Tomorrow we discuss Nxai Pan Camp and Tau Pan Camp.
Enjoy this month’s updates
A young male leopard has appeared recently and we think he has chased out our resident male who was getting very old. This young male is often seen between Kwara Island and the Splash area, but is very shy with cars. Recently he has begun calling around the camp – the deep throaty cough of an adult male leopard – an indication that he feels unthreatened and has therefore ousted any potential competition. It is hoped he will become more relaxed as he frequents the area and perceives no threat from the vehicles.
The three adult cheetahs were seen often in the areas around Splash, attempting hunts regularly. They were very photogenic too, conveniently lying on top of a termite mound, basking in the sun.
The pack of eight african wild dogs was seen regularly this month, on kills, resting and playing. On the 19th of March, two african wild dogs were seen mating, so lets hope in early June they decide to den in the Kwara area where they have spent more than a year now.
The two sub-adult male lions have broken off from the Solo Pride for the time being and were seen on many occasions fighting some of the members of the “seven brothers”, who are probably their fathers and uncles. They moved around, dominating some of the kills which were made by their sisters. Three of the lionesses managed to kill a giraffe, which provided food for them and their brothers for several days. Taking a break from the exhausting business of stuffing as much meat in as possible, the lionesses took a drink at one of the nearby pans, and then played around the water.
Lots of general game in the area, including zebras, large journeys (groups) of giraffes, tsessebes and the ubiquitous impala. Elephants move through the groupings of animals, from tree island to tree island, feeding on the large variety of plant life available. This will probably be the last month of such a variety, as many of the grasses are drying up as the rains have all but stopped. A different type of lushness will arrive as the flood waters arrive from Angola – the increasing waters will be here soon.
Rarest sighting this month: a Pel’s fishing owl whilst out on the boat.
Leopards certainly seem to be doing well in this area of late, since the lions are spending more time in the south of the area. There were two sub-adults aged just under one year, found on an island about ten minutes drive from camp. They were both relaxing in their own individual trees, and provided one of the best sightings of the month. A female was also seen drinking from the lagoon in front of camp during siesta time!
One african wild dog from the Lagoon pack appears to be missing, so there are now 12 adults and 8 sub-adults, down from 21. The pack in itself is still doing well, and warthog continues to be the current prey of choice, with several meeting their end this month.
Perhaps following on from the wild dogs’ experience, (or is it a plague of warthogs?) a female leopard also caught a nice piece of pork for her dinner early in the month.
Having not seen the three cheetah brothers in several months, we were surprised to find tracks of a solitary cheetah moving close to the camp. A few days later, the cheetah was found, and it turns out to be one of the brothers who had previously separated from the coalition for a month. We wonder if this is it for him, and he won’t return to his brothers – or will his brothers follow him too?
A lovely herd of around 100 eland were found along the cutline, but these animals are always very shy, so we were not able to watch them for long before they moved off.
Elephants are also in large numbers, with the breeding herds back in the area. These herds are normally too shy to come through the camp, but cross the channel just to the west of the camp on most days. Bull elephants, however, are much more confident around human habitations, (the elephants were obviously here before we were!) and two males are found ‘hanging out’ between the kitchen and the dining room on most days. This makes for some long detours for the plates and food if they are too close to the pathway….
Night drives have been a little quiet, as the grass is so tall in most areas. It should only be a few weeks, and the long grass will fall flat, enabling great visibility.
At the beginning of the month, a very relaxed male and female lion pair were seen along boundary road mating – a good chance that we may get some cubs in around three months if the pride’s structure remains stable and is not threatened by intruding males.
A pack of thirteen wild african wild dogs were seen three days in a row, mostly resting when we found them, but on one day they did attempt to hunt but were unsuccessful. The Lagoon pack of 20 african wild dogs also paid us a visit at the end of the month, and were successful in their impala hunt.
Towards the end of the month, we had an unusual sighting: a male cheetah. Since the coalition of male cheetahs moved out of the concession past Lagoon some months ago, cheetah sightings have been very rare. This male was found after an hour of intensive tracking, moving through the Kalahari apple leaf. A hyena was also following him, keeping a slight distance, perhaps in the hope of stealing any kill the cheetah makes. A day or two later, the same cheetah was found resting close to the airstrip.
We were lucky enough to have a sighting of three sub-adult Roan antelope – all very relaxed, as well as a herd of 7 male sable antelope. Eland herds as well were often seen in the vicinity of Steve’s Pan, as it seems they favour this site for their nightly rest.
Breeding herds of elephant abound on every game drive, feeding, drinking, moving through the floodplains and sometimes having mudbaths, which looks like a lot of fun, but potentially smelly.
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