Migration Summer

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

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

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

(Note: Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Nxai Pan Camp, January 2022

Nxai Pan Summer

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

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

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

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

A blossom of butterflies

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

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

Zebra migration update

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

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

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

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Nxai Pan Camp, December 2021

The biggest show at Nxai Pan National Park has begun! The zebra numbers started climbing towards the end of the month in what will soon culminate as the second largest migration in Africa when these animals move south from the Savute area to make the most of our luscious landscapes.  

Every day our guides noted the zebra numbers improved, but they were not the only plains game that moved in to enjoy the feast of fresh grass. Many animals resettled to these pans and plains during December, including large herds of wildebeest. One day, we encountered a Black-backed jackal feeding on something that looked like a placenta. On another occasion, we located a zebra foal carcass on West Road, which looked like the tidy remains of a cheetah kill. Two Black-backed jackals were seen feeding on it, but interestingly, no raptors were noted in the area. 

Springboks were seen during every game drive, often nursing their lambs, but our guides on the ground noticed that the Blue wildebeest hadn’t dropped their calves just yet. As always, the waterhole in front of the camp was incredibly active. Breeding elephant herds, buffalo, giraffes, impala, and springbok all stopped past for a drink in the midday heat. 

With the presence of all the young animals, predators were never far behind. As guests had breakfast one morning, our guides heard a lion calling from an easterly direction. They soon located the solitary animal walking along the road as he roared. We followed it for some time, and although it seemed hungry, none of the nearby zebras interested him. We also noticed a tower of giraffes and a few ostriches in the area during this pursuit. Another day, we tracked a pride of eleven lions to West Road, feeding on a giraffe.

Being our rainy season, one afternoon, the clouds gathered into an impressive storm and buckets of rain transformed the camp. Bullfrogs hollered from newly-formed ponds and the central area enjoyed the acoustics of all the thrilled ephemeral insects enjoying renewed waters. Botswana becomes a photographer’s paradise in the green season, and we loved being able to get close to all the frogs! 

Three Grey crowned cranes were also seen at the waterhole in front of camp. Standing rather regally at over a metre high, we never take these sightings for granted as they are an endangered species. We also couldn’t help but wonder how many times they have visited before. Did you know? They can live for up to 22 years in the wild. Furthermore, these clever cranes co-opt with large herbivores (like our blossoming zebra herds) who flush out insects as they walk. 

Meanwhile, two White-headed and a hooded vulture were seen soaring the thermals while the Tawny eagles were ever-present. There was also a fabulous sighting of a pair of Verreaux’s eagle owl spot sitting in a big Purple pod Terminalia tree on the road to the airstrip. 

During a morning drive to Baines Baobabs, there was plenty of general game to be seen. We were beyond pleased to discover two breeding birds making use of the trees on arrival: a pair of pied crows roosting up high plus Southern yellow-billed hornbills nesting in the trunk of the famous sleeping baobab.

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Nxai Pan Camp, August 2021

Nxai Pan Sightings Report

As we approach spring, some trees and plants start to flower again in a resilient reminder of the renewal that follows winter. However, August is still a season of survival.

Kwando Safaris guide Matt shares the story of Black-backed jackals on the hunt. These animals are bold scavengers, always circling on the sidelines of lion kills and cheetah snatches. However, they are capable hunters too and vital – ecologically speaking – for removing injured and sick animals from the bush.  One pair was seen hunting Helmeted guineafowls around a waterhole with their two subadult pups. Sadly, their attempts at a catch were thwarted by a Martial eagle that flew overhead, which caused the ground birds to scatter back to safety.

Matt also reported regular sightings of Aardwolf. These ‘Earth wolfs’ are typically nocturnal and somewhat secretive. It’s been a pleasure to see them rearing their young at a den near the camp! They seem to enjoy basking in the sun just in front of the entrance to their burrow.

One lonely lesser flamingo was seen in the Baines’ Baobabs area. Every year, these birds stop to use the water that collects across the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans network as breeding sites on their regular migrant routes. There was also plenty of general game along the road leading to Baines’ Baobabs. Springbok, Gemsbok, Greater kudu, Plains Zebra and Blue wildebeest were all spotted in the golden grasslands.

All the shallow pans dried up near the end of winter, and animals navigated towards permanent water sources. A large number of elephants (particularly breeding herds) regularly frequented the waterhole in front of the camp. Other prey species try to get in for a drink too, but the hefty animals don’t permit them much chance! We’ve checked off buffalo, zebra and Bat-eared foxes plus Black-backed jackal roaming the area.

When the elephants are absent, it pays to keep those eyes peeled. A pride of ten lions were seen drinking by the camp waterhole one morning. The group consisted of three adults with seven teenage cubs. At another waterhole on the eastern fringe of the Nxai Pan National Park, guides became alert to a Black-backed jackal making an alarm call. Upon driving in the direction of the eerie noise, they encountered two male lions walking through the bush.

Although it may not constitute the ‘kill’ of an imagined safari, it was fascinating to see a Rock monitor lizard walking along the Middle Road one morning. It was cruising along, keeping to shade and licking up ants as he went.  

(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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Nxai Pan Camp, June-July 2021

As if they aren’t cute enough as adults, aardwolf cubs were a particularly special sighting this winter. On the West Road, Kwando Safaris guides located an aardwolf den just metres from the dirt track and one day four of the adults laid basking in the sunshine just at the entrance.

Thanks to good rains this year, there is still a bit of surface water lying around for the game. Plenty of Black-backed jackals were seen scoping these pans, some trying desperately to catch Helmeted guineafowl for dinner.

One day on the way to Baines’ Baobabs (plenty of Oryx and Steenbok logged during the drive) guides reported tracks of both lion and wild dog. The team did a few day trips and often arrived at the historical site to a welcoming committee of Lesser flamingoes flocked across the waterlogged salt pans. However, these seem to be drying fast, leaving us with a caked salt pan crust.

The camp waterhole is always flush with life during this dry season and it’s been a joy to simply watch the animals parade past from the deck. Spotted hyenas were seen drinking water on several occasions and on one particularly hot day, over 100 elephants. These pachyderms were joined by plenty of other plains game species: buffalo, blue wildebeest, plains zebra, the greater kudu and a generous herd of springbok. Under the cover of darkness, the camp also had visits from the Small-spotted genet and lions were vocal in the vicinity.

The birdlife has been great too with plenty of raptor activity, prides of ostrich foraging in the golden grasslands and several sightings of Botswana’s national bird, the scholarly-looking Kori Bustard. Two tall secretary birds were also seen (rather conspicuously) sitting on top of the Umbrella thorn acacia trees, which is their preferred nesting site.

Did you know? This bird has the longest tail in Southern Africa. It measures about 75cm.

(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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Nxai Pan Camp, October 2020

ASwan Cat8 Waterhole

As was the norm for the time of year, the main animal sightings in and around camp were elephants, elephants and yet more elephants. Herds up to 300 strong congregated at the camp waterhole. Dominant bulls hogged the precious resource causing a lot of frustration and fighting between the lower-ranked animals.

Plains game, such as impala and springbok, could only watch in thirty desperation as the elephants refused to let them come near. Luckily, they were able to use the Department of Wildlife waterhole to drink.

One very hot afternoon, a lioness with two young cubs came for a drink at the camp waterhole. After drinking, they rested in the shade of an acacia tree. The general game continued to quench their thirst, the need for water driving them despite the presence of a predator. The next day we saw two lionesses with full bellies and blood-spotted faces, we didn’t see the carcass, but when we got back to the waterhole, we found another lioness on the remains of a kudu. It seems that at least one antelope paid the price for reckless drinking in the end. After that, all three lionesses, with their eight cubs, spent the night in camp. They were roaring all night and we could hear a response coming from about two kilometres away.

A pack of eleven wild dogs were seen in camp a few days running. Hyenas also visited the waterhole.

One time we saw an ostrich chasing a jackal to protect its chicks.

(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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