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AFRICAN SAFARI NEWS

August 2006
Page 2 of 2

Page 1 Updates
Wilderness Safaris News - Info and updates from Wilderness Safaris

• North Island Dive Report from the Seychelles.
Linyanti Explorations updates from Botswana.

Kwando Safaris game reports.

• Update on the 2006 Okavango Delta flood

• Monthly update from Mombo Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in Botswana.

Page 2 Updates
• Monthly update from Jao Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Kwetsani Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Duba Plains Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Vumbura Plains Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Little Vumbura Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from DumaTau Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Doro Nawas Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Pafuri Camp in South Africa.


Jao Camp update - August 06                Jump to Jao Camp
As spring approaches and with every sunset the days are becoming longer and the nights shorter. The wind has been moderate this month, blowing on only a few days. Temperatures have risen to 15°C in the mornings, with many a day running above 30°C.

This is the time of year that water levels generally start receding, but this year the ebbing of the floodwater is happening very quickly before our eyes. With our "in-house" measuring level, we estimate a drop of 23cm since its peak. With the receding waters comes the most amazing sight as the water lilies gather together and form "fields" of colour. The elephants have taken advantage of this as well, having mud baths throughout the day. The Ruffs (migratory birds from Europe) have also been seen in the floodplains, joined by Spur-winged Geese and Wattled Cranes. Leaves are falling from the trees and all the palm dates have been eaten by the elephants, new life is on the way with spring on the horizon and the flowering shrubs starting to bloom. After a build up of clouds we had one amazing night this month with a lightning storm which produced some awesome viewing, followed with a light shower of rain: Very odd for this time of year.With the warm days, the snakes are slithering out. We have had some great sightings of black mambas as well as southern African pythons. A large male leopard has also moved into the area of the camp. The resident female and cub have not been seen with him, but the female killed an impala on the road to the kitchen recently and then dragged it to Tent no. 4, hiding it in the undergrowth there before it was stolen by an unknown predator. Her cub has been seen around camp and, excitingly, even on the walkways.The lions are still in the area making many a kill around the airstrip. 'Broken Nose' killed a zebra, but what followed nobody expected. Hyaenas moved in on the kill chasing the lioness up a tree. The two male lions (who we have seen almost every day this month) that form part of Broken Nose's pride have been in battle. A guest and guide report from an evening drive, suggested that from the blood and cuts on their face the two brothers had been fighting. No news of the surviving cub, but good news of the two cubs from the other mom. They are all well and growing by the day. Meat is not a diet requirement yet, but they still make a good attempt to play with mom's food.

Our warthog still lives on the camp island, even with our three resident leopards! He has made his home in the library with guests having to chase him out to get to the books! The "band" of banded mongoose is now at about 100, and has made its home in the old, abandoned termite hill at the main area entrance; many a guest has been amused by them.

Leopards at Jao Camp

We found the first of the giraffe here at Jao this month, as the reduced water levels allow them to cross from island to island in our concession.  Below are two seen on the airstrip.

Giraffes at Jao Camp

Birds this month are on the increase. As the warmer weather approaches and as our summer draws nearer all the incoming migrant birds start arriving. As mentioned, the Ruffs have made an appearance as well as the Stonechats. We would like to give you all a little feedback from Children in the Wilderness Project; we were represented by our guide/manager, Victor Horatius. This year was a great success, and many thanks to all guests that contributed to this marvellous and worthwhile cause. Children who have been disrupted and interrupted by life-threatening conditions such as poverty, illness and AIDS/HIV epidemic in Botswana aged 8 - 17. Ngamiland Adventure Safaris and all the other sponsors would like to thank you as well. Should you want to help or further your support, you can gather information from: www.childreninthewilderness.comThanks again for your visit, and we all look forward to your return soon. With the sun setting in the distance may you enjoy each memory from Jao.

Regards
Shane Dietrichsen and the Jao Team

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Kwetsani update - August 06                Jump to Kwetsani Camp
"Shake, Rattle and Roll"

"Tornadoes! No we don't get those in these parts. I know it felt as though the roof almost blew off but tomorrow will be fine." The month of August has really lived up to its reputation for being the windiest month of the year. Luckily the wind came all in one go which was very strong and windy but only for one or two days and then the great weather returned. Mostly the month has been quite temperate, with an average of 13° Celsius over night and about 25°C in the day. However the summer is well on its way with some of the days already reaching the lower 30s.The floodwaters have definitely gone way past the peak. In fact it is quite incredible how fast the water is dropping on the floodplains and there is no longer any water in front of the camp. On the horizon you can still see the red lechwe running through the shallow water as the males chase each other. The roads are now changing into sand ones and the "green submarines" are now "sandy rovers". The month started off looking quite barren, except around the water's edges, with most of the trees having lost their leaves. Nature has started to prepare itself for the coming rainy season and many trees have started to flower and the sausage tree has new leaf shoots and very sticky flowers, which all animals like and enjoy eating.The loss of water has left the wading birds in large flocks on the floodplains. There are a tremendous amount of Open-billed Storks, Spur-winged Goose, Black-winged Stilts, and other types of waders. They are all frantically racing up and down collecting the morsels which have now been exposed. In the camp we have seen a number of owl species like Scops Owl, Pearl-spotted Owl and even the pair of Giant Eagle Owls occasionally. Some of the highlights were African Skimmers, Goliath Heron and six juvenile Flamingos.The red lechwe are still found in large herds and they are keeping the grass short in front of the lodge as only they know how. With the waters a bit lower some of the animals are moving around and can be seen almost anywhere out on the drives. There have been good sightings of Burchell's zebra, blue wildebeest and even a few southern giraffe which was a little unusual, as they were seen crossing the still fairly deep waters to find the good browsing on the smaller islands. The vervet monkeys and baboons have been keeping everyone entertained around the camp and even the elephants got in on the action, by pushing over a huge tree which broke one of our water pipes, leaving the camp with no water one morning. The elephants have for most of the month been shaking the Palm trees to see if the fruit is ripe, unfortunately without too much luck. Things have however changed as the fruit is now ripened and the camp is kept in a concert all night as they fight, jostle and trumpet to see who can get all the spoils. Joining in the nightly concert, which has increased greatly, the fruit bats have taken the lead due to the abundance of the fruit from the Jackalberry tree. This has also lured many nocturnal visitors like an African civet and a porcupine which are often seen feeding on all the fruit that the birds and baboons have dropped on the ground during the day's festivities.Even from the decks of your rooms and the main lodge we have been able to watch the 'king of the jungle' go about their business. There have been many great encounters with the two lionesses and the rather large cubs who have survived the hardships thrown at them by nature and the Okavango Delta. From playing with their father, with mom in close quarters, to suckling on a very calm and loving mother and being able to feed at leisure on a red lechwe kill that mom had provided. The cubs are able to travel greater distances with their mother, even if they have to cross through the water. Reluctantly but very trusting of their mother they just follow and then scurry off, when mom has spotted some dinner in the distance. One of the male lions has been away for quite a while as there is a female in the area that is in oestrus and they have been mating very frequently.We have only had a few sightings of the resident female leopard and her cub. They still stay with each other and can be often seen in the same tree climbing all over each other. There is another leopard and cub in the east of the concession but they seem much shyer than the resident family.The camp has really been busy but it has been a fantastic month, with a great mix of being on the move and been able just to take in the scenery and the tranquillity of the Okavango Delta.

We look forward to the changing of the season as spring is approaching.
The Kwetsani Team

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Duba Plains Camp update - August 06               Jump to Duba Plains Camp

26 Aug to 06 Sep
Buffalo herd at Duba Plains, BotswanaThe Skimmer Pride at Duba PlainsIn the past week, lion sightings in Duba Plains have been very interesting with some very unexpected and rather amazing sightings constantly taking place in the area.

The Tsaro Pride females have been seen in numbers of seven or eight out of the total pride complement of nine and as a result of their strengthened numbers (they have been split for the past while) have been hunting buffalo with some success. Two of the females have also been seen with their new litters of three cubs each. These cubs are still being kept separate from the pride and secreted in the thick palm islands and so have not been following the pride around but have just been seen playing in the safety of their mothers' company.

One of the Duba Boys has been seen with a big gash on the nose, and our guides suspect there might have been a fight between them and the Skimmer pride sub-adult males.

During this past week, the Skimmer Pride continued to be seen spending most of their time in the Tsaro Pride territory. The Skimmer Pride has recently driven the buffalo herd onto Paradise Island, which is the core of their territory. The buffalo spent almost 4 days in this area undoubtedly leaving the Tsaro Pride wondering if they would ever come back! As the buffalo returned after this time lapse, the Tsaro Pride aggressively attacked them the next day and killed 2 buffalo in one hunt.


The Skimmer Pride duly followed the herd back across the territorial boundary and continued invading the Tsaro Pride territory. In the past week they killed two buffalo in the area at different times. The Tsaro Pride and the Duba Boys are still aware of the presence of the Skimmer Pride in their area, and have still not successfully shown any effort to resist or repel this invasion.

The Skimmer Pride at Duba Plains   The Skimmer Pride at Duba Plains


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Vumbura Plains update - August 06               Jump to Vumbura Camp
August started off with a BANG!

The dominant male lions of the area (Kubu boys) and Big Red's old pride killed a buffalo and a zebra within 48 hours. We were lucky enough to witness these kills and see amazing buffalo and lion interaction.

Lions at Vumbura Plains, Botswana

Throughout the rest of the month both the Kubu pride and Big Red's pride have shown great success in hunting. Their prey species have been buffalo, giraffe and zebra.

Leopards graced us with their presence on numerous occasions. All three of our resident leopards were seen this month (Big Boy, Shaka and Selonyama). Big Boy delivered great sightings through out the month with kills of baboon, impala and warthog. A new male leopard was seen this month, but he was very skittish and sightings were brief, before he dissolved into the bush. We always welcome new arrivals and look forward to seeing him again.

Our old cheetah (Madala) made a few appearances this month. One day we found him lounging next to the Vumbura Plains Curio Shop which delighted both guest and staff alike. We followed him one morning for 6 hours and watched as he repeatedly stalked chased and MISSED red lechwe on the Plains - a great performance from the lechwe with their impressive aqua aerobics. On two other occasions we found this male cheetah with warthog and impala kills, filling his belly with Africa's finest venison!

Cheetah at Vumbura Plains, Botswana

As per usual the hyaena of the Vumbura area were on top form, visiting the lodge every night and haunting our sleep with their eerie calls. These fascinating creatures are always popular with guests and their comical giggle is addictive.

Elephant sightings have been phenomenal. On a daily basis they came into camp feeding on the fruit of the Jackalberry tree, giving us great close encounters from the safety of the lodge.

Elephants at Vumbura Plains, Botswana

The highlight of the month has to be the wild dogs. It was a family of an alpha female and male with their three pups, which was found close to the Lodge. The last sighting of these dogs was in March, so we were very delighted to see them back with their new offspring. The guides were bursting at the seams with excitement.

Wild Dogs at Vumbura Plains, Botswana

The Vumbura supporting act goes to the porcupines, which are frequently seen between the rooms at night. We even witnessed a delicate mating session which prompted some hilarious comments. A large genet has decided to settle above the Vumbura Plains bar, watching over us while we have our cocktails.

All in all, August has been a phenomenal month with great sightings and we are confident that this amazing African stage will produce great performances in the future.

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Little Vumbura update - Auguat 06               Jump to Vumbura Camp
1st week of July 2006
Wow!! August was everything but normal. Windy - not! Dry - not quite! Boring - definitely not!! Let's start with the weather. The windy month was surprisingly still and relatively hotter than usual; we are already expecting a hot summer. The temperature averaged between 11ºC and 28°C, with the min-max range of 7ºC - 32ºC, quite perfect! As for being dry, we received a few drops of rain in the middle of the month. The following night, there was thunder and lightning everywhere very unusual for this time of the year.

There were so many highlights for the month that it is hard to find a starting point. I would first like to say Thank you, and "Tsamaya Sentle" (Go well) to Erica Combrink. Erica worked at Little Vumbura permanently for 8 months after she left the relief circuit. We appreciate all the hard work she did for the camp, guests and staff and wish her every success in her future endeavors. Eva, from Duba, has now re-joined us. Rohan, Dudley and Eva managed the camp in August while Molly took a well earned break. Our guides for the month were simply outstanding!!! Congratulations to Madala Kay who was re-issued with his walking certification, while Matt and Emang both received their licenses to walk. Emang gladly gave up the first week of his holiday to guide the "Children in the Wilderness" at Kaporota, our training camp.

The thrill for me was seeing guests again that were last here 2 years ago. Some of them were here 4 years ago, but that was before my time. There is something so special about seeing people again after a few years and carrying on from where you left off. The island was busy throughout the month, running at 85% occupancy. And then there were the wildlife sightings. How do you choose?! Lion, leopard and Cheetah all within one kilometer of each other. Baby Porcupine. Wild Dogs - yes - the 2 dogs we last saw 6 months ago, reappeared - WITH 3 PUPS! I will leave the Wildlife report to Matt who was "out there" for the month. Lastly, I would like to thank all my staff for making my 30th Birthday in the bush so memorable!!! Ke a leboga!
Rohan

Wildlife Highlights August 2006
The month started off a bit slower than normal with the departure of the large herds of buffalo from the central areas of the concession and as the buffalo moved, into the east and west of the concession, so the Lions followed. This made way for some incredible Cheetah and Leopard sightings as well as some wonderful Elephant viewing as the large breeding herds moved through the concession. Birding has also been unbelievable with some real Okavango specials been ticked, these include African Skimmer, Wattled Crane and Rosy-throated Longclaw.

The Kubu Pride of Lion returned one morning following a small herd of buffalo from the east and we were lucky enough to witness them bring down and kill a yearling calf. This was far from the end of the excitement for the morning, because as we watched a number of spotted hyaena began gathering near the kill! We eventually counted nine hyaena as they rushed in and chased the Lions off the remains of the buffalo carcass!! The lions ran off a short ways and then managed to regroup and regain control of the carcass!! This was accompanied to the loud growls and manic "laughter" of the hyaena!

Lions at Little Vumbura

This was not the last exciting sighting that the Kubu Pride would give us. Early on a morning drive, Kay found a large herd of buffalo, numbering around 300 bedded down in a large floodplain to the west of Little Vumbura Camp. On closer inspection, as is often the case the buffalo were being followed by the Kubu Pride who were patiently watching the herd from a large termite mound. The herd eventually started to move and this is when the lions leapt into action chasing the buffalo for over a kilometer but were unsuccessful in their attempt at bringing one down. We stuck with them and were sitting amongst the buffalo as the lions started their second stalk for the morning. All of sudden the buffalo started running and what we thought was a buffalo hunt turned out to be the lions chasing a family of warthog right through the middle of the buffalo herd!

The oldest lioness managed to bring down a Warthog piglet, which disappeared in a flash as six hungry lions rushed in and tried to get a mouthfull!!! What a morning's entertainment, all of the guests and guides were ecstatic.

The Kubu Males, our dominant male lion coalition, have been seen in the company of the big red lionesses in the western part of the concession for the majority of the month. They are in prime condition, and we had a wonderful sighting of them feeding on a buffalo calf that they had killed. They moved from the kill at sunset and were making their way to a nearby pan when they came upon the dominant male cheetah. He had also recently killed and fed. They half-heartedly chased him for awhile but due to their extended bellies were not able to really follow through with the challenge.

The sighting that we have selected as our wildlife highlight for the month was of the two male lion attacking, badly mauling and finally killing a spotted hyaena. Kay and his guests had found the two males resting in the shade of some low bushes late in the morning. Kay noticed two hyaena walking down the road towards where the lions lay asleep. The lions got sight of the hyaena and crouched down into the grass and as the hyaena approached, they rushed out and caught one of the hyaenas. It is unbelievable that these two predators are locked into this battle of survival. The lion and hyaena are at the top end of the predator hierarchy and because they compete for the same resources there is bitter competition between the two species.

The male cheetah, who was chased by the Kubu males, has been seen regularly this month and we have seen him on two kills. One a red lechwe ram and the other an impala ram. It is always a great sighting when you find one of these elegant cats sitting on a large termite mound surveying the plains for a "meal".

Male cheetah at Little Vumbura

The leopard sightings this month have also been good with the majority of the sightings being of the young female we call "Selonyana". She has a territory centered around the island areas to the east of Little Vumbura camp. We had a sighting of her being chased by the male cheetah and have seen her on two kills. One of which was a sub adult impala ewe, which provided us with four days of great leopard viewing. Selonyana spent most of the days stretched out over the limbs of the large fig tree that she had stashed the carcass in. Our guests were treated to some lovely photographic moments as she moved and fed on the carcass at leisure!

Towards the end of the month it was with a lot of excitement that we responded to a sighting near Vumbura Plains camp, where a family of African wild dog had been located. The wild dog is a rare visitor to the concession and the adult pair that was spotted in March had returned to show off their new additions. Three of the cutest wild dog pups! The adult dogs had killed an adult impala and were busy feeding, whilst the pups were quietly waiting for the adults to return and fetch them on a termite mound not far from the sighting. The adults went in search of the pups after feeding and as is normal in wild dog society the pups immediately began begging from the adults, who regurgitated meat for the youngsters.

Wild Dogs at Little Vumbura

Well it's been an action packed month and as the dry season continues here we can only wish for more of the same. We have two lionesses that are pregnant and their have been reports of a new pride of lion moving in from the east, which could mean for some very interesting game sightings in the coming month. If we can have sightings like we have just had, and get to watch the days end like this then we cannot wait!

Pula!

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DumaTau update - August 06               Jump to DumaTau Camp
It has been another amazing month here at DumaTau.

It has been a very mild winter. The first few nights of August were quite cold and the minimum temperature this month was 5°C (although the camp is slightly warmer than the open plains areas) and the guests were quite grateful for the hot water bottles provided at night. Since then the temperatures at night have not been as cold, with the average minimum temperature this month in the region of 10°C. During the day the temperature increases steadily and towards the middle of the day it has often been in the region of 30°C. The days have been generally warm and the skies have been clear of clouds for the most part. There has been a fair bit of smoke from distant fires in the air, causing the horizon to be hazy and the sunsets to be brilliant.

The Knobthorns are very showy with their pale creamy yellow flowers and the Mangosteens are all-a-buzz with bees, while emitting a beautiful sweetly scented fragrance into the air in the riverine woodlands. Some of the Knobbly Combretums are just coming into flower. These plants are also known as Shaving Brush Bushes because of their pretty white flowers. The larger Kalahari Apple Leaf trees are also starting to show new buds. The Mopane trees have also not yet lost all their leaves although there is a good covering of rusty brown leaves on the ground in the woodlands. Visibility is getting much better now and because the Feverberry Crotons have all lost their leaves one can actually even see into the riverine woodlands. Most of the grass is yellow now and flattened by passing animals. There are quite a few animal paths criss-crossing the veld from waterhole to waterhole and bare patches of sand can be seen in the grasslands. In these sandy areas the Cat's Claws are still bursting with bloom and with their bright red flowers almost give the impression that the bushes are on fire.

The water in the floodplains and in the Linyanti River is still very high and in the Savuti Channel the water is still slowly pushing forward. The head of the water is now approximately 6km along the Channel from Zibadianja Lagoon. It is amazing to see these areas with water since they have been dry since the early 1980s, when the Savuti Channel stopped flowing. In the woodlands there is still water in some of the larger and deeper pans (seasonal pools).

Because of the presence of water still in the Mopane Woodlands there have not really been many big concentrations of elephants along the river so far this year, although Oaites did report seeing a herd of approximately 200 elephants in the Caprivi Floodplains one morning and on another occasion I saw a herd of over 70 elephants coming down to drink in the Savuti Channel at the first corner. The camp seems to be a favourite browsing spot for quite a few old bull elephants, who visit daily during the hotter hours and rest in the shade of the Mangosteen trees. They wander very close to the boardwalks and tents. One particular old bull, with chipped tusks and a deep scar on the forehead and trunk, has been returning to the camp at this time of the year for quite a few years now and at some stage earned the name "George". George is once again in camp and many a guest has taken his photo as he reaches up to grab hold of high branches or when he ambles right up to the main lounge area munching away at the foliage, without a care in the world.

Elephants at DumaTau Camp    Elephant at DumaTau Camp

The zebra and buffalo have returned and the general game is great. In the afternoons it is awesome to come around the corner from camp onto the floodplains towards Kubu Lagoon and see a herd of 60 zebras out in the open grassland, with possibly ten or so giraffe in the background and a few bull elephants walking towards the marsh. We regularly see impala, kudu, giraffe, warthog, hippos (which are now regularly sighted out of the deep water wandering around in the floodplains), red lechwe, chacma baboons, vervet monkeys and blue wildebeest amongst others. Gavin was extremely lucky to find three roan antelope in the mopane woodlands one morning this month.

With the grass layer being flattened and fewer leaves on the scrub we are seeing more of the smaller creatures as well. We often see dwarf, banded and slender mongooses, and on night drives various owls, African wildcats, large-spotted genets, lesser bushbabies, spotted hyaenas and are still getting great views of a very relaxed serval who is in residence along the floodplain. Towards the beginning of the month I was lucky enough to encounter a striped polecat (an African skunk) on a night drive near the area known as "The Backflow". It was quite stunning with its black-and-white striped pelt. He was running around in the open grassland and allowed us great views of it before it disappeared down a hole in the ground. This was a first for me! Ronald from Savuti Camp was also blessed with a sighting of a pangolin in the same area one morning. A few of us were lucky enough to be close enough to the area to respond and also get good views of it before it too disappeared down a hole in the ground.

Pangolin at DumaTau Camp    Hyena at DumaTau Camp

The birds have also been spectacular this month. Specials include Ground Hornbill, African Skimmer, Pygmy Goose, Slaty Egret, Martial Eagle, Secretarybird, Ostrich, Kori Bustard, amongst others. Many of the migrants have also started returning (this seems quite early) and one morning I came across a Curlew Sandpiper that had obviously just returned on migration and was still wearing partial breeding colours. Other migrants that were seen this month include a single Paradise Flycatcher in the Mangosteen Forest near Zibadianja Lagoon, Greenshanks, Ruffs and even Carmine Bee-eaters which are already investigating the riverbanks near Chobe 1 where they nest each year.

We have had a month of great lion sightings. The Selinda Female and her cubs were seen on a reasonably regular basis again this month. On the 2nd of the month two unknown males entered the area at Zibadianja Lagoon. They were seen feeding on a juvenile buffalo. One of the males has a distinctive milky left eye. While watching the lions feeding, Ronald from Savuti saw two Selinda lion cubs in the distance crossing the water from a large island. One of the males also saw the cubs and immediately took off after them with the intention of killing them. Luckily the cubs escaped into a thicket and the male lost them. He then returned to the kill. In the afternoon they dragged the kill deeper in the bushes and the next morning the two males were seen heading back towards Selinda. Last month there were three cubs and we now wonder what took the third cub (was it one of the unknown males, or perhaps a crocodile while crossing to the island or possibly even a hyena or leopard?).

For the first two weeks of the month the Selinda Female was seen, often in the company of her remaining two cubs, in the area between Zibadianja Lagoon and the camp. On the 8th she was spotted near the Savuti Channel mouth with her two cubs. We noticed that they were feeding on something and after looking carefully discovered that it was one of the Wild Dogs (Stella) from the DumaTau Pack. Obviously the dogs were hunting in the area when one bumped into the lioness who immediately killed it. On the morning of the 16th Spike was on his way to the airstrip when he came across the Selinda Female and her two cubs who were mobile in the mopane scrubland headed towards the Linyanti River. In the afternoon we found a lioness at the edge of the river, in a thicket. She was feeding on a baboon and she was all wet and muddy (this made it very difficult to identify her). While feeding on the baboon a bull elephant appeared and chased her a short distance away where she continued to feed on the baboon. Since then the Selinda Female and her cubs have been seen on a few occasions between Bluebush Open Area and the Calcrete Patch, alongside the river.

The Savuti Pride has mainly been seen in the area between Rock Pan and Savuti Camp. A memorable sighting involving numerous players occurred on the 22nd when, in the early hours of the morning the two females killed an adult zebra close to Savuti Camp. The four subadults joined the females feeding, but were driven off the carcass by a large clan of hyaenas who then fed upon the zebra until it became light before leaving the carcass. The vultures then descended and took their turn. As the vultures were descending and feeding a large male leopard (the DumaTau Male) noticed the birds dropping and went to investigate only to find the zebra carcass unattended by other predators and so fed upon it himself, before retiring into a nearby tree.

At the same time that this was happening Ban discovered a small, unknown, female leopard hunting impala along the banks of the Savuti Channel a few hundred metres away. Mr T had just left the kill and was on his way to go and look for this other leopard and was hoping that it had been successful in hunting. On his way he bumped into the Savuti Pride who had also seen the vultures dropping and had realised that the hyaenas were no longer there and were now heading straight back towards the kill site. Mr T decided to head back towards the kill hoping to get there before the lions, so as to watch them as they returned to the kill. As he approached the area he was shocked to see the male leopard, near the kill, fighting with and trying to kill the small female leopard. The lions then arrived at the scene and the male leopard took flight up into a tree. The small leopard, according to Tony, was in terror as it lay seriously injured in the grass with the big male leopard staring at it from a nearby tree on the one side (probably wondering if he could quickly dash in and snatch the female leopard without the lions knowing) and the lions who were concentrating on the kill and had not yet noticed the female leopard on the other side.

The small female then tried to stand up, but was unable to. One of the lionesses noticed the movement and quickly rushed over and overpowered the leopardess who valiantly tried to fight back but was eventually killed. The lioness then returned to the kill. The male leopard then quickly slipped down the tree and headed deeper into the woodlands away from the lions. He arrived at a nearby pan and was resting at the base of a tree when "Isis" (one of the lionesses from the Savuti Pride) suddenly appeared and chased the leopard into a tree before heading back into the woodlands. The leopard then came down and quickly headed in the opposite direction. Isis then went back to the kill and the pride fed upon the kill for the rest of the afternoon.

As the afternoon continued and it started to cool off as the sun started dropping the hyaenas started to gather again. At first there were only a few and Isis, the lioness, chased towards the hyaenas driving them off. One of the hyaenas started whooping and soon others arrived. Isis attempted to chase them again, but soon there were at least ten hyaenas and the odds were stacked against her. She and the pride then decided to abandon the carcass and took flight up into a large tree growing out of a huge termite heap. The hyaenas were snapping at them from the base of the termite heap, while the lions cowered up in the tree and hissed at the hyaenas. The hyenas then quickly headed towards the remains of the zebra carcass and the lions came down and headed off into the woodlands. There was a lot of giggling as the hyaenas climbed into the carcass and one hyaena picked up the leopard carcass and ran away with it.

We bumped into the lions again and followed them to Python Pan where they collected the two smaller cubs from the scrub where they had been hidden during the day. This explained why Isis had just suddenly appeared earlier on and chased the leopard up the tree - her cubs were hidden nearby. They then drank at the pan and headed deeper into the woodlands into the darkness.

Cheetah were seen on only three occasions this month The two Savuti Boys were seen headed up the Savuti Channel late in the afternoon of the 4th towards Dish Pan Clearing. They were being followed by a large herd of zebra, which were trying to drive the two cheetah away. The next morning they were seen resting near Savuti Camp and the next day their tracks were seen heading back towards the Selinda Concession. On the 14th Mr T came across a skittish cheetah near Rock Pan that was trying to hunt impala, but missed and then headed quickly into the thicker bush.

The wild dogs have provided some great sightings for both Savuti Camp and DumaTau this month. We have been very fortunate to have had the DumaTau Pack denning in our area, deep into the woodlands to the west of Letsumo Sign. The DumaTau Pack consists of approximately 14 adults and now six cute little puppies! Towards the latter half of the month the den site was moved to another, more suitable hole approximately 100 metres away to the west of the original den site.

Wild Dogs at DumaTau Camp

The adult dogs have not really been hunting in our area preferring to hunt in the Selinda Concession. The few occasions that we have been able to watch them hunting have been amazing. On the morning of the 2nd we came across the dogs near the water at First Corner in the Savuti Channel. They had chased a young kudu into the water where it stayed in the deeper water just out of reach of the dogs. It remained there for quite a while and we wondered where the crocodiles were? The dogs continued to run up and down along the water's edge until finally one of the dogs attempted to get at the kudu. The kudu, in a last bid for freedom and life, bounded across the deeper water and the dogs swam across the water after it. The lucky kudu managed to out-pace the dogs across the channel and escaped into the woodlands with the dogs in hot pursuit. Late in the afternoon of the 17th the dogs were again in the region of the First Corner. They had chased an impala into the water and were hesitant to go and get it. A spotted hyaena, seeing the impala in the water, then attempted to go and get the impala. The dogs quickly attacked the hyaena and while all this was happening a crocodile appeared and killed the impala and took it into the deeper waters. In the late afternoon of the 23rd the dogs were again chasing impala at First Corner. This time the impala went into the water but one of the dogs managed to grab it and pull it to the side where the pack fed upon it.

We have had quite a few leopard sightings this month, considering that last month we lost two leopards (killed by lions) and this month another was killed. The DumaTau Male was seen attacking another leopard on the 22nd. Earlier on in the month we had seen this male leopard walking across the Savuti Channel quite a few kilometres away from the site where he attacked the female.

On the morning of the 20th Ban found the Rock Pan female in the mopane woodlands near Green Pan. She had just killed a Barn Owl and was feeding on it. We then watched as she climbed up the tree in which, presumably, the owls were nesting. She did not find anything else there and then came down again and headed into the woodlands, where she rested in the shade of a tree.

The Zib Female and her remaining cub have also been seen on a few occasions this month, mainly in the region of Zibadianja Lagoon. This female is very skittish, although the cub is reasonably relaxed with vehicles. This cub has somehow managed to injure one of his front paws and is limping. One night mom and cub were seen in a Mangosteen Forest near Zib. The female climbed up a tall tree and started chasing Guineafowl around the highest branches. It was amazing to watch. The cub, in the mean time, remained on the ground waiting. The female did not manage to catch any of the birds and then came down from the trees and headed off into the floodplains where she continued hunting birds.

A skittish male and possibly the Osprey Female (also a skittish leopard) have been entering the camp on a regular basis during the nights this month. We have often seen their prints in camp in the mornings and have heard the baboons giving warning calls in the night. One morning when we came down to the main area as the sun was rising we were greeted to the sight of a dead baboon in the tree in front of the breakfast area. We moved the kill to the south of camp where the female came back and fed upon the carcass. Later on in the month Spike and Tanya were in bed when they heard a noise outside and saw a male leopard in the tree in front of their tent. He then climbed down the tree and a second leopard (a female) appeared from under the deck. They both headed off into the vegetation and darkness. What an exciting evening!

And that's all for this month, Best greetings from all of us at DumaTau.

Ciao
Brian

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Namibia camps
Doro Nawas update - August 06               Jump to Doro Nawas Camp
I do not know where to start here in the heart of Damaraland...

Every day I have been out on game drive, every trip was completely different, amazing, special, fantastic, and wow. Now I am so sorry because I am running out of the right words to explain the beauty of this magical place - the heart of Damaraland.

Just to give you an idea: Birds... many of them are really super quality - my first Doro Nawas Bokmakierie on one cold morning here right in the lodge perching on a Euphorbia! It was so beautiful to watch him and I could study the bird from close up and I tried to play different calls on my PDA to see the change of behaviour... Amaaaazing! If we had to talk about regular sightings of Secretarybird, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Booted Eagle, Black-chested Snake Eagle and sometimes Lappet-faced Vultures it will take us hours and I am likely to become speechless...
Just a bonus: We saw Martial Eagle one day on the way to a desert-adapted elephant sighting and we stopped and were watching this raptor for at least 15 minutes. We decided that the elephants could wait for while! Really awesome birding here.

Steenbok sightings are regular now, every morning we see a few of them on our drives. I see them more often than gemsbok for example, and they are truly beautiful, just like gemsbok or springbok, which we see less often. We also had exceptional kudu sightings recently. The herd was around 20 metres from our vehicle and they were so relaxed that we could take some great shots of them - one bull and three cows. It was awesome, it was great and they were beautiful.

Unusual sightings: I came across a scorpion yesterday and this morning a baby mole snake.

Lastly elephants: I cannot find the right words to explain the beauty of the king of the animal kingdom. Every trip is different, with different sightings and every time you find them somewhere else and never on the same spot, relaxing, sleeping, playing, feeding and having a dust or sand bath. When it comes to drinking at the dam this is just something you can just dream about and you will never forget. All I can say is that you must come and experience it. The more I look at them and watch them, the more they remind me of us humans, very similar behaviour and attitudes and different moods in the mornings and afternoons - exactly like us, which is sometimes very nice and sometimes more difficult but that's what it's all about...

All I can say is come and visit us and you will see that I can prove that life here is just great.

Rosta Janik

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South Africa camps
Pafuri Camp (northern Kruger) Newsletter - August 06                  Jump to Pafuri Camp
Last month we recorded with great excitement five cheetah moving onto the concession. The good news so far is that these guys and girls seemed to have made themselves right at home here in the Makuleke region of Kruger National Park. We have had altogether about eight different sightings of them in various areas of the concession this past month.

These sightings also include a lone male that was lying down in the shade of a tree for the whole day not far from Nwambi Pan; an indication that there could be more than five now on the concession. However we sincerely hope that these regular sightings continue.

Cheetahs at Pafuri Camp, South Africa

We have also had a few new additions to the eland herds. The large herd in particular (counted as about 76 individuals with three being leucistic or white) have produced several young and another completely white calf.

White Eland at Pafuri Camp, South Africa

Although it looks like a young goat in comparison to the other young ones, it seems he has no problems in getting along with them. And if you think this has all been exciting take a look at some of our other sightings for the month of August.

08/08 - Crocodile seen catching Red-billed Quelea that was drinking, seen from our main deck.
12/08 - Elephant bull sighted, Mana Pools-style, standing on its hind legs eating Ana tree foliage.
13/08 - Fish Eagle seen catching what appeared to be a Mozambique tilapia at Crooks Corner.
15/08 - 100 elephant seen crossing the Luvuvhu River.
18/08 - 5 cheetah seen hunting impala on Rhino Boma road. Then sighting took place not more than about 12 metres from the vehicle.
18/08 - 2 Fish Eagle dive-bombing crocodiles repeatedly at Crooks Corner.
20/08 - Leopard killed bushbuck opposite Tent 4.
20/08 - 30 eland and one pure white calf seen at windmill near Eco Training Camp.
21/08 - 2 Sharpe's grysbok seen on Lanner Drive.
22/08 - 2 lions in camp seen running under the boardwalk near Tent 7.
29/08 - Male leopard seen near staff boardwalk twice: once at 8.00pm and again at 9.45pm.
30/08 - Lioness seen under Tent 5. Sightings of honey badger and bushpig were also welcomed over the course of the month.

Birds and birding
We recorded 191 species this month. Some highlights included: Saddle-billed Stork pair seen on 4 occasions in front of camp; Pel's Fishing Owl still seen quite regularly from our main deck; Striped Pipit seen on Lanner drive; nesting Tawny and African Hawk Eagles; White Pelicans flying over the Limpopo River near Mangeba; nesting Collared Sunbirds near the staff village; great sightings of both Three-banded and Bronze-winged Coursers; a few more sightings of Sabota Lark and African Pipit - both uncommon birds in the area.

Climate
Ave minimum temperature over August was 10°C, while the average maximum was measured as 33°C. No rainfall was recorded.

Regards Geoff Mullen

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