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Safaris News - Info and updates from Wilderness Safaris
North Island Dive Report from
Linyanti Explorations updates
Kwando Safaris game
Update on the 2006 Okavango
Monthly update from Mombo Camp in
Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in
Page 2 Updates
update from Jao Camp in
Monthly update from Kwetsani Camp in
Monthly update from Duba Plains Camp in
Monthly update from Vumbura Plains Camp in
Monthly update from Little Vumbura Camp in
Monthly update from DumaTau Camp in
Monthly update from Doro Nawas Camp in
Monthly update from Pafuri Camp in
Camp update - August 06 Jump
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.
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.
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.
Shane Dietrichsen and the Jao Team
update - August 06 Jump
"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
Duba Plains Camp
update - August 06 Jump
to Duba Plains
26 Aug to 06 Sep
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'
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.
Plains update - August 06 Jump
to Vumbura Camp
August started off with
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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!
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
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
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".
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 I can say is come and visit us and you
will see that I can prove that life here is just great.
South Africa camps
Pafuri Camp (northern Kruger) Newsletter - August
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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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