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Kwando Safaris - September Update (Part II)

Sunday, 25 October 2009 07:38 by BillGiven

This is the second in a two part post about the Kwando Safaris September sightings. Please visit the previous blog post for the first part of the Kwando Safaris sightings. The previous post covered Kwando Lagoon and Kwando Kwara Camps. This follow-up post will cover the sightings for Nxai Pan Camp, Tau Pan Camp, and Kwando Lebala Camp. Enjoy!

Nxai Pan Camp

Rain at Nxai Pan Camp Enjoyed by All

Photo of a warthog running through grass
Animals Such as this Warthog Benefit From the Unusual Rains
Photo © Bill Given


The unexpected rain brought a sprinkling of green to the parched pans towards the end of this month and guests witnessed the joy at which the desert game greets such good fortune. Elephants, Hyenas and Lions were all seen playing and wallowing in the bulging Nxai Pan water hole.

Pangolin Sighting!

We also had our first sighting of the rare Pangolin since opening Nxai Camp earlier this year – it was thought by guides to have been persuaded to come out of hiding by the early rains which will activate the ants and termites the Pangolin feeds on.

Lion Pride at Nxai Pan Camp

There is a pride of Lions living on the main Nxai Pan that most people have had the fortune to see. Four cubs are with the family which spans three generations.

Nxai Pan's Cheetah Brothers

The two Cheetah brothers are also a common sighting in the area and never give up in harassing the Impala and Springbok populations. One such hunt ended in them taking a Springbok each. The first was swiftly eaten before a clan of Spotted Hyenas, using their usual uncanny ability to sniff out a free meal, chased the brothers away and devoured the second.

Tau Pan Camp

Unusual Rains Benefit All at Tau Pan Camp

Late September has brought us some surprising days of rainfall in the Kalahari. We would usually not expect the rains to start until November but some showers have provided welcome relief to the thirsty animals around Tau.

Tau Pan Camp's Leopard

Our resident Leopard has been seen and heard around the camp on several occasions along with a mating pair of Lions that frequent the Tau water hole. Additionally, we have been having consistent sightings of Brown Hyena in the early mornings lapping up the fresh water in front of camp.

Cheetah on the Hunt at Tau Pan Camp

Photo of an Cheetah Resting on a Rock
A Cheetah With a Good Vantage Point Yawns
Photo © Bill Given


On the Pan itself Cheetahs are still seen from time to time sitting atop of mounds looking for plains game such as Springbok and young Gemsbok or Red Hartebeest that can be seen in the Kalahari.

Lebala Camp

Lebala Camp Predator Sightings

Lebala has once again been witness to some world-class game viewing this September. All the big cats have been seen on numerous occasions including a now resident male Leopard which is often spotted at night with the spotlight. The Wild Dog puppies have began to hunt and enormous herds of thousands of Buffalo and Elephant are commonly seen passing to and from the floodplains to feed.

Migratory Birds visit Lebala Camp

As if that wasn’t enough the migrant birds have returned from central and northern Africa to brighten up the place with there breeding plumages. The place is buzzing with life and expectation of the incoming rains.

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Kwando Safaris - September Update (Part I)

Saturday, 24 October 2009 06:32 by BillGiven

I have just received the September sightings for the Kwando Safaris Camps. If you're familiar with the blog, I generally like to break these updates into two distinct posts due to the length of the updates. This first update will cover Kwando Kwara Camp and Kwando Lagoon Camp. My next blog post (Part II) will cover Tau Pan Camp, Nxai Pan Camp, and Kwando Lebala Camp. Enjoy the update!

Kwando Lagoon Camp

Kwando River Concentrates Game

Photo of an Elephant in Botswana
Elephants in Kwando are enjoying the unusual rains
Photo © Bill Given


Kwando Lagoon camp is teeming with Elephant and Buffalo herds, which have been attracted by the permanent waters of the Kwando River. One only has to take a drive from the airstrip to the camp to appreciate the density of game in the area at the moment.

African Wild Dog Pups on the Hunt at Kwando

For those who have been following the progress of this years African Wild Dog puppies there was an exciting spectacle towards the end of the month. The puppies were involved in their first hunt and kill thus completed their transition to full pack members. The pack will now spend the summer hunting far and wide through the Kwando region before the cycle of denning comes round again in May.

Kwando Concession Leopards and Cheetahs

Otherwise, a Leopard cub was seen drinking with its mother by Zebra pan and the three brother Cheetah are a regular sighting in the area stalking unfortunate Impala or panting under the shade of a Kalahari Apple Leaf.

Kwando Kwara Camp

Kwara Lions Going After Big Game

Photo of Lion in Botswana
The Lion Pride at Kwara is Enjoying Successful Hunts
Photo © Bill Given


The seven Kwara Lions have been sighted regularly this month all around the concession. At times they break off into threes and fours and patrol different parts of their territory. There preferred diet varies between Tsesebe, Zebra, Buffalo and Wildebeest but they are yet to tackle Elephants as some larger prides have done elsewhere in Botswana.

Plentiful Leopards and Cheetahs at Kwara

Another excellent month for Leopards and Cheetahs. A family of Cheetahs with four cubs have been spotted several times recently. The cubs are slowly learning the art of the hunt with mixed success. Two Leopards managed to kill a large male Lechwe close to Charles’ crossing and were eagerly photographed by guests over the following two days.

African Wild Dog Sightings at Kwara

A pack of five Wild Dogs are occasionally seen near the eastern side of the area and there are plenty of Elephant bulls in and around the camp to keep guests and staff entertained.

Birds in Abundance

For bird lovers –a Long Crested Eagle is often seen on the Maunichira channel bordering Moremi Game Reserve. Elsewhere, Fish Eagles, Saddle Billed Storks and the return of the migratory Carmine Bee-Eaters has added considerable colour to game drives at Kwara.

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Walk on the Wild Side Safari - Botswana Wrap-up

Friday, 23 October 2009 14:20 by BillGiven

Final update from Bill as he was sitting in an airport in South Africa. Bill is now back in the U.S. - but I wanted to share his last emails as he left Johannesburg.

photo of an african cape buffalo
On a Mapula Lodge Hunt, Cape Buffalo Were Able to Evade Hungry Lions. This Time.
Photo © Bill Given


Mapula Lodge

At Mapula Lodge, we followed a coalition of 3 lion for quite some time on an unsuccessful (for them) nighttime buffalo hunt. Lots of unusual stories, met bushmen elders and discussed my research - was invited to live in their village and was actually in the village when a friend of one of my guide's won reelection as district councilman.

A Lion Named Bill!

I was honored to know that the guides at Mapula Lodge had named one of the lions in the Mapula concession Bill! I have great pics and video of Bill and look forward to sharing all of it on my blog upon my return.

Python Relocation from Mapula Lodge Kitchen

A very interesting wildlife experience happened on the grounds of Mapula Lodge. I was able to catch and remove a Python as he was heading towards the Mapula Lodge Kitchen. Extricating the Python was tough as he was climbing a wall in a tight spot and the head was more than a foot behind me when I yanked him out. I had some nerves but took him out Croc hunter style and controlled him by tail before pinning the head to move him safely. I earned a bit of respect from the guides on this one.

Swedish Newspaper

Also interesting while at Mapula - I was photographed and interviewed by a Swedish newspaper whiled in the Mapula pool. Should be interesting to see if we can find this article online - and if we can translate it :).

Sandibe

At Sandibe I saw a dog pack with 14 pups, and many other great wildlife observations.

Savute Under Canvas

This morning on my last drive at Savuti all hell broke loose with impala running straight at us with flying leaps and then came an 8 dog pack in mad pursuit. I had camera in hand with some great action shots, really wish I could video and photo at same time! Did shoot some social behavior vid after hunt failed then followed another hunt but they lost us.

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Walk on the Wild Side Safari - Savute Under Canvas

Tuesday, 20 October 2009 07:12 by BillGiven

Savute Under Canvas is the next safari stop during Bill's Walk on the Wild Side Safari. Savute Under Canvas is located in Chobe National Park in Botswana and represents the very last destination on this current safari. For a bit more information about Savute Under Canvas, be sure to check out the description underneath the itinerary and map below.

Please see the itinerary and map below for details on Bill's current Walk on the Wild Side Safari.

Walk on the Wildside Safari Key


Savute Under Canvas Overview

Savute Under Canvas is located in Botswana's Chobe National Park. More details about Savute Under Canvas will be posted after Bill's return from the current safari in late October.

Savute Under Canvas Game Viewing

Savute Under Canvas has access to Chobe National Park. Chobe National Park is the second largest national park in Botswana. Chobe features one of the highest concentrations of game on the African Continent. The Park features roughly four distinct geographical ecosystems. Savute Under Canvas provides access to the Savuti Marsh ecosystem. Within this portion of Chobe National Park, Bill will likely see the following species (to name just a few):



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Walk on the Wild Side Safari - Sandibe Lodge

Monday, 19 October 2009 11:41 by BillGiven

Photo of an African Fish Eagle
Sandibe has Access to Moremi Game Reserve's Great Game Viewing
Photo © Bill Given


Sandibe Lodge is the next safari stop during Bill's Walk on the Wild Side Safari. Sandibe Lodge is also located in the Okavango Delta Region of Botswana not too far away from the previous stop on this safari - Mapula Lodge. I'll be providing more information about Sandibe Lodge beneath the itinerary and map presented below.

Please see the itinerary and map below for details on Bill's current Walk on the Wild Side Safari.

Walk on the Wildside Safari Key


Sandibe Lodge Overview

Sandibe Lodge is located in Botswana's Okavango Delta, adjacent to the Moremi Game Reserve. Sandibe features eight guest cottages - I believe that this is Bill's first visit to Sandibe, and he'll have Sandibe photos and details to share upon his return in late October.

Sandibe Lodge Game Viewing

Sandibe Lodge's location adjacent to Moremi Game Reserve. Moremi Game Reserve offers very similar wildlife viewing to that offered by Mapula Lodge. Bill can expect to once again have the opportunity to view the following (to name just a few notable species):



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