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Page 1 Updates
Info and updates from Wilderness Safaris.
North Island Dive Report from
Monthly update from Kings Pool Camp in
Monthly update from Savuti Camp in
Monthly update from DumaTau Camp in
Monthly update from Zibalianja & Selinda Camps in
Kwando Safaris game reports.
Monthly update from Mombo Camp in
update from Jack's & San Camps in Botswana.
Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in
Monthly update from Kwetsani Camp in
Monthly update from Duba Plains Camp in
Monthly update from Vumbura Plains in
Monthly update from Ongava Tented Camp in
Monthly update from Pafuri Camp in
Turtle news from Rocktail
Bay in South Africa.
Monthly Dive report from Rocktail
Bay in South Africa.
Safaris Updates - December 2006
weight AND size – A reminder!
There are strict weight and size restrictions
in place on any itinerary which includes
light aircraft transfers for the following
- The aircraft are designed with a maximum
bodyweight and luggage weight allowance.
- Most of our airfields are over 1000 meters
above sea level and are located in the tropics,
and therefore the permissible passenger carrying
capacity is reduced.
- The aircraft have physical space restrictions.
Some important issues must please be
noted for air transfers:
1) Luggage, including camera equipment
and hand luggage, is restricted per person
- 12kg/26lbs in Zimbabwe, Best of Namibia
Wing Safaris and Namibia Explorations
- 20kg/44lbs in Botswana, Namibia (excluding
above), South Africa and Zambia
2) Only soft bags will be accepted -
no hard suitcases can be transported
as they physically cannot fit into the
3) The maximum dimensions of the soft
bags which can be accommodated are as
follows: 25cm/9 inches wide x 30cm/11
inches high and 62cm/24 inches long.
Please bear in mind that the baggage
compartments on light aircraft are only
25cm/9 inches high, so the pilots must
have the ability to manipulate the bag
into the compartment.
These luggage restrictions appear minimal;
however please bear in mind the following:
• Most safari camps / lodges and
hotels provide basic toilet amenities,
• Laundry is done on a daily basis
(many camps provide this service free
of charge but hotels do charge a nominal
• Mainly casual clothing is required.
South Luangwa camps for
In mid-2007 Wilderness
Safaris will open two intimate
bush camps in the South Luangwa
National Park: Chinengwe
Bush Camp and Kalamu
We have secured a superb concession
in the wild and uncrowded southern sector
of the Park. Unlike the busier, northern
part of the South Luangwa park, where
the Luangwa River forms the eastern boundary
of the National Park separating the park
from communal land and hunting areas,
in the remote southern sector, the Luangwa
River meanders westward and both banks
are protected. It is here that we are
building the two new camps. Both sites
are on the banks of the Luangwa River
in a remote and exclusive section of
this exceptional Park. As always, a major
factor in our design philosophy is to
keep our bush camps as environmentally
friendly as possible.
Second CITW Camp at Pafuri
Children in the Wilderness
took place for the second time at Pafuri
Camp in the Kruger National Park during
the first week of December. There was
an exceptional atmosphere this year,
as the young children were members
of the Makuleke people, owners of the
Makuleke Concession where Pafuri Camp
The program began with
the entire Pafuri staff singing a welcome
to the children, who soon were singing
themselves as they went from one activity
to the next. These included games, swimming,
and racing, musical chairs, making their
own instruments out of shoeboxes and
tins – and then
giving a concert with these! The “serious” aspect
was built into the games and included discussions
on abuse, HIV/AIDS and nutrition, to name
but a few topics. The children’s
favorite activities were the game drives,
where they got to learn about the animals
and plants around them.
Travel Guide 2007 named Abu
Private Villa at Elephant Back Safaris in Botswana as
one of the top 101 Best Hotels in the World.
The glittering annual Tatler Travel Guide
Awards ceremony, held at The Ritz in London,
saw the Abu Private Villa ranked in the ‘Owner’s
Digs – Masters Quarters’ category.
children of all ages were accommodated in
the Kafue camps in Zambia (Busanga
Bush Camp, Lunga River Lodge, Shumba Camp
and Kapinga Camp); however for the 2007 season
(which starts again on 01 May), the age limit
of 8 years applies for these camps. As with
the new Luangwa camps, a private vehicle
is NOT necessary for guests with children
of 8 years and over.
Camp is currently extending
an existing twin to now accommodate a family
of four (maximum 2 adults and 2 children).
The family unit will be ready by the end
of February and the second room will be en-suite
with a bath/shower and an upstairs bedroom
with a couch. There is a small plunge pool
on the extended deck overlooking the lagoon
in front and a sandpit for the children to
play in. There is no discounted rate for
children in this family room and it is simply
to make the stay more comfortable for a family
with young children, where their parents
now can have them close by.
the Selinda Concession, Selinda
been refurbished and is looking exceptional.
The water levels in the Selinda Spillway
have been very exciting this year and bode
well for an interesting year ahead.
Zibalianja tents have a different
look as well, with a furniture rearrangement
and décor adjustment. Since the vista
from each tent is a panorama best viewed
head-on, it was decided that the beds should
face this, so now a guest's first view of
the day is just spectacular.
Ketumetse Discoverer Camp,
at the opposite end of the massive 135,000-ha
Linyanti concession, is also coming into
its own and as the floodwaters receded
at the end of winter, this camp had amazing
Camp closures and refurbs:
Cafema is being completely revamped,
but this will take place in three phases:
First closure: 14 Jan open on 29 Jan 2007
Second closure: 08 March open 15 March 2007
Third closure: 01 June open 10 June 2007
Tented Camp: Closed on 15 Feb open on 01 April
2007 - Revamping the entire Camp
Damaraland Camp: Closed on 14 Jan open 01 March
2008 - Revamping all units
Ongava Lodge: Closed on 30 Jan open 26 Feb
2008 - Revamping the Main area
/ North Island
North Island Dive Report
- December 06 Jump
The month of December has been a productive and
interesting one, both above and under water.
We have seen an increase in the amount of wind
with strong gusts at times as well as a large increase in rainfall.
This is consistent with the change of seasons, but we have
had a number of days where the wind has come from the south-west.
This is uncharacteristic and we had also expected more rainfall
for the December period compared to December 2005. This could
possibly be contributed to a cyclone around the 20th of December
which got as close as 40km from the Farquhar Islands in the
south of Mahé and
caused the shopping boat "North Point" as well as our
dive boat "North Spirit" to be stuck on Mahé for
2 days, while the winds reached speeds of 60 knots around North
Island and Mahé. Around Farquhar Islands, the winds reached
speeds of more than 90 knots! There was also a slightly less
developed cyclone off the tip of Madagascar at the end of December
which had a much smaller effect on the Seychelles, as it stayed
We are using the calmest beach to launch the boats and at the
moment Petit Anse is the favoured beach on most days. The sand
deposits on East Beach have suddenly increased with over a metre
of sand being deposited during the few days of rough weather
resulting from the cyclone to the south of us. The opposite has
happened on West Beach where a large amount of sand has been
removed. This shift of sand is normal for the seasonal changes
with the change of wind direction, but it has happened a lot
faster than usual, almost at the blink of an eye and many staff
have commented on the rapid change.
We have had a number of sightings of turtles
coming up the beach to lay their eggs, as well as a number
of sightings of hatchlings making their "dash" for
the sea. Unfortunately, we have had 1 or 2 cases of turtle
egg nests being uncovered due to the massive erosion of sand
so rapidly from West beach. These nests were relocated to higher
ground and re-buried by the Environment team, who are optimistic
that these eggs will mature.
The temperature recorder was replaced at our
Dive site "Sprat
City". This recorder will be taken out every 3 months, so
that we can monitor the water temperature around the island,
in conjunction with our coral reef monitoring research project.
We have had pretty good diving conditions this
month, aside from the few days of inclement weather. Generally
the temperature has been a very comfortable 28°C and the
visibility hovering around the 20-25 metre mark.
The juvenile lemon sharks we saw all through
the month of November right on our shores have sadly left us.
We still continue to see the white-tip reef and giant sleepy
sharks on a regular basis on many of our dive sites. Spotted
eagle rays have been very common on the dives and on a dive
to a rarely-dived site called "Outer
Banks" we saw 1 large round ribbontail ray followed by 8
sharp-nosed stingrays, 2 giant sleepy sharks and 2 white-tip
reef sharks, all in the space of 10 minutes!
Although the action underwater has calmed down
slightly, we are still seeing lots of bluefin kingfish hunting
the reefs for a snack. Schools of 4 or 5 large barracuda have
also been spotted regularly swimming mid-water on Coral Gardens.
Great excitement recently on a dive to "Coral Gardens" was
the sighting of 2 large yellowfin tuna on scuba, swimming mid-water.
We have not had the privilege of regular sightings of these
special fish on scuba and the size of these two was a sight
to be remembered.
Looking ahead into January we should see the rain easing off
towards the end of the month, with February until early May renowned
for being the best diving months.
Pool Camp update - December 06 Jump
to Kings Pool Camp
December at Kings Pool was basically
hot and wet. Two weeks prior to New Year, a storm
hit Kings Pool, bringing 128ml of rain in 90 minutes.
Since then it has been raining almost every day
until soon after the New Year celebrations.
Nonetheless, the game has been really good for
the whole month. Sightings of lion, leopard, African
wildcat and wild dog were generally common. We
had excellent wild dog sightings. The DumaTau pack
and Linyanti pack of wild dogs were frequently
seen around the Linyanti Concession as a whole,
unlike the previous months or when they were denning.
The DumaTau pack comprises 10 adults and six pups,
whilst the Linyanti pack consists of only five
adults. Therefore, it means that they have lost
two adults. The Linyanti pack denned in Chobe National
Park in 2006, which made it difficult to have frequent
sightings or observe and monitor their movements.
Lions that were seen included the Selinda female,
the Chobe Boys, one Savuti Boy, the Kings Pool
female and the LTC pride. The Selinda female with
her cubs have been hanging around Kings Pool airstrip
and Chobe, and she has primarily targeted warthogs.
However, as soon as it started raining, she moved
into the Mopane woodlands. The major reason for
this is because the warthogs and other animals
are drinking from the pans in the woodlands and
do not need to go to the river.
Before leaving for the woodlands
the female had a change from her usual warthog
diet and we had a thrilling kill just in front
of Room 1 at the water's edge where she killed
an adult male waterbuck which must have been
taken by surprise whilst drinking. Encumbered
by the prey's size lying half in the water the
female had to muscle up the strength to pull
the carcass out of the water and to a safe distance
from the crocodile who had its own ideas of taking
her kill. For the next 2 ½ hours
and visibly tiring from the experience the female
pulled the body a foot at a time out of the water
and called her cubs over to help her eat. Every
few minutes we could see the crocodile show his
head then submerge again and sneak up in the grass,
never leaving the safety of the water, but forcing
the female to defend her meal by snarling and charging
the water's edge, never taking her eye off the
crocodile. The female sensibly disembowelled the
carcass to lighten the weight, which was a moment
when the crocodile showed particular eagerness,
perhaps understanding what its rival was trying
to achieve and made frequent attempts to grab it
- it was a fractious atmosphere between the two
predators. With a final effort the female was able
to pull the carcass away to safety. Later that
night we found the lioness with her cubs under
the bushes with their prize where they remained
safely hidden from hyaena and other hopefuls in
the area for three days.
The LTC prides which is composed of two females
and two cubs have been seen moving with the lone
Kings Pool lioness. We have discovered that they
have lost one cub of the original three. They move
between Kings Pool Camp and Linyanti Camp, north-east
of Kings Pool, although they too have moved deeper
into the Mopane woodland. As a consequence of these
three lionesses joining up we anticipate the formation
of a larger, more cohesive pride.
The Kings Pool territorial male lions, the Border
Boys, have not been seen for the whole of December.
They have crossed into Namibia and we have only
heard them roaring from there. It is not surprising
they have stayed across the border given the large
population of buffalo that we see there from time
The elephant sightings have been excellent, from
early December until the 20th when it started raining
continuously. Since the rain, over the past two
weeks, no elephant sightings were recorded because
they have all dispersed into the Mopane woodland.
However, the situation will change because when
it stops raining a few herds or bulls will reappear.
One thing that you cannot beat in Linyanti during
the rainy season is the birdlife. The following
birds of concern are seen throughout the year in
Linyanti: Slaty Egret, Wattled Cranes, Ground Hornbills
and Lappet-faced Vultures. Almost, all the birds
that migrate to Southern Africa in summer have
arrived, for example, European Bee-eaters, Carmine
Bee-eaters, Cuckoos, Kingfishers, Eagles, Swallows,
Ruffs, and Sandpipers.
All in all, the Linyanti Concession is very green.
When it is cool or cloudy, it's not surprising
to see up to 50 hippo out of the river during the
day. Hippo sightings are a special treat this time
in Linyanti although they tend to be noisy at night!
Most of the animals have given birth, so there
are lots of young ones from different animals:
warthog, impala, giraffes, and even hippo - this
definitely adds another dimension to the wet season.
Guests have been enjoying the rain showers and
that special feature of Africa, the thunderstorm
as it races towards us! But always with rain clouds
once the sun is setting it is undoubtedly the most
spectacular and inspiring of sunsets only seen
this time of year!
The Kings Pool Team
Report written by Keiditsemang Gabogolelwe - KD
Kings Pool guide
Camp update - December 06 Jump
December proved to be a fantastic month for Savuti
and filling in as relief management could not have been more of
a pleasure for us. Well done to the team - you are amazing! The
month ran smoothly and seemed to shoot by in the blink of an eye.
Savuti is a very special place and one could not ask for a better
introduction to Botswana and the paradise within than a camp situated
on the famous Savuti channel.
From the beginning of the month the pan in front of the camp
was a huge attraction for a multitude of animals. Buffalo were
seen drinking from the pan frequently for the first half of the
month until on one crisp early morning two large male lions killed
a sub-adult buffalo in front of camp which provided guests with
an amazing sighting and great photographic opportunities. After
which the buffalo were not seen again near the camp... Who can
blame them? The two male lions were a frequent feature around
camp for the month, often roaring through the night until the
early hours of the morning keeping most of the camp awake and
alert. On one special night with full moon high and bright in
the sky we were serenaded by the lions all through dinner as
their large moonlit shapes stalked the open channel around the
Savuti was host to a digital photography
run by Dana Allan, for four nights. The workshop proved to
be very successful and was of great interest to guests and
staff alike. Some amazing photographs were taken as Grant Atkinson
and Kane expertly guided the group to ensure that they were
given the best photographic opportunities throughout their
stay. During their time at Savuti they were treated to sightings
of: lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, wild dog, hyaena,
aardwolf, bat-eared fox, African wildcat as well as a vast
array of herbivores including sable and roan antelope and a
multitude of bird species including the unique opportunity
which the channel provides to photograph Carmine Bee-eaters
riding the backs of Kori Bustards. [Note: This
was the Eyes on Africa Digital
One of the most exciting features during the month was an aardwolf
den situated less then 15 minutes away from the camp in the channel.
The den housed two adults and three pups which provided some
exceptional sightings for very lucky guests of such a rare species.
This typically nocturnal creature was sighted on several occasions
in the late afternoon and fading light after thundershowers.
A pangolin was also sighted during the month - but to the disappointment
of managers at camp who did not get to see it. Cheetah was sighted
several times within the channel close by the camp. Most of the
cheetah sightings were made up of two territorial males, known
as the Savuti boys, as well as a mother and three youngsters
and another large male confidently walking the land of the two
brothers. This male became known as Ramolomo (Hanglip) as his
lower lip drooped. It will be interesting to monitor the interaction
of this invader on the brothers' territory in time to come.
At the beginning of the month elephants seemed somewhat of a
rarity with the occasional visit of a breeding herd at the pan
in front of camp. As the month went on and the rain fell and
the grass in the channel grew, the breeding herds came out foraging
in the channel regularly until by the end of the month there
was seldom a moment that an elephant could not be seen from camp.
Every night we were visited by an old bull who seemed attracted
to all the human commotion and would look for excuses to come
right up close to the deck to see what was happening. As a result
we were often treated to pre-dinner drinks with a friendly giant,
much to everyone's delight.
The climate during the month was variable as is the norm in
Africa. The first part of the month was made up of days of scorching
heat which made activities at times very challenging. Soon after,
however life-giving rain started to fall and there was seldom
a morning or evening that did not involve thundershowers. With
the rain came the grass and the channel seemed to spring to life.
Many small flowers have sprouted including the White Bauhinia,
Bush Violets, Sesame Flowers, Wandering Jews and Devils Claw.
Birding at Savuti and the surrounding areas has been fantastic
this month. A comprehensive list was obtained for the month of
December with all the summer migrants having returned for the
warm weather and heavily vegetated land. Owls around the camp
have been amazing. From camp alone the following were seen: White-faced
Owl, Barred Owl, Scops Owl, Pearl-spotted Owl, and Barn Owl while
on drive, Marsh Owl, Wood Owl and Giant Eagle Owl were spotted.
The Christmas party was held for all the staff of the Linyanti
concession on the 11th of December at Kings Pool. The staff from
Savuti, DumaTau and Kings Pool were all there and ready to put
their singing, dancing and acting skills. Savuti's choir was
magnificent and some amazing talents emerged during the play,
Savuti won the best play award! Well done Savuti, you really
made us proud! The Christmas party was then moved towards the
river where the staff battled it out on the sport fields. By
the end it was an amazing day and Savuti made the channel and
the camp proud!
Thanks to everyone for making the month such a pleasure. Savuti
is a special camp and we look forward to seeing it after it reopens
That's all from the Savuti team. Cheers!
update - December 06 Jump
Happy New Year! Summer is definitely upon us
now. The rains have arrived, with over 100mm this month. The skies
have been cloudy on most days and this has led to some incredible
sunsets and moody days. The rains have cooled down the temperatures,
although we did have one blistering afternoon of 37 degrees Celsius
at the beginning of the month. The average high over the last week
was in the mid-twenties and the average low was only 3 or 4 degrees
The roads are very wet now, with puddles everywhere. The landscape
is a brilliant green. The Mopane scrublands and the riparian
woodlands have become very dense, as all the leaves have grown.
Many of the smaller flowers are showing and in the Savuti Channel
the grass has flourished, and it has been looking like a well-manicured
golf-course! As we drive up the Channel, grasshoppers and other
insects are disturbed and the Carmine Bee-eaters opportunistically
fly around the vehicle catching them. It is amazing to see these
bright crimson-pink and blue birds performing great aerobatic
displays only a few metres away.
The birdlife has been fantastic. This month
we recorded 259 species in the DumaTau area, including all
the migrants that are now back. One of the highlights was seeing
a Lesser Black-backed Gull at Zibadianja Lagoon on at least
three occasions. This particular species has only been seen
a handful of times in Botswana and this sighting caused quite
a fuss in the birding community. Since they are on occasion
seen at Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe, this bird probably followed
the Zambezi to the Chobe, finally ending up here in the Linyanti.
Other specials this month include a few Slaty Egrets in the
floodplains and a sighting of some African Skimmers at Zibadianja
Lagoon, a few Wattled Cranes, Osprey along the river, a few
pairs of Black Coucals in the long grassy areas near Croc Island,
a Western-banded Snake Eagle at the 1st Corner in the Channel,
a Booted Eagle flying above the floodplains, White Storks and
Abdim's Storks foraging, a female Pennant-winged Nightjar one
night near "the Backflow" and a Denham's
Bustard walking in the open area near Dish Pan Clearing.
Other interesting sightings include watching Black Herons fishing
in their unusual parasol mantling style near Zib Hide. As Kori
Bustards move about they also disturb the insects, which allows
the bee-eaters to catch them. These bee-eaters have learned that
they need not waste energy by following the bustards around,
but rather catch a ride on the bustard's backs and then only
chase the insects when they are disturbed. This is quite an unusual
sighting to see one bird taking advantage of another in this
With all of the rain many of the creepy crawlies have emerged.
One night as we were having dinner we had a slight plague of
flying termites (alates) that were gathering around the lights.
We moved all the lights away from the dinner table and ate the
rest of the meal in the dark. These termites are bred to start
new colonies and are thus winged and fattened up for the occasion.
They are a great source of protein for many animals in the area
The reptiles have also made an appearance again and we have
seen quite a few snakes whilst out on the game-drives. These
have included: African Rock Pythons, at least one sighting of
a Mozambique Spitting Cobra, Puff Adders, Stripe-bellied Sand
Snakes, Spotted Bush Snakes, a juvenile Mole Snake, Snouted Cobras,
Black Mamba, Stiletto Snake and a single sighting of a Cape Wolf
One night as we were walking guests to their tents after game-drive
we came across the most extraordinary scene. Right next the pathway
were two large snakes - a Snouted Cobra and Puff Adder tangled
together. It seems that the cobra was in the process of feeding
on the Puff Adder.
On the 25th Ban discovered a dead hippo in the water in front
of Zibadianja Hide, probably killed by another male in a territorial
dispute. Over the next few days crocodiles appeared and started
devouring the carcass. It was amazing to see them grab hold of
chunks of meat and flesh and roll their bodies to tear it off
the carcass, then throwing the meat up and swallowing it in a
gulp. At one point, we could see at least 58 individuals.
The water in the Savuti Channel, at the beginning of the month,
had dried up quite a bit and the end of the water was just west
of the Old Mopane Bridge. With all the rain that we've had the
regression of the water in the channel has stopped and it even
appears that the water may be rising slightly again (from all
the rains). The floodplains are marshy once again and the lagoons
are full. In the mopane woodlands the seasonal pools are now
filling up and the larger pans are already holding quite a bit
Up until halfway through the month we were still seeing small
buffalo herds near Kubu Lagoon and Zibadianja, but these now
seem to have headed deeper into the woodlands. The zebra have
also moved from the river, but we are still seeing fair numbers
of them. The elephants have dispersed into the woodlands and
we are seeing herds scattered in the mopane and in the grassy,
open plains near Dish Pan. One afternoon, a gathering of over
100 elephant came down to drink near Kubu Lagoon. Behind the
herd we noticed a female and her tiny calf come slowly towards
the water. The baby was extremely small and pink, and was very
unsteady on its feet. It tripped over a few times and each time
the mother turned and guided the baby up again. Eventually they
got to the water, where the mother wet the baby with mud and
held the infant up as it fell down again. It appeared that the
baby was only a few hours old. What a privilege to see this interaction
between a mother and her newborn.
The general game is still fairly good and we are still seeing
numerous giraffe, impala (with all their babies), kudu, red lechwe,
blue wildebeest, warthogs (often with tiny, cute piglets), chacma
baboons and vervet monkeys. Other antelope that have been seen
fairly regularly this month include steenbok, waterbuck and a
small family of southern reedbuck. Two rarer species of antelope
that have been seen are a single tsessebe and two or three sightings
of small herds of roan antelope.
At the beginning of the month the grass was still short in the
Savuti Channel and we saw a few of the smaller mammals, including
bat-eared foxes, black-backed jackals and an aardwolf family
of two adults and at least three pups. These are normally quite
elusive nocturnal animals and we always count ourselves lucky
if we see one. One afternoon we were extremely lucky to find
another elusive, strange creature - a lizard-like creature on
the embankment. At the top of the embankment, walking on its
hind legs was a pangolin, a very rare find. It is not only an
endangered species, but is also a highly nocturnal creature and
is not seen very often. We followed it and it headed to a thicket
where it proceeded to feed on some ants that were nesting under
a fallen log.
One night we were returning back to the camp when we spotted
a Selous mongoose in the floodplains, an uncommon, solitary,
nocturnal animal. We noticed that it was attacking something
and was jumping backwards with its back arched and hackles raised.
We approached and saw that it was indeed attacking a large Snouted
Cobra. Every time the mongoose came forward the Cobra would strike
at the mongoose and it would leap out of the way. We watched
this until the mongoose decided that the prey was not worth the
hassle and left the snake alone. What a sighting!
Predator sightings have also been fairly good considering the
thick bush and the availability of water throughout the concession.
Cheetahs were sighted on five days this month.
Three of these sightings were of a single male known as "No 11 - Droplip".
He is an adult male who is quite distinguishable due to his hanging
lower lip. One morning the two "Savuti Boys", the territory
holders for quite a few years now, appeared in the grasslands
of Dish Pan Clearing. They chased some impala unsuccessfully,
and then headed up to a prominent termite heap overlooking the
plains, where they rested. On the evening drive, these two cheetah
were sighted at Giraffe Bones, a distance of at least 10 kilometres
from where they were seen in the morning.
Due to the thicker bush and poorer visibility, we have not seen
as many leopard this month as we did last month. These elusive
cats were spotted on 6 days this month - not bad at all. The
DumaTau Male was spotted on the 15th, walking in the Savuti Channel
near Letsumo Sign. He was still limping, but otherwise was looking
fine. The Kubu Male was also seen at the beginning of the month
near the Zib Mangosteens. On the last evening of November we
spotted him lying in the floodplains. He led us to a carcass
of a female impala stashed up in a tree. We then found a young
baby fawn impala bleating nearby. It was probably its mother
in the tree. The leopard looked interested in the fawn but then
left it alone in the dark and he headed off into the woodland.
The next morning we went to the carcass to see what had happened
during the night, but could not find the leopard or the fawn.
The kill was still stashed in the tree and a fair portion of
it had been eaten. As we were exiting the forest after looking
for the leopard we heard screaming and barking and witnessed
him running across the floodplains to the taller grass, with
a large troop of aggressive baboons after him. This leopard was
reportedly seen by Relax, later in the month, near the Big Jackalberry.
He was quite skittish and quickly headed into the thick bush.
On the afternoon of the 19th we spotted the
young leopard known as the Zib Cub. The youngster was quite
interested in the vehicles and came closer and lay down a few
metres away from us watching us watching him. He then saw a
squirrel running nearby and gave chase, climbing small trees
and bushes and chasing the squirrel around for a while before
he gave up and rested. This young leopard's mother, the "Zib Female",
was spotted at the 1st Corner on the evening of the 28th, resting
under a Feverberry Croton. A pair of giraffes had spotted her
and were staring in her direction. The leopard then got up
and crossed the channel and headed into the woodlands where
she spray-marked trees.
Lion sightings have been pretty good considering
the time of year, seen on at least 19 days this month. Most
of these sightings were of the Savuti Males, the Savuti Pride
and the Selinda Female and her two cubs.
The two Savuti Males have mainly been walking
between the River near Kings Pool, the airstrip and Savuti
Area. On the 10th they were seen feeding on an already ripe
young elephant carcass in the Mopane woodlands near Chobe Airstrip.
On the 27th Ban had just been watching a baby zebra in the
Savuti Channel near the "Boscia
Tree" and had only driven a short way from it when he heard
a loud scream from that area. He returned to the place and found
the two male lions killing the baby zebra. The two males then
fed and rested nearby.
On the 8th Chantelle found one of the smaller sub-adults of
the Savuti Pride drinking water in a puddle in the Savuti Channel
and followed the youngster as it headed south into the woodlands,
calling softly; it led us to a few more of the members of the
Savuti Pride, all with full bellies. Nearby we found three hyaenas
that seemed to be waiting for the lions to leave and then we
found a buffalo carcass.
One morning the Selinda Female was spotted walking in the floodplains
on the eastern side of Cheetah Flats / Strangler Fig. She lay
down for a while before spotting some warthogs coming out into
the grasslands ahead. Oaites had already anticipated the hunt
and placed himself on the other side of the warthogs. The lioness
charged and caught one of the warthogs quite close to the vehicle.
Towards the middle of the month two male lions from the Border-brother
coalition crossed the river to the Kings Pool side and the lioness
took her two cubs deeper into the Mopane, where they are more
difficult to find. They have remained in this area since then.
Wild dogs were seen on two days this month, both sightings of
the DumaTau Pack. This pack consists of 10 adults and 6 youngsters.
On the 23rd they were spotted running in the woodlands near Green
Pan. The next day they were reported near Savuti Camp and then
heading towards Kings Pool area where they remained until the
30th when they came past the camp area, chasing impala. They
killed an impala in the riparian woodlands to the north of the
Staff Village. The next afternoon they were seen running across
the channel towards Shumba Pan and back towards Selinda - another
And that's all from all of us at DumaTau
We wish you all the best for the year ahead.
P.S. A few comments from the Guest Book:
Yedda - "Very memorable and beautiful experience! Thank
Barbara and Peter - "When you don't wear a watch and don't
know the date you know you are having a good time - wonderful
Klara - "A dream come true."
Greta - "Great memories here! Amazing people! Amazing place!"
Mandy and Stephen - "Absolutely spectacular! A truly special
place - postcard memories... We shall definitely return time
and again! Thank you to all the staff!"
Zibalianja & Selinda
Camps update - December 06 Jump
to Zibalianja Camp
As the season draws to a close
we start preparing for the big rebuild of Selinda's
main area. With an aim to bring our guests up to
the view and not tucked away in the back, we have
elected to build a complete new structure. The
old structure will remain with the upstairs serving
as a gallery and parlour. The downstairs area will
be remodelled into a large curio shop and a temperature
controlled wine cellar! Please remember that Selinda
Camp will be closing for the building on January
10th. We will reopen - hopefully to much fanfare
- on the 1st of March. Zibalianja remains operational
throughout and they are ready to welcome guests.
New furniture in the offing? After 11 years
it is time to replace the furniture of Zib's
tents. We are currently sourcing something slightly
different and will, with luck, have the new items
early in the New Year.
Sighting of the month! Honey-badgers are not
considered a common animal, so seeing one is
special. Seeing one giving a display of their
legendary ferocity is even rarer. After being
harassed by a yellow mongoose, a fairly large
spitting cobra become the target of some "badgering",
eventually ending up as the main course for
the feisty animal.
The Selinda wild dog pack made numerous appearances
through the month and treated us to possibly
their most spectacular conquest of 2006. After
an extended chase they brought down a huge kudu
bull. Such a large kill by wild dog has been
recorded only one other time by us in the last
11 years, and that was also a kudu bull.
Cubs are back on the viewing menu! Our female
leopard Amber has been showing off her charge
quite frequently. At 8 months old the youngster
is getting quite big and has a very inquisitive,
adventurous nature - must be mum's genes. There
are also a number of lion cubs about and at least
two lionesses who are due any day now.
After reporting on all the cute
babies that are about, we are now watching
their inevitable decimation. The sweet little "warthoglets" are
a favourite lion snack at this time of year and
it is amazing how much effort they will put in
to catch what amounts to just a couple of mouthfuls.
The gangly wildebeest calves are providing ample
sustenance to the local hyaena clan and the impala
lambs are a wild dog staple at present.
Another viewing boom that comes
about with the rains is the emergence of snakes,
particularly python, of which quite a number
have been seen recently. Forced out from burrows
and other hidey holes that become flooded after
a downpour, these magnificent creatures - sometimes
up to 5m in length - are generally happy to "pose" for
With the onset of the rains,
particularly after the first major downpour,
comes the seemingly magical, overnight arrival
of a whole host of summer migrant birds - Waders,
Kingfishers, Cuckoos, Storks, Shrikes, Bee-eaters
etc. All brighten up the bush. Many of these
gorge themselves to repletion on another magical
phenomenon - termite emergences or "flying ants".
This is the bush version of a Christmas feast
- it happens once a year and there seems to
be no end to the food.
The HQ camp once again became the catching net
for the wild dogs' hunting efforts. On two separate
occasions they caught and killed impala at the
staff kitchen. The frequency of these kills indicates
that the strategy of chasing their prey into
a confusing environment is intentional.
A lone buffalo cow fell victim to lions, with
the whole chase and kill taking place within
sight of Zibalianja's viewing deck. Over the
next two days, the waterhole in front of camp
provided much excitement as the big cats came
Camps Update - December 06
Lagoon camp Jump
• A coalition of four male lions was
seen patrolling the area between the camp
and John’s pan over the last two
weeks. They were also seen feeding on a
baby elephant carcass for a couple of days.
No females were seen during this time.
• Two leopards were seen during the last two weeks, one of them a male who was
spotted far north, on the upper Kwando and the other a well fed female, closer
• Our well known, “two brother” cheetahs were seen moving North towards
the camp. They did not stay long though as the four male lions in the area posed
a threat to them. They were last seen moving back South, towards Lebala camp.
• The Lagoon pack of dogs, consisting of the three adults and three young ones,
were seen everyday for 15 days straight hunting and resting in the area. They
seem to enjoy being close to Lagoon the camp.
• Small breeding herds of fifteen to twenty elephant are still being seen, mostly
at night drinking from the river. Some lone bulls were also still seen on the
• Breeding herds of buffalo continue to be seen almost every day. The herds are
now moving away from the river towards the Mopane forest as the water holes are
filling up with rainwater.
• Three relaxed black mambas have been seen on the game drives. The birding continues
to be excellent with all the summer residents now accounted for.
• Springhares are seen on every night drive. Hyena and jackal have also been seen
at the lion kill. The hyena kept their distance from the kill, but the black
backed jackals managed to steal titbits from the kill.
• Lots of giraffe, tsessebe, impala, wildebeest, lechwe, reedbuck and baboons are
being seen on the drives. Sable and roan antelope had also been seen, although
• Porcupine, African Wild Cat and dwarf mongoose had been seen as well as the tracks
of an aardvark.
• A single lioness was found sleeping on the road, close to John’s
pan. The coalition of four males, were not seen again after they finished their
elephant calf kill.
• The two male cheetahs was seen several times hunting during the last two weeks.
They were slowly making their way south towards Lebala.
• The Lagoon pack of dogs, consisting of the three adults and three young ones,
managed to kill an impala close to the airstrip. They then moved towards the
camp and spent a full day resting on a termite mound in front of the camp.
• Breeding herds of elephant have been coming back to the floodplains from the
Mopane forests and from Namibia. This might be because of low rainfall in the
• Small herds of buffalo continue to roam the flood plains between Lebala and Lagoon
• Birding continues to be very good, with some pelicans also being seen. Most of
the summer migrants are now nesting as well.
• Very good sightings of side striped and black backed jackal have been reported.
Hyena is found on almost every night drive. Chameleon sightings have also been
• General game sightings continue to very good, with lots of zebra, wildebeest,
and giraffe being found. Good sightings of roan antelope were also reported.
• Mongoose sightings were excellent, with slender mongoose, dwarf mongoose, banded
mongoose and yellow mongoose being found. Porcupine and honey badgers was also
sighted on some of the drives. African wildcat and serval were seen on the night
Kwara & Little Kwara camps Jump
& Little Kwara camps
• Three different
lion prides were seen in the Kwara area
during the last couple of weeks. The first
pride consisted of 3 females, 2 big males
and one young male. They were seen resting
on a termite mound. The next pride had
one big male and seven females and was
followed while they were out hunting on
the Tsum-Tsum plains. The third pride was
seen at third bridge, moving towards Splash
camp and consisted of one male, two females,
one male cub and one female cub. One of
the prides killed a hippo, close to the
airstrip. Another pride moved in on the
kill and in the resulting battle one of
the cubs was killed.
• The regularly seen female leopard and her now eight month old cub, created quite
a spectacle, when they walked on to two reedbuck and mom managed to kill one
of the reedbucks in full view of the game drives. She dragged her kill for almost
2km to her preferred feeding place and was observed feeding on the kill with
• The three cheetah brothers managed to get separated and one was heard
franticly calling his brothers. He managed to locate his two brothers and was
later seen relaxing with them on a termite mound.
• An unknown pack of 14 wild dogs have been seen over the last couple of months.
They were followed on the afternoon game drive and managed to kill two impala,
5 minutes apart. They managed to feed on both the kills uninterrupted.
• Elephant sightings have been very good on the boat cruise, with breeding herds
as well as small bachelor herds seen crossing the channel.
• A small herd of about 100 buffalo was seen feeding on the plains.
• Hyena, continue to be seen on almost every night drive. A clan of 6 hyena was
seen in one morning and followed while heading towards Mothusi’s crossing.
• General game sightings continue to be very good, with zebra, giraffe, impala,
baboon, kudu, tsessebe, reedbuck, wildebeest, waterbuck, red lechwe and sable
antelope being seen.
• Two relaxed porcupine were seen moving around on one of the night drives. Serval
and African Wild Cat as well as two shy honey badgers were also spotted on the
drives. The lions have also been very active around camp at night, so guests
had to be driven instead of walked to their tents.
• The birding, continues to be good, with the heronry being very active. Ground
hornbills, wattle cranes, slaty egrets and goliath heron also put in an appearance.
• Lion sightings continue to be brilliant, the pride consisting of the seven
females and one big male were seen and followed while trying to hunt zebra and
tsessebe. One of the females came in to oestrus and the male was seen mating
• The female leopard and her cub were seen several times during the last two weeks.
They went hungry for a while until she managed to kill a warthog, which they
fed on for two days.
• A female cheetah was found walking on the Kugana main road. The three brothers
were found with very full bellies resting on a termite mound.
• The pack of fourteen wild dogs were followed while they were hunting. They managed
to catch and kill an impala next to the game drive vehicles. A different pack
consisting of two dogs were also seen hunting, although unsuccessfully.
• Small breeding herds of elephant continue to be seen feeding on the floodplains.
The odd bull elephant is still found crossing the channels or bathing in the
• Small groups of old bull buffalo were seen, normally resting in the shade of
some trees during the last two weeks.
• Very good sightings of spotted hyena as they were following the lions around.
Black backed and side striped jackals were seen on the drives. Good sightings
of chameleon were also reported.
• Big herds of zebra, some of them up to a couple of hundred in the herd were seen
grazing on the plains. Baboons, impala, wildebeest, tsessebe, kudu, and warthog
were also seen in abundance. A magnificent Sable antelope bull rounded of the
very good general game sightings list.
• Banded and dwarf mongoose were seen on some of the drives. African wild cats,
serval, large spotted genet and a civet were seen on the night drives.
• Excellent sightings of birds of prey were reported, with brown snake eagle, martial
eagle, and crested eagle being some of them. Giant eagle owl and pearl spotted
owl were also seen. Woolly necked stork, saddle billed stork, wattled cranes,
goliath heron, and purple herons were some of the many other species of birds
that make this area a birding paradise at the moment.
Lebala camp Jump
• A pride of two
male and three female lions have been seen
on several occasions during the last two
weeks. They were seen hunting, but were unfortunately
not successful. A coalition of four males
was also seen at John’s pan.
• A rare sighting of two adult leopards together was reported. The male was very
relaxed while the female was a little nervous.
• A nervous male cheetah was seen on one of the drives. The same male was again
seen the next day, he was more relaxed and managed to successfully hunt and kill
a wildebeest calf. The two brother cheetahs also came in to the area later in
the week and they stayed for a couple of days.
• The pack of 16 wild dogs created a lot of excitement, when they appeared in the
area. They killed an impala and then lost the kill to a clan of hyena. They moved
off and managed to kill a young tsessebe. The hyeana followed them and after
a viscous fight they lost this kill as well.
• Because of the rains, fewer breeding herds of elephant have been seen. Lone bulls
and small bachelor groups still feed on the floodplains though.
Small herds of buffalo continue to be seen on the game drives.
• Jackals, civet, and serval had been seen quite often. A rare sighting of an African
Wild Cat hunting a scrub hare was also reported; however it did not manage to
kill the hare.
• General game sightings continue to be very good, with lots of zebra, impala,
wildebeest, warthogs, tsessebe, waterbuck and even some roan antelope being seen.
• Honey badgers, serval and mongoose were seen regularly on the drives.
• A couple of black mamba, cobra and python sightings have been reported. The birding
continues to be excellent with lots of birds of prey and summer migrants being
• Three different lion prides visited the area over the last two weeks.
One of the groups was four young males, they were well fed and spent most of
their time resting. The next group consisted of three lionesses were seen hunting
and killing a young wildebeest. The last pride was made up of three females and
two big males; they were seen hunting but were not successful.
• Leopard sightings were very good, with three different leopards being seen. Two
of them were male leopards and both were seen hunting but they were not successful.
The third leopard was a female and she was found resting and very relaxed.
• The same shy male cheetah that was seen previously is still hanging around in
the area. He looks well fed and is still very shy. The two brothers moved into
the area overnight from Lagoon. They were seen hunting a couple of times but
were not successful.
• Wild dog tracks were found on Mokhutsum road. They were tracked for four hours
and eventually six wild dogs were found resting at Giraffe pan.
• Small breeding herds as well as solitary bull elephants were found on the edges
of the mopane forest. They were mostly relaxed and some were seen having mud
baths in the muddy pans.
• Small bachelor herds of buffalo were found resting.
• A hyena den was discovered in the mixed woodland area not to far away from camp.
The den is very active with six young ones ranging from six weeks to six months
old being seen. The hyena have also being very active around camp.
• General game sightings continue to be very good, with lots of zebra, impala,
wildebeest, warthogs, tsessebe, waterbuck and giraffe being seen.
Four porcupines and a very elusive aardvark were seen one night during a rainstorm.
A serval was seen hunting mice and managed to catch one next to the game drive
vehicle. Lots of different types of mongoose were also seen.
• The African skimmers have arrived and can be seen at their usual spot at skimmers
pan. The birding continues to be very good with all the summer migrants being
present. Spotted bush snakes as well as cobras and black mambas were seen on
the drives and an African rock python was found guarding the entrance to the
Mombo Camp update
- December 06 Jump
to Mombo Camp
Another magical month at Mombo!
We have had some great rains this month in the form of spectacular
thundershowers. These storms have been scattered throughout the
island only filling a few of the sub-surface pans within the
interior. Many of the plains game has started to head back into
the interior of the island adding to the productivity of the
Acacia belts. The total rainfall for the month was 44mm.
The new growth on the Acacia trees is a magnet for the browsers,
providing us with good sightings of elephant, giraffe and kudu.
We are seeing many giraffe calves now; their mothers gather to
calve in the dense Acacia, which is ideal for hiding their young.
One of the daily highlights is the abundance of game to be seen
right in front of the camp; at times one can very easily seemingly
count more than a thousand animals and a variety of birds. The
lions of Mombo know this too and almost daily these cats can
be seen in front of the camp. Christmas Eve had the Mathata Pride
kill a red lechwe and one buffalo, 50 feet from the dinner table.
The good rains have brought out many interesting
creatures such as the velvet mites, bullfrogs and a few more
termite eruptions. These winged delicacies from the mounds
provide a good meal for many species and it is always good
fun watching the primates trying to catch these delicious creatures.
Birding this month included many of the endangered birds of
Botswana, which were sighted throughout the island, including
regular sightings of Wattled Cranes, Lappet-faced Vultures
and Kori Bustards.
A new female leopard has moved into the area,
frequenting Baobab Bob and the airstrip. She killed an impala
close to the airstrip and provided us with three days of spectacular
sightings. On one occasion, she dropped her kill but managed
to steal it back from the hyaenas, very brave. The last afternoon
five wild dogs arrived at the scene, with her peering down
on them from the safety of her tree.
A leopard killed our resident female cheetah's last remaining
cub - the cub was found hoisted in a tree south of Mombo. We
watched the large male cheetah kill an impala close to the camp
earlier in the month; he is in good condition marking his territory
at regular intervals as he passes though the area.
Mathata Pride still totals 26 lions including the pride males.
Some of the females are splitting away from the pride with their
cubs, driven by hunger. They have realised that it is far easier
to satisfy yourself when splitting off from the pride. The only
disadvantage is that there is no protection from the hyaenas,
which is necessary with the number of hyaenas we have at Mombo.
The Moporota Pride has lost two of their cubs this month. We
are unsure of the cause of death but the ever-increasing competition
within the pride may be the cause. Interestingly the Moporota
Pride is starting move back south again towards the Moporota
floodplains. This movement may cause conflicts between the nomadic
males that have taken up residency since their absence. These
nomadic males have been mating repetitively with two females
from the west.
The vast amount of animals and their immediate availability
- the guides are also great and all the staff and management.
The food is top and the rooms are top. There is nothing missing!
Our surprise picnics with the hippos, New Year's celebration,
Linda, Thompson, Mavis, Jane who made it feel like we were part
of the family.
Christmas Eve dinner with the singing and dancing, not to mention
the lion and buffalo kill - the entire evening was one we will
Everything was spectacular and special! We will never forget
seeing the lions mating, the swarms of termites after the rain,
the hyaena family and so many more things on the drives. We made
some great new friends and enjoyed the Sabbath service on Friday
night. The staff was exceptional.
This report was compiled by Matt Copham,
guide at Mombo.
Jack's & San
Camps update - December 06 Jump
to Jack's & San
Christmas in the Kalahari
On Christmas day the rains finally arrived. As if on
cue, the zebra have begun their migration and we have
started seeing them in ever-increasing numbers from the
national park to within a few kilometres of camp.
Drawn to the waterhole, Red-billed Queleas in their thousands
have made Jack's Camp their home. Though tiny, their sheer
numbers make them seem like a swarm of large insects and
when they take flight, the sound is not unlike an engine
starting up. The Lanner Falcons are having a field day
and can be seen swooping and diving through the swarms,
spoiled for choice.
There is also a pair of brown hyaenas that have been
frequenting the Jack's Camp waterhole, just outside the
mess tent, and although the rains have made the old den
site inaccessible, our guides tell us that there is another
one at Crescent Pan.
With the pans now holding water, many of the great wading
birds are returning and we have seen Teals and Blacksmith
Plovers starting to return in ever greater numbers. Along
with them of course are the birds of prey: Tawny Eagles,
Harriers and Falcons.
Guests have been treated to sightings of gemsbok and
wildebeest, whilst zebra are massing in their thousands,
ready to make their way back into the Makgadikgadi. Most
excitingly though, fresh elephant tracks have been seen
heading into the park!
Kgao, one of the Bushmen Guides currently at Jack's Camp,
is believed to be one of the greatest Bushmen healers
in all of Botswana, and at over 70 years of age he is
still tracking aardvark, and if the Christmas party is
anything to go by, a very accomplished dancer.
Average High Temperature: 39°
Average Low Temperature: 17°
Rainfall: 140 mm
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