Splash / Kwara, Jan 2020

THarden Cat1 Lions drinking

Four new young male lions made a bold move on the Kwara Reserve and seemed intent on pushing out the resident males that we know as Big Man and Puffy. One of them was limping and it seemed as though they had come into conflict with either the residents or the Zulu Boys who were also hanging around. Our guides were sad that these new lions killed a rather special young lioness who was recognisable by her ginger/cinnamon colouring.  Towards the end of the month we witnessed a fight and lots of chasing between the four new males and the residents. The ongoing battle between these male lions mean that the nights were full of roaring as each side tried to proclaim their territory. Big Man and Puffy were still in the area at the end of the month, but looking extremely nervous. The resident Splash Pride of eight seemed keen to avoid the new males, but we found them a couple of times eating warthogs that they had just killed.

The three resident packs of wild dogs continued to provide plenty of action.  We followed the pack of eighteen as they hunted and killed impalas on a regular basis. One time they managed to kill four impala lambs at once. Vultures and kites could be seen finishing up the leftovers. They also killed a waterbuck calf near Room 12 at Splash.

Meanwhile, the Marsh Pack of twenty-five dogs were also located hunting around the Splash area. One day they came running straight through camp chasing impalas. Eventually they killed two lambs right next to the workshop, devoured them quickly and then continued on with their hunt.

The resident male cheetah known as Special was very active in terms of marking his territory and hunting; he was located on most days as he moved between the eastern and western side of the Kwara reserve. We saw him hunting and killing various antelope species including impala, common reedbuck and a wildebeest calf. Once we saw his kill be taken by two male lions.

A female cheetah was busy tracking Special’s marking posts, indicating that she was ready for mating again. When we saw her in the area last year, she was travelling with her sub-adult son, but this year she left him behind at the mokoro station where he was seen calling for her. We saw her hunting and killing an impala lamb.

Herds of elephant could be seen feeding and bathing in the channels. Guests enjoyed watching the young calves playing. Big bull elephants were regularly feeding on the Kwara camp islands and breeding herds could be seen drinking water at the pan in front of camp. A herd of approximately 300 buffalo was seen in the area.

A relaxed tom leopard known as Golden Boy was located frequently near to Kwara. Vervet monkeys alarm-calling revealed a shyer individual and another time it was the snorting of impalas that gave away the location of the cat. A female leopard was found up on a sausage tree.

Spotted hyenas were denning and we were able to see the single cub nursing from its mother. A clan was seen scavenging on a dead giraffe that appeared to have died of natural causes. We also saw hyenas eating a reedbuck carcass and another time watched them as they cooled off in water.

A caracal was spotted hunting helmeted guineafowl but the birds took off before the cat could manage to snatch one. A relaxed aardwolf was located at its temporary den. We were also lucky enough to spot an aardvark, although the animal was quick to dive into some thickets. We saw black-backed and side-striped jackals on most game drives.

Big herds of zebra were attracted by the great grazing and as they month progressed, they were steadily increasing in number. Other general game included warthog, common reedbuck, tsessebe, impala, kudu and red lechwe. We came across an interesting sighting of mating giraffe. Sable antelope were located in the area.

It was a good time for birding as we were able to enjoy several migratory visitors including European rollers, European bee-eaters and broad-billed rollers. A flock of over 100 carmine bee-eaters were seen feeding on flying ants. It was great listening to the snapping of their bills and chattering as they caught their prey. Yellow-billed kites were also enjoying the feast. Endangered wattled cranes and ground hornbills were both doing well in the Kwara Reserve.

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

Tau Pan, Dec 2019

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The Tau Pan pride were seen often and we came across them feasting on a gemsbok that they had killed some thirty minutes before. We also saw them cornering a brown hyena at the camp waterhole. The hyena looked sick and in the end the lions left without harming it. Another time they were at the camp waterhole being nervously watched by a herd of giraffe who were waiting for the lions to move off so that that they quench their thirst. We also came across lions at Deception Valley and Letia Hau during day trips.

Three brother cheetahs were seen along Passarge Valley, but they are not yet well habituated to the vehicles and were shy. A different pair of cheetahs was located at Phukwe Pan hunting, but they were chased away by gemsbok. Two female cheetahs and a herd of springbok were seen sizing each other up, but the cats didn’t make a chase in the end. A single male cheetah was seen near to the Tau2 camping site; he was looking very healthy and relaxed.

We saw a brown hyena highly mobile whilst we were on game drive.

A female leopard was seen trying her luck on ground squirrels, but the squirrels quickly escaped into their burrows. We also saw her calmly rolling around in the grass near to the road around sunset time.

Very relaxed bat-eared foxes could be seen with four cubs at their den. Black-backed jackals were often trying to attack the cubs, but the foxes aggressively chased the bigger predators away from their young.

A honey badger was seen wrestling a snake but won in the end and ate the reptile for breakfast. One day we startled a sleeping honey badger who hissed angrily at us before moving away.

Giraffe could be seen browsing the thorn trees. Gemsbok and springbok were grazing the Tau Pan, new shoots of grass at Tau Pan and San Pan.

We came across a penduline tit nest with chicks in it, this fascinating structure is made of woolly plant material and woven by the birds into a soft weatherproof mat resembling felt. According to our legendary San tracker, Scuppa, these nests were used by the Kalahari bushmen to use as swaddling or nappies for babies.

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

Nxai Pan, Dec 2019

zebra mother and child in flight

After the first rains of the season the herbivores started to drop their young and we were lucky enough to witness a wildebeest giving birth. The calf was able to stand in ten minutes and was running around after thirty minutes.

As the month progressed, the numbers of zebra started to build into their hundreds as herds arrived as part of their annual migration to the pans. We saw two stallions have a very intense fight for more than half an hour

Bachelor and breeding herds of elephants continued to visit the camp waterhole in large numbers.

The resident pride of lions was seen fairly regularly and they seemed to be specialising on springbok and zebra. Two of the lions were mating over the course of several days and were often surrounded by game species such as giraffe, zebra and wildebeest who seemed to recognise that the cats had other things on their mind than hunting.

A pack of nine wild dogs, four adults and five puppies, were seen resting one day.

The resident male cheetah was observed actively marking his territory by spraying urine on posts such as termite mounds.

Springboks with their lambs were scattered around the pan. Other general game included gemsbok, red hartebeest, giraffe, common duiker, kudu and impala. Most of the antelopes were in breeding season, with lots of new-born babies.

We enjoyed watching a family of four bat-eared foxes playing together at their den and foraging for harvester termites. They included a young cub and a sub-adult as well as the parents. We also found a black-backed jackal den with two puppies.

At Baines Baobabs several elephant bachelor herds congregated together, numbering about sixty animals in total. They were mud wallowing and play-fighting.

We watched three lanner falcons try their luck at catching knob-billed ducks, forcing one duck to dive underwater to escape. After the rains, storks such as Abdims, yellow-billed and open-billed started to appear and we also saw the beautiful grey crowned cranes and lesser flamingos. Other water birds that arrived as the pans filled included red-billed teal, knob-billed ducks, marsh sandpipers, painted snipes and little grebes. Steppe buzzards, yellow-billed kites and pale chanting goshawks were seen together in a mixed flock hawking termites. We were lucky enough to see red-crested korhaans in a courtship display. A dead ostrich was found along East Road, but strangely none of the scavengers seemed interested in it at all.

(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, Dec 2019

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The resident Wapoka pride was located on 29 out of 31 days in December. This large pride comprises five females, eleven sub-adult cubs and two males. We were able to follow them as they hunted and took down a buffalo bull. They were also taking full advantage of the herbivore breeding season by feeding on impala lambs and zebra foals. Once we saw that the two male lions had been left to babysit whilst the lionesses went hunting. In a bold move three male lions came across from Lagoon as far as the Lebala airstrip. Meanwhile the resident males were enjoying the carcass of an elephant calf along with the female with three very small cubs. By observing circling vultures, we were able to locate two sub-adult males and a sub-adult female feasting on a large giraffe.

Guides were excited to see the resident pack of wild dogs as they had been absent for a little while. This is a small pack of just two adults and two sub-adults. The youngsters were very playful, running around and even splashing through water.

A female cheetah with four cubs was located. In a fascinating encounter, we were able to watch as she gave the cubs a lesson in hunting. She had caught an impala lamb but deliberately didn’t finish it off herself so that the cubs could learn and practise the killing skills they would need later in life.  We also came across the coalition of two cheetah brothers a couple of times on kills.

In a rare sighting for Lebala, we were lucky enough to come across a brown hyena. Spotted hyenas were located more frequently and once we had a lovely sighting of them bathing and playing in a pool.

A tom leopard was located highly mobile; we followed him for a while before he headed deep into the mopane woodland.

Most of the general game animals were in full breeding mode with babies at foot. Species included kudu, impala, warthog, steenbok, eland and wildebeest. We enjoyed lovely sightings of red lechwe leaping as they crossed channels, however on one dramatic occasion a lechwe was attached by a crocodile. They fought for about thirty minutes before the antelope finally managed to get away.

Elephants were in the area, coming down to the pools to drink; once we saw them chasing off a pride of lions. It was wonderful to see breeding herds crossing the channels with their calves. Guests enjoyed seeing hippos playing and opening their mouths wide “yawning” in a territorial display to show off their tusks. An unusually big herd of sixty giraffe were seen alongside herds of zebra. Sitatunga were seen on the flood plain next to a big flock of pelicans.

We had an active aardwolf den and were able to see the mother with her three cubs playing and feeding on termites. Bat-eared foxes also had cubs. On night drive we encountered a relaxed serval, aardwolf, African wild cat, honey badger and African civet

Some guests were particularly fascinated with dung beetles rolling their balls and burying them in the sand.

Notable bird sightings included ground hornbills, woolly-necked storks, carmine bee-eaters, brown snake-eagles, tawny eagles, martial eagles, black herons, yellow-billed kites, saddle-billed storks, woodland kingfishers, broad-billed rollers, carmine bee-eaters, pink-backed pelicans and Verreaux’s (Giant) eagle owl. We saw a pair of ostrich with their fifteen 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!)

Lagoon, Dec 2019

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The resident pack of five wild dogs moved approximately two kilometres from their initial den; a normal behaviour which helps to reduce parasites and attack from other predators. The mother dog, the pack’s beta female, stayed guard at the den whilst the rest of the pack went hunting. When they returned, we were able to see them regurgitating food for her. During the first week of the month we managed to get our first glimpse of a single puppy and saw it often outside the den afterwards. By the middle of the month the pup was able to start eating regurgitated meat. The dogs were hunting very successfully, mainly on impala lambs, sometimes taking two at once. They also killed a kudu by the Lagoon camp staff village. During full moon they tried hunting at night, but this did not appear to be a successful strategy as they returned empty-bellied and the alpha male sustained an injury to his right front leg. Luckily it was not too serious and he was able to keep up with the pack.

After being soaked by the morning rain, hard work paid off for our guide and tracker as they came across cheetah tracks that hadn’t been touched by the rain, indicating that they were very fresh. They followed the tracks and noticed that the prints changed to show that the cats were running alongside antelope. In the distance we saw a tawny eagle landing next to a hooded vulture; a tell-tale sign of some action. Sure enough, when we went to investigate, the two cheetah brothers were busy feeding on a fresh kudu carcass.  A few days later, we found that the brothers had separated with one calling for two days to find his coalition partner before they were reunited. The cheetahs were then absent for a week, so the guides hatched a plan to focus on seeking them out one morning. After hours of looking, they gave up and decided to stop for coffee, only to find the two cheetahs nonchalantly waiting at the pre-arranged coffee stop, as though they were playing games with us all along. At the end of the month we saw that they had killed two impala lambs at once and were busy feeding.

Lions were seen almost daily. Some were in honeymoon mood and once we had a rather unique sighting of mating lions, just 300 metres away from mating elephants. The three male lions known as the “Northern Boys” enjoyed feasting on a hippo.  Baboon alarm calls also led us to find them with two females resting on a termite mound. A few days later we saw these females hunting warthog, but they were not successful. We followed the two lionesses as they hunted and watched as they eventually killed a tsessebe calf. We saw a different pride of two females and three cubs on a fresh zebra kill.

Since the start of the rains, we enjoyed relaxed sightings of bat-eared foxes foraging in the late afternoons near to their den. The aardwolf den was very active. Black-backed jackals also had puppies at their den site.

Female leopards were seen a few times, one with a freshly killed wildebeest calf carcass which she had hoisted up a tree.

During night drives we spotted porcupine, African civet, serval, aardwolf and springhare. We were lucky enough to get good photos of an African wild cat hunting at night.

Spotted hyenas were seen patrolling the area and a clan of twenty were feasting on a giraffe carcass.

General game was very good and included herds of eland, sable and roan antelope. There were many buffaloes in the mixed woodland and marsh areas. Elephants were also seen in big herds in the open areas close to the woodlands.

The inland pans had filled with water and were breeding hotspots for waders such as wood sandpipers, three-banded plovers, ruffs and little stints. Other species of waterfowl included red-billed teal, yellow-billed ducks, saddle-billed storks, little grebes, knob-billed ducks and giant kingfishers. Guests were thrilled to see wattled cranes, slaty egrets and ground hornbills. Birds feasting on emerging termite alates included yellow-billed kites, tawny eagles, marabou storks and even fish eagles. A couple of times we saw martial eagles feeing on impala lambs.

(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!)

Splash / Kwara, Dec 2019

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One day our two resident wild dog packs bumped into each other very close to Splash camp, totalling 42 wild dogs in total! We decided to follow the bigger Kwara pack as they finished off an impala, meanwhile Splash pack went on to chase a female leopard and her cub up into a sausage tree.

The Kwara pack comprised twelve adults and thirteen sub-adults who continued to hunt successfully, often near to Kwara camp itself where they were specialising on impala. One time we saw them trying to hunt ostrich chicks but they were out of luck that day. Within this pack there are five dogs who were looking very old, but they were still keeping up with the family. One time they hunted and killed three impala lambs and, as they were feeding, they were charged by four lionesses so they had to give up their meal. They then moved towards camp.

The Splash pack of eight adult and nine young wild dogs took town a pregnant kudu close to the airstrip. Many vultures came to finish off the carcass. These dogs are prolific hunters. As an example, one afternoon they first took down two impala lambs at once and after a short rest they continued on to try their luck on a herd of zebra. The zebra resisted strongly and after a fight with them the dogs continued onwards and finally killed a tsessebe bull.

Resident male lions known as Puffy and Big Man were seen frequently, including on a kudu carcass that their lionesses had killed.  Two male lions from the Zulu boys moved into their territory and were seen feeding on a young tsessebe. A few days later they fought with the resident males who were running from them. There was also a new coalition of four young males entering the area, so it seemed that the stage is set for some exciting territorial battles in the near future as the three coalitions compete for this game-rich area. The Splash pride of two lionesses and six cubs were still on the Kwara camp side of the reserve and seemed most interested in zebra. Sometimes they were accompanied by a male lion.

The resident male cheetah known as Mr Special was doing well, feeding on warthog and common reedbuck. One day he managed to hunt and kill a zebra foal which kept him busy for a couple of days. We saw another intruder male who was far from his usual home range during a period when Special seemed to have moved eastwards. When Special returned he was very actively going back around his marking posts to re-establish his territory. As usual, he continued to amaze us by climbing right up into trees, acting more like a leopard than a cheetah!

We managed to find a spotted hyena den which had five cubs of varying ages. We also saw hyenas bathing in muddy pools to cool off from the heat. Once a spotted hyena was feeding on an impala, chasing away jackals and vultures who were trying to scavenge.

A leopard was located up a tree feeding on an impala lamb and we also found a leopard cub on its own whilst its mother was away hunting.

More than once a female aardwolf with four cubs was seen during night drive. The mother was very relaxed, although the cubs were still a little shy. Both back-backed and striped jackal were seen nearly every drive with plenty of puppies accompanying their parents as they foraged. We came across a serval successfully hunting frogs.

Guides reported that more elephants were being seen than usual and buffalo were also massing in their hundreds, both species taking advantage of the very good grazing in the area. As the weather went through a dry spell, elephant herds at the Splash waterhole increased to about 100 strong.

Breeding season for the herbivores was well underway with zebra, wildebeest, warthog, impala and tsessebe all producing young.

Reptiles seen included snakes such as African pythons and black mambas.

A good number of migratory birds were seen in the area including steppe buzzards, steppe eagles, woolly-necked storks, broad-billed rollers, black kites and lots of yellow-billed kites. Wattled cranes were observed in a courtship display, jumping four metres in the air with wings spread out.

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

 

Tau Pan, Nov 2019

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In what was arguably Kwando’s most unusual sighting for 2019, a bull elephant was struck by lightning right in front of the game drive vehicle as guests were photographing him. Given that there are very few elephants in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve it was a most bizarre event to witness. Luckily our guests not too disturbed and were able to appreciate that the elephant’s instant death would give life to others. Over the course of the next week the carcass was eaten up by lions and vultures. Unusually, the five males of the Tau Pan pride allowed a sixth adult male to join them as they fed on the elephant.

The Tau Pan pride were regularly seen at the camp waterhole, sometimes as a group of ten which included three sub-adults, other times in smaller numbers. One day we saw a lioness trying to stalk some springbok, but they picked up her scent and scattered in different directions.

A different pair of lionesses, mother and her sub-adult daughter, who prefer the western side of the area were seen a few times hanging out at the airstrip near to the windsock. We also saw them feasting on an oryx as we drove out to Passarge Valley.

Yet another pride of lions who were new to the area were seen drinking at the camp waterhole. This group comprised two black-maned males, two females and a sub-adult male estimated to be just under three years old. We followed them to the edge of the pan and that afternoon they managed to successfully bring down and kill a kudu.

During day trips we found two lionesses resting at the Sunday Pan waterhole. A female cheetah with three cubs was located in Deception Valley and a different female cheetah at Letia Hau. On different trips we found the Deception Valley pride of eight lions and also saw a male cheetah chasing some springbok. A coalition of three male cheetahs was seen in Passarge Valley a couple of times, although they were still shy.

A male leopard was seen near to the airstrip resting on a branch and scanning the area for potential prey.

Bat-eared foxes with five cubs were observed playing at Tau Pan. We were able to spend quality time with an African wild cat who was trying his luck on ground squirrels.

After the first rains of the season large numbers of springbok and wildebeest started to arrive in Tau Pan. The camelthorn trees at the waterhole started to produce new leaves providing shade for other general game species such as giraffe, oryx and kudu as they came to drink. We still had a resident elephant hanging out near to camp and he could be seen calmly browsing.

White-backed vultures and tawny eagles waited near the lion kills looking for their chance to scavenge. Summer migrants that arrived during November included the red-backed shrike and lesser grey shrike.

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

Nxai Pan, Nov 2019

Desert Storms

November brought the first proper rains of the season to Nxai Pan. Afterwards, springbok could be seen jumping around as though excited by the change in weather. Plant species such as the trumpet thorn came into bloom and the magnificent trees at Baines Baobabs were resplendent with new foliage.

With the natural waterholes filling with rainfall, the game was less concentrated around the two artificial waterholes which are maintained by Kwando Safaris and the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Nevertheless, these two spots were still a great place to find species such as elephant, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, springbok, steenbok and impala. Day trips to Baines Baobabs yielded good sightings of oryx feeding on the new shoots of grass and we also saw lion in that area. Right at the end of the month we saw a herd of approximately 2,000 zebras near Baines Baobabs, heralding the first wave of the herbivores’ annual migration to Nxai Pan.

The resident pride of lions was regularly located at the waterholes as they waited for prey animals to come down and drink. The pride included three cubs who all seemed to be doing well. One day a dominant male was seen fighting with a young male, leaving the older cat with a wound on his front leg. Although the younger lion was also limping, we saw him the next day with a lioness so it appeared that he had won that particular battle for supremacy. At the end of the month we saw one of the resident males mating a lioness. Another time we enjoyed the comical sight of a lioness playing with a leopard tortoise.

A pack of nine wild dogs was located a couple of times near to the Department of Wildlife camping ground. They were full-bellied and resting.

Bat-eared foxes were seen at their den on Middle Road. On one occasion a black-backed jackal showed a bit too much interest in the fox cubs and so the parent foxes attacked the jackal.

A male cheetah was located a few times and was in good condition.

Lots of spider-hunting wasps were feeding on harvester termites. The fungus growth termites started leaving termite mounds in large numbers, taking to the wing as alates after the first heavy rains. Notable reptile sightings for the month included black mamba and leopard tortoises.

Summer migrants returning back to Nxai Pan included European bee-eaters, swallow-tailed bee-eaters, blue-cheeked bee-eaters, woolly-necked storks, steppe buzzards, black-winged pratincoles and Jacobin cuckoos. Nest-building for species such as the white-browed sparrow weavers was well underway and we saw a pair of secretary birds sitting atop their nest. Other species seen during November included greater kestrel, kori bustard, crimson-breasted shrike and ostrich. Three species of vultures (white-headed, white-backed and lappet-faced) were seen feeding on an elephant carcass. Big flocks of Burchell’s sandgrouse could be seen at the camp waterhole, soaking their specially adapted breast feathers so that they could take water back to their chicks. As the rains continued to arrive, birds more commonly associated with water started to be observed, such as the red-billed teal.

(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, Nov 2019

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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!)

Lagoon, Nov 2019

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During November, Lagoon guests were able to experience a remarkable combination of predator breeding behaviour as we were fortunate enough to have active dens for brown hyena, aardwolf, bat-eared fox and (very out of season) wild dogs. In addition, lions and leopards were also seen mating.

The brown hyena den had fresh tracks and a few times an adult was visible outside the den. The aardwolf den was very active, especially in the early hours of the morning and we were able to enjoy the cubs interacting with their parents. A new bat-eared fox den was discovered and one day we found the adults harassing a honey badger that was trying to enter their den. As the month progressed, we saw that they had six fox cubs. Other smaller mammals encountered during night drives included African civet, African wild cat, porcupines and spotted hyenas. One time we were lucky enough to come across a relaxed porcupine during the day.

Unusually for the time of year, the resident wild dog pack of two females and three males were found denning. We were able to watch them catching impala, but in another less successful hunting mission they had to turn tail and run back towards their den as they were chased by a herd of wildebeest.

As we stopped to take a picture of a broad-billed roller, we heard the mating call of leopards behind the nearby bushes. We quietly moved closer and found our resident female looking very relaxed but her suitor was shyer and he quickly moved off. After staying with the female for a while we heard the male calling and so decided to leave the female in peace as she went to re-join him in the thick mopane woodland. We came across the pair again a few days later when the female was seen chasing off a sub-adult who was trying to join her. Later in the month we enjoyed an exciting encounter with a tom leopard who was in hunting mode. Although he was not lucky on that occasion, our guests were able to get some stunning photos as he stood up on termite mounds surveying the area for prey. The following day we were able to watch him as he stalked impala.

We picked up tracks of a male lion who appeared to have paced repeatedly up and down the road. As we got down to investigate, we saw him disappearing into some bushes and moving closer we found a male with a young lioness, with two other males watching nearby. This was the three Northern males and it seemed that they were extending their territory southwards. The lionesses that they with were two who had broken away from the large Wapoka Pride that is usually found closer to Lebala camp. These lions were also seen feeding on a buffalo carcass and stalking wildebeest and warthog.

The Northern Pride lioness with four subadults was located a few times, including near to camp. We saw them trying to hunt buffalo, but without success.

We followed tracks from the resident two cheetah brothers all the way from the airstrip to Second Lagoon where we found them having a drink. We saw them trying their luck on kudu and red lechwe without success, but were lucky enough to see them bring down and kill a common reedbuck. We also saw a bigger, older, coalition of two male cheetahs feeding at various times on eland and tsessebe.

General game species included zebra, eland, giraffe, wildebeest, tsessebe, kudu, impala, warthog, red lechwe, sable and roan antelope. Breeding herds of elephant could be seen mud-bathing and crossing the channels. We were lucky enough to come across a pair of leopard tortoises mating.

Trapped fish in drying pools attracted many different species including pink-backed pelicans, slaty egrets and different kinds of stork. Spoonbills were also located in the same area. Long-crested eagles were seen, this being prime time to find them in the Kwando Reserve. Other notable bird sightings included Verreaux’s (Giant) eagle owls, woodland kingfishers, saddle-billed storks and carmine bee-eaters.

(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!)