Another amazing month with Kwando – please read below for more details.
NXAI PAN CAMP
The seemingly never ending rainy season has some positives apart from muddy roads! The zebra have remained in their hundreds along with large herds of gemsbok, wildebeest. The ready supply of drinking water and abundant grazing means they are under no pressure to return to the Makgadikgadi. The many hundreds of zebra and various antelope species mean rich pickings for the many predators which inhabit the open pans.
A pride of a male, two females and two cubs has been sighted regularly along with a group of four lionesses on a zebra kill. Cheetah have also been sighted on kills including a female with a young cub which was spotted regularly.
The spectacle of the waterhole in front of camp becomes ever more impressive with up to 30 elephant bulls drinking and covering themselves in cooling mud. They are surrounded by herds of gemsbok, zebra and wildebeest all vying for a space to drink. The view from each room’s deck is simply awesome!
TAU PAN CAMP
Elsewhere on the popular day drive activities the other pans and fossil river beds have been providing excellent sightings as large herds are attracted to the sweet grasses. As well as the wide variety off general game, including a herd of over 30 eland, there have been impressive predator sightings. At Phokoje Pan guests have seen a female cheetah accompanied by a young cub and sub adult female on a springbok kill. A pride of seven lion are seen often at Phuku Pan, while San Pan has provided sightings of a small family group of six lion including 3 young cubs, as well as two adult female cheetah with a cub. 11 different lion have been seen within Deception Valley and two male cheetah were spotted feeding on a gemsbok kill in the Passarge Valley.
The most unusual of sightings for the month and especially for the Kalahari was the arrival of a troop of baboon on Tau Pan! The troop spent two days foraging on the pan and then moved away. The presence of such animals so far from their recognised habitat is most likely due to the high rainfall this year. The abundance of surface water has allowed these water dependant animals to roam far into the central Kalahari.
An additional and unusual sighting made this month was the regular sighting of large herds of Livingstone’s eland. This is the largest member of the antelope family and is extremely shy, generally residing in dense forests. Sightings are therefore very unusual and often fleeting.
The above average number of zebra, giraffe and wildebeest in the region has led to an increase in the number of predators hunting a wide variety of game species. A mating pair of lion were found on giraffe kills on two separate occasions while several other male lions have been sighted this month stalking wildebeest. Several leopards were also followed on drives both during day and night drives as they stalked warthog and impala. The three cheetah brothers, not to be out done, were observed hunting wildebeest, while the three separate packs of wild dog were sighted hunting regularly and kills were made on lechwe and two kudu.
Further sightings of an eland herd, of approximately 20 animals, has also been spotted on more than one occasion. These sightings bode well for the eland population which is notoriously difficult to estimate due to their shy nature and the remoteness of their habitat
Significant sightings included a lion pride chasing a male leopard up a tree and an incredible confrontation between two pack of wild dog, in which the heavily pregnant alpha female was targeted and almost killed. She was last seen with serious wounds and the guides are unsure whether she survived or not.
If all this is taking place over green season, we can only imagine what the dry season hold in store!