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Page 1 Updates
Wilderness Safaris News -
Info and updates from Wilderness Safaris
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 Camp in Botswana.
sighting on a Migration Routes Safari in
Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in
Monthly update from Jao Camp in Botswana.
Monthly update from Jacana Camp in
Monthly update from Kwetsani Camp in
Monthly update from Duba Plains Camp in
Monthly update from Vumbura Plains 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 - November 2006
Turtle Tale from North Island
name is Unels and I work on North
Island as a nature conservation
officer. Nature is my passion
and my first introduction to
turtles was in St Anne Marine
Park a long time ago. In spite
of having worked with turtles
for 15 years, seeing a turtle
on the beach still brings great
joy in my heart. So let me tell
you one of my challenging encounters
with a female green turtle....
On the 7th of July,
I was watching the World Cup on the
big screen at the staff canteen, but
after the first half I had an intuition
that I shoud go on a night turtle patrol
on one of our most frequently visited
beach by turtles, Grand Anse or better
known as West Beach. Bonnet Caré, named after the Baringtonia
or Bonnet Caré trees along the
beach, also referred to as Honeymoon
Beach, is separated by West Beach by
big granitic boulders. During the green
turtle season from January to September,
I kept seeing lots of tracks during the
day, but so far I managed to only see
four green turtles at night. By consulting
the tide table and the moon cycle and
comparing this with the times of the
already made tracks, I slowly learned
to guess the emerging times of the green
turtles. I realised that this area of
the beach was very busy at night at certain
This particular night was special. I
had a feeling that the West Beach was
calling me. It was three days before
full moon. It was quite windy and the
sea was rough but the tide was low and
the moon was out in the west and very
bright. I went to get the office's big
Maglite torch which is not practical
for fieldwork, but one of our workers
had already borrowed the torch! So I
had no light to go out with and it was
getting quite late to knock on people's
doors. It was about one o'clock in the
morning when I tried several houses for
a torch. Finally someone gave me a Maglite
hand torch but warned me that the chargeable
batteries can completely die. I was not
worried at this point as I was rather
enthusiastic to go on the beach and the
torch was shining very well. So I packed
my turtle gear, consisting of a measure
tape, turtle tags and pliers for tagging
and a waterproof notebook, and headed
on to West Beach.
It was a quiet morning, completely dark
as I left on the east side and the moon
was about to set on the other side of
the island. So minimising the torch use
as I was biking to the west was not a
good idea as I was on one occasion biking
off the road, and on the another occasion
I fell completely off the bike and I
had to search for the torch in complete
darkness. I was lucky enough to find
it again, so I rode down with the light.
I was amazed when I reached the beach:
it was full of fresh turtle tracks and
it looked like I had missed the action
again. With my torch off, I carefully
scanned the edge of the beach. But I
could not see any. So I walked further
on the beach toward the sea. As it was
low tide, quiet and bright, something
shiny caught my eye where the waves were
breaking on the reef and this led me
further toward the sea. Suddenly, my
light picked up a huge green turtle sideways
in the coral rock. So I grabbed my little
digital camera and took some snapshots
fearing that she might get scared and
move away. But I soon realised that she
was truly stuck.
And at this point, my torch died completely.
The moon was still on the horizon going
to sleep, but I had to work fast before
it disappeared. As one flipper was free,
I felt it was a good idea to put a tag
on her. So I gave her the tag with inscription
SEY 7686 on the right flipper. Not long
ago, I had written a note on the dangers
of the Bluebottle jellyfish or Portuguese
Man-o'-War on our beach and tonight it
would be my turn to feel how much this
animal stings! With the shiny moon and
the cold water I braced myself and jumped
in the school of Portuguese Man-o'-War.
The waves were beating hard against the
rocks and on occasion the green turtle
was completely submerged and my left
leg was about numb with jellyfish stings.
But my eagerness to free the turtle was
stronger than the pain. With a couple
of pushes and pulls I managed to free
her at last without her getting seriously
cut on the sharp coral rock.
It was such a great relief to see SEY
7686 swimming towards the ocean in the
last rays of the shining moon. It was
three o'clock in the morning when the
moon finally disappeared down the horizon
and everything turned completely dark.
With no torch, miserably cold and jellyfish
stings all over my slowly numbing leg,
I walked back to the shore and packed
my equipment and pushed the bike all
the way back home, where I started putting
ice on my stings. My legs were sore for
5 days but it was one of my great memorable
adventures motivating me even stronger
to fight for animal rights.
Baboon troop preys
on newborn bushbuck
Location: Makuleke Concession, Pafuri
In October while tracking
white rhino on foot across the Luvuvhu
floodplain towards the mouth of the
Hutwini Gorge, we were alerted to a
commotion to our east with a baboon
troop loudly alarm barking and several
nyala joining in with their low frequency
alarm bark. As we stood and listened
we noticed the baboon troop moving
excitedly up the rocky slope at the
edge of the floodplain. As they did
so, we saw a large male baboon with
the dangling body of a very young (days
old) bushbuck fawn in his jaws. The
bushbuck doe approached him, nervously
but persistently lowering her head
as she feinted an advance in an attempt
to get the baboon to release her fawn.
His reaction was impassive and he simply
sat and watched her before then moving
further up the slope, the fawn still
bleating, leaving the mother bereft.
As the male climbed the slope the rest
of the troop moved in and attempted to
steal some of the spoils, but he successfully
defended the carcass and managed to move
into an area away from the troop where
he proceed to dismember and feed on the
Baboons are classed as omnivores and a
significant part of their diet includes
insects that are foraged opportunistically.
Fruit, leaves and flowers are also eaten.
They are huge opportunists however and
in their frequent association with species
like nyala, impala and bushbuck it is not
uncommon for a large male to snatch a newborn
lamb or fawn from under the nose of the
Pool Camp update - November 06 Jump
to Kings Pool Camp
Changing seasons ... New growth
... Great viewing ...
Not a lot of rain yet, but it looks set to be a
good season. Lots of afternoon cloud build-up and
so far we've had three reasonable showers over
Kings Pool, totaling 28mm. We have, however, enjoyed
watching numerous other storms taking place in
the distance all around us, which has been enough
to spark off new growth in the vegetation and the
region has once again been transformed into an
emerald oasis. As is usual for this time of the
year it has been quite muggy at times; the average
midday temperatures settling in at around 35°C, with the early part of the
mornings coming in at 21°C. The maximum temperature
recorded at Kings Pool for the month being 39°C.
The wind has kept us on our toes on the odd occasion
too - waiting until the kitchen has set up their
beautifully presented afternoon tea then threatening
to turn the whole lot upside down!
Green is the name of the game here: the trees
are sporting new shoots and leaves, there is a
carpet of grass sprouting all over and it's hard
to believe that just four weeks ago everything
was mostly shades of brown, dusty and dry. In bright
contrast, Flame Ball Lilies have pushed up through
the carpet of last season's dried leaves to proudly
add their splash of colour to the environment.
With the rain comes a changing
of the guard, so as to speak. Having become accustomed
to their presence and familiar sounds, it absolutely
fascinates us how quickly the elephant disappear
after the first rains, no longer requiring the
thirst-quenching waters of the Linyanti River,
as there is now sufficient water in numerous
pans amongst the Mopane woodland. They seemingly "float off" venturing
out on the odd occasion to remind you that they
are still around and when the time is right they
will be back in numbers.
While we're talking large animals, the hippopotamus
around camp have provided us with some great photo
opportunities. Usually you only get to see two
lumps and a set of eyes peering at you, but whenever
it has been overcast enough for them this past
month they've ventured out onto the banks to graze
in the broad daylight. They're a lot larger than
A time of rain also means a time of plenty...
and plenty of baby impala and warthog we have right
now. Almost as if by prior agreement the impala
mums have dropped their young, flooding the woodlands
and in so doing have ensured that a good number
of them will escape the attention of the predators
and thereby ensure survival of the species. Nature's
miracle and success in numbers. The warthog too
have their hands full, keeping one eye on feisty
young piglets and the other on their surrounds
and potential danger
- and "potential danger" comes in many
At the moment for the warthogs and their young
it is in the form of the Selinda lioness and her
two cubs. She has taken up residence next to our
airstrip and is methodically picking off the piglets,
as well as the odd grown-up when the opportunity
presents itself. She moved into our area a short
while back and it would appear that, as long as
the new male lions that moved into her old stomping
ground remain, she'll be avoiding returning home.
She's proving to be a fantastic mum and is taking
really good care of her little ones. Also taking
care of two little ones is the Calcrete Female
(leopard). She was observed to be lactating last
month and finally after what felt like an eternity
her cubs were seen a week or so ago, albeit briefly.
Other big cats seen this month include lion - the
Kings Pool pride of three lionesses plus their
three young - and leopard - the Boscia female,
her 18-month-old cub, Mopipi and Bigboy, a rather
large male. Small cats include quite a few large
spotted genet and African wildcat, one mum with
two cute little bundles of fluff.
The wild dogs have been a bit scarce, but we were
fortunate to find the Linyanti pack of five dogs
towards the end of the month. They even graced
us with a brief visit to the back of camp to torment
the baboons that hang out there. No matter how
brief, they still remain very special and it will
always be a delight to spend any amount of time
That's not all on the predator front: caught on
camera was this African rock python busy swallowing
a baby impala.
The bird life has been awesome too ... Bateleur,
Tawny, Long-crested, Walhberg's and Martial representing
the Eagles, as well as Secretarybird and Lappet-faced
Vulture worthy of a mention for the birds of prey.
As is the norm for this time of the year the Knob-billed
Duck, Spur-winged Geese, White-faced Duck and a
myriad other waterbirds are plentiful. It's also
good to regularly be seeing Ground Hornbill too.
In fact the surrounding bushveld is alive with
the sights and sounds of birds of every description.
Finally, but definitely not last in this case
if there is any doubt that summer has truly arrived
- there is the constant chip-chirrrrrrrr of the
Woodlands Kingfishers. A sound that one doesn't
realise was missing, until once again heard filling
the air all around us -comforting... peaceful...
Until next time, have a wonderful December, a
merry Christmas and may the New Year be everything
you wish it to be.
Management: Cristeen, Keya, Luca and Dave
Guides: Copper, OD and Ezi
And the whole Kings Pool Team
Camp update - November 06 Jump
Average temperatures: Min 20 and Max 34
Rainfall for the month: 42.5ml
The month started off with great excitement in camp with a baby
elephant being born close to tent number 7. We first noticed
the vultures circling above camp and when Kane went to investigate
he came upon a very aggressive breeding herd of elephants protecting
the newborn calf. That afternoon we were all lucky to see the
elephant calf at the waterhole in front of camp, still very clumsy
and with the umbilical cord attached to it.
The two cheetah boys were very prominent in the channel this
month and gave our guests some great sightings. On a number of
occasions they came and drank from the waterhole in front of
camp giving all in camp good sightings of them. The dominant
brother spent quite a bit of time with a lone female and we believe
that they were mating. We all hope that this is the case and
in a few months time we will have cheetah cubs running around.
The lions were pretty active with the TFC Pride moving well
into the Savuti Pride's territory. They were seen not far from
camp and one evening just after the guests arrived back from
the afternoon game drive Ronald found a lioness walking through
camp towards the waterhole. We turned on the spotlight and found
two lionesses drinking from the waterhole. They later moved off
behind camp and into the Mopane heading east back into their
The Savuti Pride was seen in the channel between Hippo Bones
and Rock Pan. Two of the four males were seen at Rock Pan and
Letsomo towards the end of the month. One of the Savuti males
was seen mating with one of the TFC females near the Bottleneck.
The Selinda female has moved her two remaining cubs up to Kings
Pool airstrip, were she is picking off the baby warthogs left,
right and centre. One morning while doing a drop-off at the airstrip
we were all standing around the aircraft when suddenly she burst
out of the bush and caught a baby warthog. She quickly ran off
with it in her mouth to feed her waiting cubs. She is feeding
on warthogs on a daily basis.
The resident male leopard who injured his front right leg a
few months ago is recovering well. He was last seen mating with
the Manchwe female. He is also managing to hunt with great success.
We had a nice herd of buffalo come and drink at the camp waterhole
along with a big herd of zebra and impala with all their young
few days back. It was a wonderful sight to see this all in front
of camp. All the green grass has certainly changed the look of
The night drives are proving very fruitful. Ronald took his
guests out after dinner one night and saw the following: three
aardwolf pups, white-tailed mongoose, serval, five hyaenas, porcupine,
scrub hare and spring hare all in one drive!
All the migrant birds are back and daily, guests are seeing
Tawny Eagle, Wahlberg's Eagle, Bateleur, Martial Eagle to name
but a few. Ground Hornbills have also been seen regularly in
the channel in front of camp and around Dish Pan clearing.
We would like to thank Karen for helping us out over the last
month and we wish her well for the future. We wish everyone happy
holidays and all the best for the New Year.
"Wilderness Safaris has thought of everything! The game
drives and staff have been spectacular." Jo-ann and Holly
update - November 06 Jump
What an awesome month we've all had here at DumaTau!
Summer is certainly in the air now. This month we have had approximately
40mm of rain, in the form of thunder showers. On one occasion
we were returning from the airstrip in the middle of the day,
when one of the vehicles got stuck in the thick, loose sand.
A second vehicle was also heading back from the airstrip, having
picked up new arrivals, and had stopped to help the unfortunate
guide who had got stuck. In the process of trying to help the
original vehicle the second vehicle also got stuck...nd that's
when the heavens opened up. In a matter of 20 minutes over 23mm
of rain fell. Everyone was drenched and we called the camp to
send out another vehicle to come and rescue all the guests. When
everyone was transferred to the other vehicle it too succumbed
to the thick sand and became stuck. By this time the first vehicle
had gotten mobile and everyone was once again transferred to
the original vehicle, which then hastily returned to camp. Shortly
afterwards the guides managed to free the other two vehicles
and everyone returned back to camp in time for the afternoon
game drive. What an adventure!
With the arrival of the rain the temperatures have cooled down
a bit from last month. The maximum temperature this month was
35 degrees (Celsius) and minimum was 19 degrees.
The change in seasons has had a remarkable effect on the vegetation.
Most of the trees have new leaves. In the Mopane woodlands the
leaves are a bright golden-pink and green in colour and the woodlands
are now (in my opinion) at their prettiest.
The Mangosteen trees have all been in full fruit this month.
These fruits look similar to ripe apricots and are quite pleasant
(although quite tart) to taste. The Mangosteen trees in camp
have been attracting quite a lot of attention from various creatures,
and are filled with birds, squirrels, baboons and monkeys; where
the fruits have fallen to the ground we have even witnessed kudu
and warthog feeding on the delicacies.
Dennis, a regular elephant in camp, has caused quite a bit of
trouble this month. In his search for the ripe fruit lying on
the ground he has pulled off many a banister from the boardwalks
and on one occasion even destroyed the raised walkway by walking
right through it. Luckily for us Lesh, the carpenter, was in
camp at the time and he managed to sort out the problem and rebuild
the walkway before the guests came back from their morning drive.
With the arrival of the rains and the warm temperatures the
small creatures have started emerging now. It's amazing how much
life there is out here! At night the frogs and other creatures
play their symphonies from the reed beds and waterholes. The
painted reed frogs utter their high pitched chimes, intermingled
with the bass played the toads and the hippos, and the rhythm
is set by the fruit bats that gather to feed in the large trees.
The birdlife has been spectacular and our monthly species count
is way over 230 species. The Savuti channel in particular is
great for Eagles during the summer months, when the termites
emerge for their nuptial flights. We have had quite a few birding
highlights this month, including an Osprey, Bat Hawks, Wattled
Cranes, Martial Eagle, Black Egrets and Woodlands Kingfishers.
The limited pools have formed fish/frog traps and are attracting
the attention of numerous waterbirds including 20 Great White
Pelicans, approximately 10 Pink-backed Pelicans, +-30 Yellow-billed
Storks and the same number of Marabou Storks, +- 20 Woolly-necked
Storks, over 150 Red-billed Teals, a few egrets and herons, and
numerous waders including Painted Snipe, Greenshank, Ruff and
Wood Sandpipers. Pied Kingfishers, Black-winged Stilts, Reed
cormorants and even a pair of Fish Eagles were there.
Even though the rainy season has arrived now, and the pools
and puddles in the woodlands are starting to get wet, we are
still seeing good general game. This is the month of the impala
lambs and from the beginning of the month the impala ewes started
giving birth to their tiny, adorable babies. Impalas typically
all give birth within a very short space of time (usually a few
weeks only) and from the beginning of the month until now we
have literally seen hundreds of impala babies. They are particularly
vulnerable at this age and almost all of the carnivorous creatures
are feasting now. Lawrence reported seeing a few Tawny Eagles
feeding on a new born lamb and we also had a sighting of a python
that was in the process of killing another impala lamb. The mother
impala stood by and snorted and stared at the snake as it wrapped
itself around the young antelope.
Most of the zebra and the buffalo have headed away from the
river now, although we have still been seeing small groups of
each on the game drives. The elephants have also dispersed into
the woodlands now, with the onset of the rains. General game
is still fairly abundant and we are still having regular sightings
of kudu, giraffe, hippo, warthog, baboons, monkeys, red lechwe
and blue wildebeest, amongst others.
The smaller, nocturnal creatures are still being sighted on
the night-drives, as the grass in the Savuti channel has only
just started growing, including African wildcat, serval and even
This last month we have had some awesome predator sightings.
The stars were definitely the two Savuti Boys. These two male
cheetahs were seen on at least 13 days this month. They are the
dominant male cheetah in the area and have a massive territory.
This last month the two remaining brothers spent a fair time
in the Linyanti Concession, mainly in the open area around Dish
Pan, in the Savuti Channel. On the 1st of the month the two boys
(Alpha and Bravo) were seen entering the area near Rock Pan where
they spotted a warthog, quickly gave chase and killed the unfortunate
pig. A large male leopard (the DumaTau Male), unbeknown to the
cheetah, had been resting in a large Sausage Tree overlooking
the open plains area in which the cheetah had been hunting. He
immediately ran down the tree and rushed at the two cheetah,
who gave way. He then took the warthog kill and headed back to
the woodlands at the edge of the Savuti Channel, where he stashed
it in a large Leadwood Tree... and that was the just the start
of the month! A day or two later Herbert and Gary saw the two
boys again take down a warthog. This time they managed to keep
The lions have also been pretty good to us this
month and we have seen these large tawny cats on at least 24
days. The Savuti guides found a skittish pride of lions close
to Savuti Camp. All in all there were three females, two cubs
and one male. By the time the DumaTau guides arrived in the
area the male, one of the females and the two cubs had disappeared
into the scrublands to the south of the Savuti Channel. We
saw the two remaining lionesses lying in the shade of an apple-leaf
scrub. They were both quite wary of the vehicles and had obviously
not seen any cars in quite a while. One of the females had
extensive scarring all over her face. The Savuti guides were
calling this new pride the "TFC Pride". Upon returning to camp we looked at
past lion photos and found that the two lionesses were from a
pride called the "LTC" pride, and that they were last
seen a few years back in the area around Linyanti Tented Camp
(which is at least 30 kilometres to the north-east of the area
that they were now in). On the 20th one of these two females
(14 LTC F8) was seen walking in the grasslands at the eastern
side of Phuduhudu Rd. She was calling softly and was obviously
looking for other lions. The next day we saw her in the company
of the Savuti Male (Sav M3) at the Bottleneck, where they remained
for a few days before they split up.
The other Savuti Males (Sav M2 and Sav M4) were positively identified
on only two occasions this month, in the area of Letsumo Sign
and Giraffe Bones. The Savuti Pride has been conspicuous in their
absence this month, seen on only two occasions.
The Selinda Female and her two cubs are still all looking healthy
and have been seen on at least 6 occasions this month, mainly
along the Linyanti River and Kings Pool Airstrip. On the morning
of the 21st we saw her and the two cubs near Cheetah Flats, where
she unsuccessfully tracked a warthog - who managed to escape.
Leopard sightings have dropped this month, possibly due to the
thicker vegetation, the fact that there is water readily available
throughout the woodlands now and the abundant easily-catchable
prey-source in the form of baby impalas. This means that the
leopards have had no reason to move large distances and we have
therefore not been able to find their tracks in order to find
them. The DumaTau Male was witnessed stealing a warthog carcass
from two male cheetahs and on the second he was again seen in
the tree in which he had stashed the stolen prey.
On the 23rd we had an incredible leopard sighting. Herbert and
Gary had spotted two leopards close to Rock Pan. As they followed
the two leopards the female leopard (The Rock Pan Female) discovered
an African wildcat and quickly killed it. She then fed upon it,
refusing to allow the male (the DumaTau Male) to have any of
it. Then they mated right in front of the vehicles. It is unusual
to see mating leopards, but what was even more interesting was
that we were under the impression that this female had tiny cubs
hidden away somewhere in the woodlands, as she looked like she
was still lactating. Maybe she had only recently lost her new
cubs and had again come into oestrous?
Other leopards seen this month include the Chobe 1 female who
was seen on at least three occasions this month mainly in the
thick riverine vegetation near Chobe 1, the Zib female (who was
seen at the beginning of the month with her cub near Zibadianja
Lagoon), The Zib cub (who was seen on its own lying up in a large
Jackalberry Tree near Elephant Valley towards the middle of the
month) and the Boscia Cub (who was seen towards the end of the
month quite close to Kings Pool Camp).
The wild dogs have been quite scarce this month only seeing
them on 5 days. At the beginning of the month the big pack of
dogs (DumaTau Pack) was seen on three consecutive days, before
they headed out of the Concession towards Selinda. We heard that
they then headed towards the Kwando Concession, where they spent
the rest of the month.
All in all we have had another awesome month here at DumaTau.
With the sun sinking in the sky and lighting up the brooding
summer storm clouds in bright fiery colours we hereby send our
best greetings from all the staff at DumaTau!
Signing off, until next month
The DumaTau Team
Zibalianja & Selinda Camps
update - November 06 Jump
to Zibalianja Camp
It seems that
all the camps are having their fair share of
elephant invasion! However, at Selinda "DJ" is practically a constant
and is seen on the pathways, between the tents,
at the dining room etc. Completely unfazed by human
activity, it appears that nothing will stop his
desire for "camp cuisine" - not even
a solid pole fence that he casually flattened recently!
At Tshwene Trails Camp, an elephant bull awakened
Chris and Joanne as he browsed on the trees alongside
Tent #1. Watching him at arm's length (literally)
from the safety of the tent was quite an experience,
particularly as the tents are at ellie-eye level
on their raised decks.
Zibalianja's waterhole continues to bring in
surprises. A pride of eight lions visited twice,
and the two cheetah brothers have resumed their
old habit of drinking here.
Zibalianja tents have a different
look! We have done a furniture re-arrangement
adjustment. Since the vista from each tent is
a panorama best viewed head-on, we decided that
the beds should face this, so now a guest's first
view of the day is "MAMBA" - Miles
and Miles of Beautiful Africa.
At Motswiri Camp, the waters have started to
recede, but we expect enough water to remain
until the rains arrive and the spillway is replenished.
With the recession, floodplains have become exposed
and this is attracting zebra, wildebeest and
tsessebe to the prime grazing.
The Selinda pack of wild dog is now very mobile
and more erratic in gracing us with their presence.
However, the six pups are all doing well and
are growing like weeds.
Once again lions formed the bulk of our predator
action this month. The two males (one with the
blind eye) seem to have settled well and an unknown,
but relaxed, pride of eight made an appearance.
We hope they stick around.
What has made the lion viewing even more exciting
are the interactions with the huge buffalo herd.
With about 3000 of these bovines moving over
the plains, it is like bees to honey. One lone
lioness managed to walk into the herd and create
a stampede. When the dust settled she had caught
and killed a calf.
The two cheetah brothers have been hanging around
as more and more of their hunting grounds dry
out. Impala, tsessebe, kudu and an ostrich have
all fallen prey to their appetites. Never shy
to show off, they have provided many classic
photo opportunities as they clamber up termite
mounds and trees to scan the plains.
As is usual for this time of year, elephants
dominate the big game viewing. There is seldom
a moment in the day where one or many, many more
are not visible from practically anywhere. Driven
by their pursuit of fresh water they are never
far away from this sought-after resource.
Although scorching hot, this time of year is
in fact Botswana's spring. With it comes the
arrival of new life and plenty of romance. The
tsessebe have dropped their calves, and the wildebeest
are not far behind with all the cows looking
incredibly distended. The ground birds are all
displaying and mating - including the ostrich.
These giant birds have a courtship that is a
theatrical performance bar none.
Drama comes in many forms in the bush and sometimes
the smaller creatures provide the best shows.
When a slender mongoose ambushed and killed a
Francolin outside its burrow, it discovered that
the bird was too big to fit through the entrance.
The ensuing struggle to get the meal into the
safe haven of the mongoose's pantry was as enthralling
as it was amusing.
Camps Update - November 06
Lagoon camp Jump
• This month has been an interesting
one with respect to new lions trying to
establish territory. Two males, accompanied
by two females were also seen resting.
Another two males were found on a buffalo
• The lagoon pack of six wild dogs spent
three days hunting in the area.
• A small breeding herd of about fifteen
elephant as well as some lone bulls was
• The big herds of buffalo are still seen
regularly and continue to provide meals
for the lions in the area.
• Good sightings of birds of prey including
African Hawk eagle, Brown Snake eagle and
African Fish eagle.
• A very relaxed caracal was seen on one
of the evening drives. A black backed jackal
den, with two very small pups was found
and lots of jackal have been seen on the
• A herd of giraffe and a troop of baboons
were seen feeding on the edge of the tree
line, while impala, tsessebe and zebras
continue to be seen on the plains.
• Three species of mongoose, dwarf, yellow
and banded mongoose was seen. A very shy
African wild cat was also followed for
• This week started of very well with two lionesses killing a buffalo calf,
south of Mokhutsomo pan. There was also a female hyena seen at the kill. One
of these lionesses was later in the week found dead due to snakebite. Two shy
young males were spotted near water-cut, marking the territory.
• A four-month-old leopard cub was seen in a tree with an impala kill. The cub
was very relaxed, so the guides suspected that the mother must have been nearby,
although she was not seen.
• A very relaxed and pregnant looking female cheetah was seen twice in the water-cut
• The resident lagoon pack of six wild dogs spent some time hunting in and around
the camp. They managed to make several kills, mainly young impalas. The big pack
consisting of sixteen dogs also showed up at John’s pan. They were busy
fighting hyena at the carcass of a young kudu that they managed to kill.
• After receiving the first proper rains, the elephants disappeared for a while.
They were forced back to the floodplains and river systems though, as the waterholes
do not have enough water yet. The usual couple of old bulls were also spotted
on the floodplains.
• The large herds of buffalo are leaving the floodplains heading west. The lions
seem to have decided not to follow them at this stage.
• A snouted cobra was seen basking near its burrow but it disappeared very quickly
when the vehicle got closer. Two big mambas were also seen near Kwena Lagoon.
Lots of the summer resident birds also seen.
• The same, relaxed caracal was seen twice hunting, near Zebra pan during the week.
Ten hyena was seen fighting with the wild dogs at John’s pan. One of the
hyena managed to steal a kudu leg from the dogs kill. A pair of side-striped
jackal, with a litter of four pups, is seen regularly near the plateau.
• The general game has been excellent throughout the week. Zebra, lechwe, reedbuck,
sable and roan antelope has been seen. Lots of tsessebe and impala with calves
and a swarm of locusts were also seen.
• Two shy porcupines were briefly spotted near the airstrip. A pair of honey badgers
was seen running on the road south of camp, but the pick of the week was a good
sighting of a very rare pangolin.
Kwara camp Jump
• A male and
six female lions managed to kill two baboons
and were seen feeding on their kills.
• A female leopard with her five-month-old
cub was seen walking along the Kwara main
• A very good sighting of a female cheetah
resting on top of a termite mound was reported.
• A large breeding herd of elephant with
lots of young calves was seen moving through
• Big herds of buffalo are still moving through.
A herd of about three hundred buffalo was
seen grazing along the river.
• Summer is now officially here with the
first sightings of woodland kingfishers
being reported. Lots of the summer visitors,
including carmine bee-eaters and yellow-billed
storks are being seen regularly.
• An excellent sighting of a pride of lions
hunting a tsessebe was reported. A clan
of hyena as well as side striped jackal
were seen during the night drives.
• The November rains – while not heavy
have precipitated the annual birthing of
impala and newborn are everywhere. Good
sightings of zebra, kudu, and giraffes
• Honey badgers, banded mongoose and civet
were also seen during the week.
• A fantastic thirty minutes was spent with a pride of lion, watching them
stalking and trying to ambush a warthog. The pride consisted of two males, two
females and two cubs. Unfortunately for them they did not manage to kill the
warthog, but they did manage to successfully hunt and kill a buffalo later in
• The now well-known female leopard and her cub were seen walking across the Kwara
plains. She made a half-hearted attempt at hunting but became lazy and lied down
for a rest instead. The next morning she was found again, this time feeding on
a reedbuck kill. A big male leopard was also seen resting in a sausage tree the
• Three male cheetahs were seen hunting in the morning on the Tshamotshamo plains.
In the afternoon vultures were spotted in the same area, feeding on the left
over of an impala kill. Tracks were followed, which led to three cheetahs with
very full bellies. A lone female cheetah was also seen resting on a termite mound.
• A herd of four bull elephants came to drink water right in front of camp at the
lagoon and provided everyone with some good entertainment.
• A very big herd of around a thousand buffalo was seen on the plains.
• The birding is fantastic this time of the year, with the woodland king fishers
and carmine bee-eater adding magnificent colour to the surroundings. Painted
reed frogs are also seen regularly on the mekoro excursions.
• Side striped jackal as well as black backed jackal was seen foraging. Four hyena
were spotted moving towards camp.
• General game sightings were very good, with water- buck, kudu, impala, giraffe
and baboon being seen.
• A serval was seen hunting and killing a mouse on the night drive and a civet
was spotted at honeymoon pan. African wildcat was also seen on the drive.
• A good sighting of a puff adder moving through the grass was reported as well
as a beautiful African rock python sunning it self on a termite mound.
Lebala camp Jump
• A pride of two
males and four females managed to kill two
buffalos. They stayed with the kills until
all was finished and then moved on to kill
• A female cheetah was located South of Skimmer
pan, hunting. The two brothers who are still
seen in the area spotted her. They showed
interest in her, but she was not happy when
they tried to approach her and moved off
on her own.
• The early arrival of the rains saw some of
the breeding herds of elephant move in to
the mopane forest but there were still good
sightings of herds of up to one hundred animals.
Lots of single bulls and small bachelor groups
are also to be found on the floodplains.
• Three herds of buffalo, each containing around
four hundred animals were seen during the
• Birding is still very good with grey backed
shrikes; red backed shrikes and yellow billed
as well as black kites being seen. The reed
frogs are expressing themselves vocally all
• Good sightings of well fed spotted hyena
almost every night, with both black backed
and side-striped jackal also present in the
area. Two black backed jackals dens were
located, one den had four and the other six
• General game sightings are still very good,
with wildebeest, zebras, impalas, giraffe,
red lechwe and reedbucks being seen. A very
interesting sighting of a wildebeest cow
giving birth was noted. It took the calf
ten minutes before it could walk and another
five minutes to start suckling.
• An African wild cat was seen stalking a mouse
and it managed to kill right next to the
vehicle. Dwarf, slender, banded and yellow
mongoose have also been seen on a regular
• A single lioness with two cubs was seen on several occasions. She was
also seen feeding on a buffalo calf. Two more lionesses were also found; one
was feeding on her leopard tortoise kill and the other feeding on a wildebeest
• A very relaxed male leopard was located at Motswiri pan on the night drive. He
was followed for a while, whilst hunting.
• One female cheetah was seen resting at water-cut. She was very relaxed, and the
vehicles managed to get close enough for very good photographic opportunities.
The two brothers also spent some time in the area, relaxing and sent marking.
• Two wild dog sightings in the lagoon area were reported. On one of the evening
drives, all the vehicles were searching for dog tracks in the Motswiri pan area.
The vehicles spread out and soon two vehicles had the tracks. One vehicle trailing
behind was just at Twin pools, when an Impala, running for its life, flashed
by only to be followed by tree dogs. The remainder of the 16 strong pack soon
appeared at the scene but decided to sit and wait it out until the other dogs
called for them. All of the vehicles enjoyed the best part of an hour with these
13 dogs but also noticed two hyena circling in the background. While listening
intently for the other dogs to call, they were delighted when the other dogs
appeared back, and then started to regurgitate the kill for the pups. The couple
of hyeana tried to even get the regurgitated meat and so the pack moved off.
The vehicles all followed onto an open plain where the dogs led them to the impala
carcass, which had not been finished. Within a minute, over seven hyena were
on the scene and a large fight ensued with one of the hyena hiding under one
of the vehicles! The fight went on for over 40 minutes all around the vehicles
with the hyena eventually making off with what was left of the impala.
• Very few breeding herds were seen because of the good rains that fell in the
area. Excellent sighting of bull elephant is still reported though.
• A couple of buffalo herds were still seen in the area. The bulls were seen fighting
with each other and mating with the cows.
• Birding has been great with the summer migrants, like woodland kingfishers, European
cuckoo and paradise flycatchers being seen. Snakes are also starting to put in
more regular appearances; with black mamba as well a cobra’s being spotted.
• Lots of hyena is seen on almost every night drive. Jackals also seem to be very
active during the evenings as well as a couple of good chameleon sightings being
• General game sightings have been great, with lots of zebra, wildebeest, giraffe,
impala, kudus and warthogs everywhere.
• Good sightings of serval and genets have been reported on the night drives. Honey
badgers and mongooses were also very active during the week.
Little Kwara camp
• Three prides of lions
were seen this week. One of the prides, made
up of eight females and one male killed a warthog
while another pride with one male, two females
and two four month old cubs was found on an impala
carcass. A third pride had three females and
two six-month-old cubs with them.
• A female leopard was seen hunting on four different
occasions during the course of the week. This
is the female with the four-month-old cub and
she was heard calling the cub to follow her on
• Three male cheetahs with very full bellies were
found after they had killed and feasted on an
• The Kwara pack of three wild dogs were located
resting in the shade of a tree after they had
killed and fed on an impala.
• Small bachelor herds of elephant are still found
in the area, with a nice sighting of three bulls
swimming across the channel, also reported.
• A big herd of buffalo is still roaming around
the area. They have been seen splitting up in
to smaller groups and then joining up again.
• The boat trips to the heronry are providing great
sightings with the chicks hatching. Good sightings
of black crowned night herons, purple herons,
yellow billed storks and painted reed frogs.
• Hyena, side striped jackal, serval, civet and
a chameleon have been seen on the night drives.
• Lots of impala and tsessebe with newborn lambs
being seen on the plains at the moment. Giraffes,
wildebeest, zebra, warthog and red lechwe also
spotted in abundance.
• Two honey badgers as well as dwarf and banded
mongoose were also seen on the drives.
• Two adult male lions were found feeding on a buffalo carcass. In the afternoon
they were seen again, this time they were surrounded by vultures, which wanted
to share their meal. One sub-adult male, accompanied by a full grown male, was
seen resting in the shade of a tree.
• The well-known female leopard and her cub were seen interacting while feeding
on a tsessebe calf that she killed.
• One nervous female cheetah was spotted on one of the drives. After the
game drive spent a bit of time with her, she became relaxed.
• The Kwara pack of
three wild dogs were located resting in the shade of a tree after they had killed
and fed on an impala.
• Small bachelor herds of elephant were seen while doing the mokoro rides, walking
and boat cruises.
• The big herd of buffalo estimated at around a thousand five hundred buffalo has
now split into two groups and is still seen in the area.
• The bonus of this week was the sighting of a very relaxed aardwolf. Side striped
jackal and chameleon was also seen on the night drives.
• Impala and tsessebe as well as wildebeest, with newborn lambs being seen on the
plains at the moment. Giraffes, zebra, warthog and red lechwe also spotted in
• Four African wild cats were seen in different areas. Two very relaxed serval
and two honey badgers were also seen.
• Water as well as rock monitors have been seen in camp. Crocodiles have
also started to become more active in the heat of summer.
• Good birding is also
reported with black and yellow egrets, marabou storks and slaty egrets being
Mombo Camp update
- November 06 Jump
to Mombo Camp
November has been a month of new life due to
the birth of many species. The acacias are in bloom and the grasses
have broken through the Kalahari sand. Electrical storms have
started, giving us a total of 55.5mm of rain for the month, cooling
the warm days of November. The floodplains in front of camp are
continuously full of zebra, buffalo, many birds, giraffe, lechwe
and the interesting interactions that occur between the species.
November was filled with some amazing and unusual sightings
starting with an interesting interaction between three zebra
stallions and a herd of wildebeest. The young stallions attacked
the wildebeest herd, which contained three calves. The zebra
singled out one particular calve, possibly because this was the
youngest and began to run it down. The adult wildebeest tried
to protect the calf but found it difficult to combat the zebras'
aggressive nature. Within minutes the calf was trampled, kicked
and immobilised by the zebra, who afterwards licked and stood
over the calf. After about fifteen minutes, the gauntlet began.
The calf stood up and began to run aimlessly through the zebra
herds where every dominant mare and stallion tried to attack
him; even a red lechwe joined the chase. Miraculously and deservingly
the calf dodged all the zebra and found his herd once again.
Whilst having tea one afternoon at Mombo we were interrupted
by the call of mating leopards. We spotted the leopards on the
edge of a palm island about 1km away, tea was cut short and we
were off to get a closer look. On entering the edge of the floodplain,
we found the female under an acacia with a young warthog. Interestingly
the warthog was still alive and became a toy for the leopard.
The constant call of the warthog attracted the male leopard although
he was soon chased away by an aggressive Legidima. She played
with this warthog for about an hour before eating it, sharing
none with her partner.
The arrival of African Skimmers on the exposed sandbanks of the
drying channels is the ultimate highlight. One can spend hours
admiring the manoeuvrability and charm of these endangered
birds. Other highlights include fighting rollers, both the
Broad-billed and the Lilac-breasted, Red-necked Falcons protecting
their kill from melanistic Gabars and the massive action within
the fish traps.
Legadima seems to have taken over her mother's territory and
is passing through camp regularly, up to her usual antics.
We had a sighting of her killing a young impala, which she
hoisted immediately, seconds before the hyaena's arrival.
presented us with a great sighting of the Far-Eastern Pan female
and her cub. She seems to have been frequenting the floodplains
east of Chiefs Island, which are inaccessible to vehicles.
We found her draped over the branch of a Sausage Tree, guarding
her kills, which consisted of two impala.
Towards the end of November, we were privileged
to have another interesting sighting of the Far-Eastern Pan
female and her cub. She had killed two impala and had decided
not to hoist any of her kills, a big risk of getting them stolen
by the hyaenas and this is what happened. A lone hyaena had
followed the vultures to the kill and moved in, immediately
reacting to the impala's scent. These pictures depict a fascinating
interaction between the cub and the hyaena.
Bad news and good news, regarding our cheetah sightings: Good
news is that we have had record sightings of cheetah at Mombo
this month. These sightings include that of three individual
males and a female that originally had three cubs at the beginning
of the month. Bad news is that this particular female has only
one cub left now; two were killed by the Moporota pride, the
sacrifice of living in close proximity with larger carnivores.
These pictures depict the difficulty a lesser carnivore has in
keeping its kills and the continuous threat the cubs are under.
Here the cheetah is overpowering a female impala that was giving
birth, later to be chased off by a hyaena.
The "silver eyed" female stands over
the dead cheetah cubs.
A once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity, the Mathata pride quenches
their thirst in front of the Sambira Baobab. The Mathata still
reign supreme through the Mombo concession. There have not
been many changes within the pride, seven females, 15 cubs
and the four dominant males.
One cub has been lost from the 15 original cubs
of this pride, which now totals 23 lions. Noticeably the competition
is becoming intense as the cubs mature; some are already weaned
and need more food for their growing bodies. The lost cub could
have been killed by his father during a feeding frenzy. As
usual, the Moporota Boys have been frequenting the north-east
of our concession, joining up with two younger females this
month. Interestingly one of the females mated with both of
the Moporota Boys.
We had average sightings of rhino this month - the majority of
the sightings took place up north.
was an excellent adventure from start to finish!"
"Everything was amazing, wildlife at its best, staff, food,
rooms, views and service were excellent. You are the best of
"There can be no single highlight...it was all a highlight!"
"Game drives extraordinary"
"Game drives, witnessing a kill by a lionesses, delicious
food, elegant accommodation."
"The camp, the people and the service were amazing. We loved
our private honeymoon brunch, perfect honeymoon spot."
We all look forward to a wonderful December, cheers for now
THE MOMBO TEAM!
Jack's Camp update
- November 06 Jump
to Jack's Camp
Waiting for the Rains
November ushered in the start of summer and some truly
hot weather. While everything else seemed to be withering
under the summer heat, the Jack's Camp guides were delighted
to report that the meerkats have again added to their
numbers, this time with not one, but two litters, bringing
the total number of new pups to six.
Chapman's Baobab suddenly bloomed bringing an explosion
of colour to the ancient tree. In anticipation of the
imminent rains, grasses are sending up new shoots; hartebeest,
wildebeest, zebra and even gemsbok have been spotted wandering
from pan to pan looking for the water that they know should
arrive any day. In fact, thousands of zebra have been
seen massing on the border of the park ready to start
their migration as soon as there is enough water to sustain
Of course with the grazers come the predators and some
guests were treated to a lion on a fresh kill just within
the national park boundary.
On the 19th of November the heat finally broke and the
season's first heavy downpour arrived. With water now
available, migratory birds like Wattled Cranes, Terns
and Pallid Harriers are returning to the pans around camp.
The rains have also signalled the evening hatchings of
literally billions of winged termites. This glut of food
means that sightings of aardwolf, caracal, porcupine,
jackals and even the elusive aardvark have been especially
good in the evenings.
The coming wet season promises to be a spectacular one
and the transformation of the Makgadikgadi from arid savannah
to lush wetland is always a remarkable transformation.
Average High Temperature: 38°
Average Low Temperature: 16°
update - November 06 Jump
While on an afternoon game drive in the north
eastern parts of the Linyanti Concession during a Migration Routes
Exploration, guide Thuto Moutloatse spotted a female leopard
moving through the dry mopane. As they watched her she proceeded
to stalk and unsuccessfully chase a tree squirrel. She was lactating
- indicating cubs left in a lair somewhere - and was clearly
hungry (from the obviously gaunt appearance and her behaviour
in opportunistically stalking small prey).
The leopard then spotted a troop of baboons foraging in a
strung out line as they too moved through the mopane woodland.
She managed to stalk within distance of the rearguard of the
troop and then rushed at the young baboon brining up the rear
which she killed. As Thuto moved the vehicle forward to re-establish
a view, they discovered the entire baboon troop of around 30
animals had absolutely overwhelmed the leopard and were in
the process of attempting to rescue the attacked member of
the troop and kill the leopard which was invisible at the bottom
of the pile. The noise was incredible and the chaos and aggression
of the attack bewildering. The young baboon lay lifeless to
one side and as the vehicle rounded the corner part of the
baboon troop backed off a little, leaving a clearly injured
leopard lying still in the grass.
Over the next two and a half hours the baboon troop surrounded
the leopard and continued to harass it, the charge being lead
by the large males and several smaller pretenders to the throne.
Amazingly, the leopard lay prone almost shamming death although
visibly still alive. Having lost the momentum of the initial
attack first one baboon would rush in and scuff the prone predator
and then another would take the advantage of attacking from
the other side.
Eventually the bulk of the troop moved off
leaving just one large male and a smaller subordinate female.
Although it appeared as if the leopard was by this stage
mortally wounded, and this was certainly the perception by
those watching spellbound from the vehicle, the larger baboon
was cautious in his approach of the leopard while the female
simply watched from a safe distance. Curiosity or thoughts
of revenge got the better of the larger baboon however and
he eventually did approach what he thought was a dying leopard.
Before he could scuff her again however, the leopard sprung
onto its hind legs and attacked the baboon, forcing both
the male and female to flee. Having achieved this, the leopard
then picked up the carcass of the baboon killed before the
skirmish erupted, shook it and walked off carrying the carcass
in its jaws as if nothing untoward had happened at all. As
Thuto commented: "The most incredible
thing about his sighting for me was to see the leopard play
dead for about 2 ½ hours as the baboons harassed her
- she knew that if she retaliated the whole troop would kill
While the adrenalin, action and excitement made this a spectacular
sighting, it is also of interest since baboons do not feature
high on the list of leopard prey. In areas where medium- and
small-sized ungulates are common, these are the preferred prey
and baboons make up only a very low percentage of kills. Even
in areas where this ungulate prey class is at a low density,
baboons do not make up an important portion of leopard prey
and alternative species such as dassies are taken instead.
The reasons for this of course are the social structure of
baboon troops and the powerful and aggressive nature of the
male baboons in the troop. Most attacks on baboons by leopard
take place in low light conditions when the leopard can take
refuge from the response of the troop. Attacks in daylight
end in mobbing behaviour of the kind witnessed here, or even
leopard fatalities at the hands of baboons that have been recorded
all over Africa.
On this occasion, this specific female took a huge risk that
had it turned out differently could easily have left her unable
to fend for her cubs.
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