Splash / Kwara, Nov 2019

jvarley.Cat2 Cheetah

The resident male cheetah known as Special was seen hunting and killing a common reedbuck. A female cheetah with a three-month-old cub was located hunting on the eastern side of camp. Another cheetah mother with a sub-adult son was also spotted. One remarkable day all five cheetahs met up; the two females started to chase each other, leaving Mr Special as a somewhat unwilling babysitter to the two youngsters. The female with the younger cub eventually came and collected her offspring, leaving the other female to mate with Special whilst her cub continued to call for her.

In another great sighting we found a sub-adult female leopard trying her luck with impala but at the end of her approach the impala saw her and took off. However, the antelope ended up running straight into a female cheetah who succeeded in bringing one down. The leopard then came in trying to steal the kill, but the cheetah bravely fought for the right to her hard-won meal.

In a territorial challenge, three intruder male lions were seen roaring and following the resident males who were running away from them. Two separate pairs of lions were seen mating. A new pride to the area comprising two males and two females managed to kill a buffalo near to the mokoro station. The Splash Pride of two lionesses and six sub-adults were still in the area and doing well. They attracted the attention of two males from the Zulu Boys, well-known visitors to the Kwara Reserve. The Splash Pride were also seen hunting buffalo and zebra.

We managed to locate three separate aardwolf dens in the area and at the most established the cubs could be seen playing near the entrance, whilst the mother stood nearby.

The Marsh Pack of twenty-five wild dogs were located hunting more than once, variously killing impala, common reedbuck and tsessebe calves, sometimes right at camp. Once we saw them feeding on a fully-grown kudu bull which was the biggest prey we have yet seen them take down. This pack is made up of thirteen adults and twelve puppies of about 6 months old; the youngsters have grown well and join the adults on all their hunts.

The Kwara pack of twenty-six wild dogs were located early one morning running around camp hunting and eventually killed two impala at the same time.

Two tom leopards were seen in a territorial fight to the north of Kwara camp. Eventually one backed away leaving the other to go and rest on top of a tree. A very relaxed female leopard was hunting monkeys and eventually managed to catch a baby vervet to the consternation of the troop. A different female continued to specialise in hunting jackal.

Spotted hyenas were seen feeding on a dead elephant, chasing away vultures and jackals who were also trying to scavenge. We also saw a clan of ten hyena waiting for lions to finish up with a buffalo carcass.

Following the first rains general game in the area was very good with buffalo herds up to two hundred grazing the green areas that had previously been flooded. Tsessebe started dropping their calves. Big herds of zebra could be seen grazing, grooming each other and sun-bathing. Near to the boat station, a serious territorial fight between two common reedbuck lasted more than twenty minutes. Victory was eventually claimed by the sub-adult bull. Other game species included giraffe, wildebeest and impala. There were plenty of elephants in the area including a breeding herd of about forty drinking and mud-bathing at the Splash camp waterhole.

A pride of four ostrich were seen feeding on fresh jasmine leaves emerging along the firebreak

A serval was seen catching a bullfrog on the road before killing making off with it. We saw African wildcat during night drive.

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

Tau Pan, Oct 2019

RBrightmanDesertPipersPan2

In a fantastic sighting we found that the ten lions of the Tau Pan pride had treed a leopard who was looking down very nervously at the formidable lions below. We also enjoyed seeing this impressive pride regularly at the camp waterhole. A pair of lions from the resident pride were mating at the waterhole, however the antelope were so desperate for water in the searing October heat that they still crept down to drink, despite the courting couple. The following day there seemed to be much competition between the five males of the Tau Pan coalition for the attentions of the single female in oestrus. The males created quite a commotion with roaring and chasing which meant that the antelope didn’t dare to come close enough to drink. At other times we saw various members of the pride feasting on oryx and kudu. A female from another pride came to check out the Tau Pan males, but she was attacked by the resident lionesses and she slunk back to rejoin the other female that she hangs with.

A different pride of lions was discovered at Passarge Junction looking very full after they had killed and eaten an oryx. They were surrounded by over thirty vultures who were waiting for the lions to finish their meal. On another day trip to Deception Valley we stopped at Sunday Pan and came across lions who were finishing up a kudu that they had killed the previous day. However, we saw that they had also killed a lioness from a competing pride and to our surprise they were also eating her remains.

A lone elephant continued to hang between the camp and the waterhole, enjoying a mud wallow in the afternoons.

A female leopard was located at the camp waterhole drinking. We also saw a well-fed tom patrolling his territory which he was marking by spraying bushes with urine.

Two different cheetah were located on the same day in different places on a day trip to Deception Valley.

Bat-eared foxes were denning at Tau Pan.

Good general game could be seen concentrated around the waterhole at Sunday Pan. At the camp waterhole big herds could be seen coming in for a drink including a group of fifty kudu with some impressively-sized males. At Tau Pan the game ventured outside of the actual pan to take advantage of fresh shoots in the surrounding bushes. Species included oryx, giraffe, kudu, springbok and wildebeest.

Bird life was great with sightings of tawny eagles, black-chested snake-eagles, pale chanting goshawks and yellow-billed kites. We saw a big flock of vultures come to the waterhole to drink and wash themselves after they had finished eating a 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!)

Nxai Pan, Oct 2019

TAbt.Cat9.Elephants at Waterhole.NxaiPan

The high temperatures in Botswana persisted through October, bringing huge herds of animals to the waterhole. The elephants continued to dominate the precious resource, so antelope species and even lions were driven away from the water.

We were lucky enough to witness a cheetah stalking and killing a steenbok in the middle of the pan, but close to the road.

A pride of four lions, a big male and three lionesses, were seen feeding on an elephant carcass for several days. The following week two of them were found mating and we saw them on a regular basis as they continued their honeymoon. A different lioness was seen drinking alone at the camp waterhole and also hunting springbok. We saw the four lions regularly; they were often hanging around the wildlife waterhole being warily watched by herds of antelope as they came to drink. One of the lionesses was heavily pregnant and seemed to be distancing herself from the rest of the pride as her delivery time came close. We enjoyed seeing the whole resident pride of seven, including their three sub-adult cubs, as they rested very full-bellied close to the Wildlife Waterhole after they had devoured a greater kudu. Another time a kudu got stuck in the camp waterhole and when the exhausted animal it eventually got out it was taken by a lioness.

Four bat-eared foxes were located regularly along Middle Road, and towards the end of the month they showed us their four new cubs. We also found African wild cat and plenty of black-backed jackals.

A leopard was seen drinking from the water tanks in camp one evening.

Three buffalo bulls continued to regularly visit the camp waterhole.

Spotted hyenas were seen a few times, including drinking at the camp waterhole.

A big black mamba was seen during game drive. In a mini-drama guests were fascinated watching a spider-killing wasp catching and eating a grasshopper.

General game included zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and springbok. Oryx were located along the road to Baines Baobabs. The baobabs themselves have now got their leaves making these giant trees even more impressive than ever.

Bird sightings included secretary birds and kori bustards. Both lappet-faced and white-backed vultures were seen finishing off an elephant carcass. A pair of ostrich were seen mating close to Middle Road and a different pair already had twelve chicks, estimated to be a couple of weeks old. Guests enjoyed ticking off crimson-breasted shrikes, blacksmith lapwings, gabar goshawks, pale chanting goshawks, northern black korhaans and marico flycatchers.

(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!)

Lagoon, Oct 2019

PedroAmaral.EssenceOfKwando.WildDogsLebala2

The pack of five wild dogs were seen hunting along the flood plains. In a scenario that is unusual at the best of times, let alone in October, the beta female appears to be heavily pregnant. This is the same pack that lost their puppies earlier in the year to lions. It will be interesting to see how they get on since wild dogs are not usually successful raising puppies when the weather is so hot. One day we were watching them as a herd of elephant came and started chasing the dogs around.

Smaller mammals encountered included bat-eared foxes, porcupines, servals, civets, African wild cat, springhare, servals and honey badgers. There were plenty of both black-backed and side-striped jackals. Troops of baboons and vervet monkeys were foraging along the edges of the flood plains. We saw a male baboon and his consorting female eating a scrub hare that they had killed. A pair of aardwolf were found in a den close to the main road. Bat-eared foxes were also denning and after sitting quietly for fifteen minutes we were lucky enough to see a tiny cub pop out to join its mother.

A pride of two females with four cubs known as “Mma D” were discovered looking extremely round-bellied after they had devoured an eland. A few days later we watched them hunt and kill a buffalo calf. A different pride of three females and three cubs formed a hunting party with the two resident males and we watched as they killed a buffalo as it was coming down to drink. By the following week they had three buffalo carcasses stashed in the blue bushes by Second Lagoon and we were lucky enough to witness a brown hyena coming to investigate them. The resident males were seen often and we found them feeding on a red lechwe that they apparently had killed in the morning.

The resident two cheetah brothers were seen marking their territory with two spotted hyenas resting close by. The next day we watched as they tried to target a buffalo calf, but they did not succeed. Another younger pair of male cheetahs had been seen in the area but sadly we found that one of them had been killed by lions. We found the other brother a few days later looking very hungry, but seemed as though he was missing his partner as he was not interested in hunting. A larger, older coalition of two cheetah males were also still in the area and we found them on a newly killed female tsessebe that was heavily pregnant. We also located them feeding on an eland calf.

A female leopard was located on a sausage tree but we were able to follow her as she went off hunting until she killed a steenbok and dragged it into the bushes.

As the dry weather continued big herds of elephants and buffalo were massing near to the water sources.

General game hot spots included some previously burned flood plains at Muddy Waters as well as the lagoons and river. Many species were grazing together in mixed herds including zebra, wildebeest, kudu, tsessebe, impala, giraffe, waterbuck, red lechwe, reedbuck, steenbok, roan and sable antelope. Very large herds of eland made a striking sight.

As the drought continued the hippo population started to take strain and many died of natural causes. Although this was tough to see, it is part of the natural cycle and provided food for crocodiles, vultures, storks and other scavengers.

An African python was seen confidently crossing the road and heading towards the tree line.

Bird sightings included many stork species: open-billed, saddle-billed, yellow-billed and marabou. As well as the more usual heron species we also located goliath herons and the black-crowned night heron. The breeding colony of carmine bee-eaters was still going strong with hundreds of birds making an amazing spectacle and there was a different nesting site for white-fronted bee-eaters. In a spectacularly colourful argument, a broad-billed roller was seen fighting a lilac-breasted roller for a nesting site. Four species of vulture (hooded, lappet-faced, white-headed and white-backed) were seen scavenging carcasses. Yellow-billed kites migrated back to the area. A Verreaux’s (Giant) eagle owl was seen perched at dusk, ready to begin hunting.

(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, Oct 2019

FDSchoeniger.Cat4fightingforfood - Splash

Lions were seen every single day on Kwara Reserve during October. The One Eye Pride were located near to Splash camp. A male known as “Big Man” was mating a lioness whilst the others were resting. This courtship went on for several days. Splash Pride of two lionesses and six cubs were often around Splash camp. They managed to kill an elephant calf during nightfall and we saw them feasting on the carcass the following day. We also saw them eating greater kudu, with spotted hyena waiting nearby for the chance to steal. Another time they managed to bring down a warthog, but the male lion took the meal for himself.

A new pride comprising two lionesses and their seven cubs were seen feeding on zebra and kudu. The cubs were still very young and just getting used to the vehicles.

Two male lions who have been in different parts of the Kwara Reserve over the past year ended up bumping into each other and a big fight ensued with plenty of roaring. Big Man emerged the victor and Mr Limping was pushed away.

A leopard cub was found located up on a tree by himself, waiting for his mother to return from hunting. The resident female leopard known as Splash girl was seen regularly. A tom leopard was feeding on an impala high up on a tree, but gave us a good view. Guests were thrilled to be able to see another tom resting on a tree branch as they were on their mokoro trip!

The resident pack of eight wild dogs with their eleven puppies were doing well and we were able to follow them as they made a successful hunt of a reedbuck near to the boat station. We also saw them kill several impalas, although one time their meal was taken from them by a pride of lions. There was a period of a few days where these dogs disappeared and the guides tried in vain to find them. Then one morning we were delighted to find them not only back in the area but actually waiting for us at the breakfast area at Splash camp! Another time they made a kill of an impala within Kwara camp.

A second larger pack of fourteen adults and twelve puppies were hunting extremely productively in the marsh area. One morning they managed to managed to kill an impala and a red lechwe and the next afternoon they brought down another impala and a reedbuck. All four carcasses were eaten in the water. Another time we saw them chasing impala, but the antelope managed to make her escape by swimming across the channel.

In yet more wild dog excitement, a third pack of twenty-six arrived from Khwai, arrived into our area and we followed them as they chased a reedbuck into the channel. It was a bad day for the dogs, but a good day for a crocodile who opportunistically seized his moment and took the reedbuck down.

The well-known male cheetah, “Special”, was located feeding on an impala which he had killed that afternoon. Another time we were following him as he missed a few chances, but then a warthog piglet ran straight towards him and he was able to grab his meal. A female cheetah with her male cub had not been seen for some time so we were happy to discover them one afternoon. We followed them as they hunted and killed a reedbuck. There was another female who we saw nursing her two cubs. After they finished feeding the cubs climbed on top of their mother making for some cute photo opportunities.

Spotted hyenas were seen feeding on the bones of a buffalo carcass.

As the dry weather continued and the temperatures started to sky-rocket, a good number of elephants were showing up at the river for drinking, fighting, swimming and mud wallowing. Buffalo were also in the area. Two sable bulls were seen at Splash camp waterhole. Other general game included roan antelope, kudu, reedbuck, red lechwe, impala, zebra and giraffe.

We were lucky enough to find an active aardwolf den and in a special sighting were able to watch the mother nursing her three new cubs. On night drives we encountered African wild cat, genet and serval.

Notable bird sightings included ground hornbills and on a boat trip we were lucky enough to find a Pel’s fishing owl. It is always pleasing to see summer migrants return to the area and in October these included yellow-billed kites and southern carmine bee-eaters. Yellow-billed storks were seen near to the water and guests enjoyed photographing an African fish eagle devouring a fish. At the Xobega Lagoon and Gadikwe Heronry the storks, herons and ibis were busy nesting.

(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, Sep 2019

ARamesh.Cat2Caracal

We were lucky enough to have wonderful sightings of a caracal at the camp waterhole in the mornings and late afternoon. We had started seeing this animal near to camp the previous month and was relaxed enough that guests were even able to photograph him as he rested near to the rooms.

A huge tom leopard was seen drinking at the waterhole and regularly moved through camp during the night, guides observing fresh tracks as they went to the rooms to wake the guests up. This animal is so large that he is the same size as a sub-adult lion.

The lone elephant bull who has been hanging out near to camp for the past year was still in residence. With the general area so dry he has limited options to move elsewhere as the next permanent water source is now very far away. General game at the waterhole included wildebeest, kudu and springbok. There was also a lone impala, unusual for the region, and we saw that it had joined up with the kudu herd for safety. Kudu bulls engaged in a territorial battle; as expected the much bigger challenger won the fight.

Two male lions from the Tau Pan pride were seen attempting to hunt, but they started their chase too early and the prey animals managed to bolt to safety. The Tau Pan lions were often seen at the waterhole, sometimes making an opportunistic attack on the antelope species coming to drink. The pride has sub-adults and it was fun watching them play and greeting their parents. We also found a mating pair within the pride. Two intruder males continued to silently and stealthily use the waterhole, never calling and seemingly wanting to keep a low profile to avoid conflict with the strong coalition of five males in the Tau Pan pride. Two strange lionesses were also seen for the first time.

At Phukwi Pan two male lions were found on an oryx carcass. We returned the following day and the lions had moved on, but the remains were being scavenged on by a brown hyena and black-backed jackals.

A male cheetah was located near Sunday Pan and we also found a female with three cubs on Letiahau Road. The mother looked like she may have been in a fight as she had a cut on her leg.

There were plenty of black-backed jackals, ground squirrels and bat-eared foxes at Tau Pan. We were also lucky enough to see on occasion aardwolf and brown hyena. Guests enjoyed understanding about the symbiotic relationship between honey badgers and the pale chanting goshawks, the raptor following the honey badgers as they dug out rodents, looking for an easy meal.

Other great raptor sightings included tawny eagles hunting doves at the waterhole, sometimes jackals were hoping to steal their kill. A large flock of vultures was seen at Sunday Pan finishing off the remains of a lion kill.

Although the area was still dry, colour was coming back to the area as some of the tree species such as blackthorn and riverthorn were coming into bloom. The worm-bark albezia produced fluffy cream coloured flowers and the Kalahari apple-leaf produced pinky/purple blossoms.

Some guests who had enjoyed a night on the Tau Pan sleep-out deck described the stargazing as “breathtaking”.

(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, Sep 2019

Kwando 2014- 2015

As the dry weather continued huge herds of elephants possessively congregated around the waterholes, barely letting the other animals in for a drink. Guests were able to enjoy watching the interactions between the breeding herds and bulls from the main area and their rooms. Elephants were also browsing the foliage right inside camp.

Spotted hyenas were regular visitors to the camp waterhole and could also be heard uttering their haunting contact calls in the mornings around 6.30am.

Lions were seen a few times including a pride of two lionesses and three cubs who visited the camp waterhole. We saw them try their luck on some passing kudu, but they were not successful. Later that day the lionesses were stalking zebra but once again the predators did not manage to get their meal. One of the resident lionesses was heavily pregnant and had moved away from the rest of the pride. A new male was located and he was looking very nervous; our guides surmised that he may have had a clash with the resident male. A male and female lion were spotted in camp as we escorted guests back to their rooms.

A cheetah was seen heading to the eastern part of camp as we enjoyed our breakfast; it seemed hungry and on the look-out for a meal. We also saw him the next day, only about 200 metres away from the pregnant lioness, but neither predator seemed aware of the other.

Bat-eared foxes were located a few times foraging very close to Middle Road.

A group of four male buffalo could be seen at the waterholes. Other general game included kudu, giraffe, springbok, steenbok, impala, zebra, wildebeest and warthog. Oryx were seen during the drive to Baines Baobabs.

Bird sightings included ostrich, pale chanting goshawks, brown snake eagles, secretary birds and northern black korhaans. :Lappet-faced and white-backed vultures were seen most days.

There was a big bush fire at Nxai Pan in September which started at Baines Baobabs and heading to the pan region and this encouraged animals to migrate to the northern side of the park.

(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!)

Lagoon, Sep 2019

KJONES_CAT2_WildDogs

At the start of the month the resident pack of five wild dogs were doing very well and we usually found them looking full. One day the pack was located feeding on a roan antelope near to the boat station. Another morning the dogs passed right through camp so we followed them as they moved on marking their territory and eventually, they killed an impala. At the start of the month this pack comprised two males and three females, however after a few weeks a male and female went missing, leaving just a pack of three. It is not certain whether the other two dogs dispersed naturally to find another pack, or whether some harm came to them. However, given the depleted numbers of this resident pack (which had originally started as seven), we were excited to find a new pack in the area which the guides named Rra Mosetha after the extremely pale alpha male. We saw this new pack make a kudu kill. Right at the end of the month we saw the pack of five fiercely attack the smaller group of three who eventually retreated.

A leopard was spotted resting close to a fallen baobab at the beginning of the month, but afterwards we didn’t have a leopard sighting for a few days. Then one morning one of our guides was doing early morning wake up calls and heard the call and growl of a leopard. The guides went to investigate and found a half-eaten impala carcass in camp. They followed the tracks through some Kalahari apple-leaf trees and were lucky enough to follow the beautiful cat for a while until she rested up on a sausage tree. Another morning we were entertained as she launched into a small tree to catch a squirrel at the end of a very thin branch. We also saw her catch and kill a steenbok. Towards month-end we were luckily enough to find two leopards mating at night.

As we were driving along the riverine area enjoying the beautiful early morning light, we came across a herd of antelope enjoying the green flush along the edge of the floodplains. We heard lions roaring and headed in their direction where we found two males and four females trying to cross a channel, but hesitating because of the presence of crocodiles. After an hour they started making contact calls and we heard cubs responding across the channel. Eventually the lionesses crossed over and the males followed thereafter.

The Mma Moselha pride comprising two females and three cubs were found eating a warthog at Kwena Lagoon. Another day, guests were enjoying their sundowner drinks when a herd of buffalo came down to drink. All of a sudden, the buffalo started to run and as we watched we saw a cloud of dust and heard a calf screaming. The gins and tonics were hastily packed away and on taking a closer look we saw that two lionesses were suffocating a calf. We watched for some time until the lions started feeding and dragged the carcass off into some bushes.

The huge Holy Pride comprised some 19 lions and were targeting big game such as elephant, buffalo, eland, kudu, wildebeest and zebra. They were hunting successfully and were seen on many different carcasses. The warthog specialists known as Mma Dikolobe Pride continued to deliver superb sightings. When we followed them hunting these skilled lionesses were almost guaranteed to make a kill.

One morning a lioness with three cubs confidently walked along the river in front of camp whilst guests were enjoying their early morning coffee in the main area.

The resident coalition of two cheetah brothers were found resting on a termite mound and we were amazed when they bravely, or perhaps rashly, decided to try their luck on a passing herd of approximately two thousand buffalo. Not surprisingly they were unsuccessful. We also saw two new bigger male cheetahs in the area again; they were first seen the previous month.  These new arrivals seem older than our usual males as they are much bigger and stronger physically.

General game was abundant all over the area. We encountered big herds of buffalo and elephants as well as roan and sable antelope. A pair of impala rams fighting was named as a highlight for some of our guests.

More than ten crocodiles were seen feeding on a hippo carcass near First Lagoon. There is one huge crocodile which has been nicknamed Hanad by the guides. Although it has a short tail the animal is estimated to be over five metres long and guides therefore think it could have attained the maximum life expectancy of 70 to 100 years.

We saw honey badgers during night drive. An unusually relaxed porcupine was seen feeding on rhizomes during the day. A serval was hunting rodents along the flood plains during the day, but he switched to fishing at night. Spotted hyenas were seen feeding on an elephant carcass.

The breeding colony of carmine bee-eaters at Kwena Lagoon continued to increase in size, creating an amazing spectacle for birders.

(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!)