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Page 1 Updates
Wilderness Safaris News -
Info and updates from Wilderness Safaris
Monthly update from Zibalianja Camp in
Monthly update from Selinda Camp in
Monthly update from Kings Pool Camp in
Kwando Safaris game reports.
Monthly update from Mombo Camp in
update from Chitabe Camp in
Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in
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 Jack's Camp in
Monthly update from Palmwag Rhino Camp in
Monthly update from Pafuri Camp in
Monthly Dive report from Rocktail
Bay in South Africa.
Safaris Updates - September 2006
Wilderness Safaris Ongava
When a Namibian veld fire
is so big that the smoke plume it develops alerts
international satellite monitoring officials
in the United States, Namibia knows it has a
problem. Such was the alert generated in the
first week of September 2006. In a flurry of
activity involving media, government and Wilderness
Safaris, a rapid plan of action to assess the
burning situation was put together and with the
input of all three, a Cessna 210 departed for
the troubled north-western area of Namibia. On
board were the Director of Parks and Wildlife
from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism
(MET), a senior government wildlife specialist,
a photo journalist and myself, pilot, wildlife
veterinarian and part of Wilderness Safaris'
Environmental Division. It was to be a flight
of immeasurable value as the intensity of the
fire and its consequences to habitat and wildlife
would have been immensely underestimated without
The western parts of Etosha
National Park received almost three times
their annual expected rainfall this year.
It was this rainfall that transformed western
Etosha and indeed the whole of western Namibia
into a grassland so spectacular that such
growth was last seen in 1978. It was also
this grass that fueled the fire so visible
from space. The flight revealed two disturbing
situations: The burn was a high intensity hot
fire that was total and that wildlife was severely
affected. Over 300 000 hectares were completely
Of particular concern was
the endangered species breeding camp of Kaross.
This camp is an independent 40 000ha unit,
entirely fenced and now completely burnt.
To save the wildlife therein, including over
a hundred roan antelope, black rhino and
black-faced impala, would require immediate
Actions involving large-scale
capture, supplementary feeding and individual
attention to burnt animals, in particular
rhino is now underway. Wilderness Safaris,
mainly through Ongava Game Reserve and the
Environmental Division, are assisting in
ways ranging from provision of food, supply
of expertise and making available holding
bomas and treatment facilities on Ongava.
With this rapid response, all efforts are
being made to make the best of a bad situation.
However, by combining forces, we should be
able to report on a much-improved situation
for the wildlife in the near future. It is
after all this shared wildlife treasure that
is of most value to all.
Researching the Blue Crane in Namibia
The magnificent Blue Crane is a rare sight in Namibia.
For tourists and birders alike, an encounter with
a few of these birds is a sought-after highlight
but one that is not so easily achieved, as they
appear to inhabit only a small area in north-eastern
and central Namibia. There is currently an active
drive to understand the remaining cranes in Namibia,
as it is feared that through habitat loss and disturbance,
their continued existence is in doubt.
For a week
in August, Basilia Shivute and Conrad Brain
from Wilderness Safaris joined a group of
other researchers to conduct an aerial survey
of the known and suspected crane habitats
to assess the dry season range of these elusive
birds. Flying at 100 feet in a Cessna 206,
we systematically searched the north-eastern
fringes of the Etosha Pan and the wetlands
of Etosha from Lake Oponono along the Ekuma
River. An earlier wet season survey had yielded
just over 60 cranes in these areas and as
our dry season survey progressed we soon
realized that we were only going to find
a fraction of those encountered in the wet
season. In the end we found less than 30
cranes, which begged the question of where
the others had gone. The obvious next step
is to track some birds using satellite transmitters
and see if perhaps we are missing a new habitat
completely, possibly in southern Angola.
sighting of 17 birds was unforgettable. It
occurred south of Lake Oponono in a wetland
that was previously used by the South African
Air Force as a bombing range. The rusted
and burnt-out hulk of an armored vehicle
lies surrounded by old bomb craters and there
in the shade of the wreck, we found the biggest
group of cranes of the entire survey. For
us, this sight defined the concept of 'regeneration.'
Our Cessna now replaced the mirages; our
task was conservation and our mission to
enrich lives in the future by being able
to share them with animals like the majestic
The Duba Duma Challenge
WILDERNESS GUIDES TAKE ON THE DUBA
DUMA WILDERNESS CHALLENGE (25th - 31st
A team of Wilderness
Safaris guides will be crossing - on
foot - the remote wilderness gap between
the Okavango and the Linyanti. The
objective of this challenge is to create
further awareness of the Children in
the Wilderness programme.
the challenge at the hottest and most
difficult time of the year, with daily
temperatures approaching 40 degrees
Celsius, this will be a true test of
endurance. October is the last month
before the summer rains, bringing relief
to the hot, dry and dusty interior.
The four guides will walk 20km per
day through swamp, arid woodlands and
an area with possibly the densest free-roaming
elephant populations in Africa. Tony,
Gavin, Richard and Ant will commence
their challenge from Duba Plains, Wilderness
Safaris' most isolated camp in the
Okavango Delta. The grueling 5-day
walk will finish at DumaTau, 120 km
to the north-east in the Linyanti.
The guides will be roughing
it, sleeping under the stars, using their
guiding abilities to steer clear of predators,
scorpions and snakes which are at their
most prevalent during this time of
the year. Emergency water supplies,
dehydrated food and medical supplies
will be carried with the guides. As
a result of the extreme temperatures,
the group will only be able to move
in the early hours of the morning as
walking at night will be too dangerous.
All four guides have had extensive
trail experience in big game areas
and are excited at the prospect of
hiking through one of the wildest and
most remote places in Botswana.
Children in the Wilderness
is a non-profit environmental educational
program based in Botswana, Namibia,
Malawi, South Africa and the Seychelles.
The programme aims to create a network
of learning sanctuaries that uplifts,
conserves and cares for our children
and our planet. Since its inception
in 2001, Children in the Wilderness
Botswana, in conjunction with Wilderness
Safaris and Ngamiland Adventure Safaris
have hosted 700 children, in 4147 "children
in camp days". Through "edutainment"
we aim to provide Batswana children
with the opportunity to learn more
about the wildlife and environment
around them, whilst at the same time
developing their life skills and leadership
There are very few true
wilderness regions left in Africa.
The focus of Children in the Wilderness
is to expose the children to these
unique environments and, together with
environmental education, to inspire
our next generation of wildlife rangers,
researchers, conservationists and guides.
FIRE AT CHITABE
During mid September this year a fire
swept into the Chitabe concession from
the south and south west, or, from the
Gorokwe concession area of NG 32. Due to
the efforts of all staff and the availability
of equipment, the fire was prevented from
injuring any personnel or damaging any
property. This despite fairly strong winds
during the day.
- Sep 19
- Sep 29
I visited the concession on the 27th and
28th September, 2006 to carry out an on
the ground assessment of the severity and
extent of the fire, and the possible effects
on habitat and wildlife in the concession.
Firstly, it must be recognized
that, following rainfall of the past
season being well above average, two
things were evident.
1) The fuel load was higher than normal,
leading to the fire spreading a lot easier,
especially if fanned by brisk winds.
2) That many floodplains have been or are
still flooded, and that the groundwater
level is still very high in the area, especially
in dry floodplains and around inland pans.
The effects of the first
are that much of this fire may be referred
to as a "cool" burn.
In other words the fire moved very quickly
and caused very little damage to standing
trees. In fact, it was evident that even
dry bark, low on tree trunks, had not been
Secondly, due to the high
water table and availability of moisture
close to the root zone of grass types,
there has been an almost instantaneous
green "flush" of
grass, which has reached up to 8cm in as
little as a week. This has been aided by
the increases in temperature associated
with the onset of our summer months.
I have also estimated that only about
a fifth of the concession was affected
by the fire at all, and this consisted
of the extreme south and south western
areas. The remaining four fifths in fact
comprise the main safari area and have
not been affected at all.
Of the area burnt, about two thirds consists
of an elevated dry land area dominated
by loose Kgalagadi sands. The vegetation
type is typically acacia species, with
dotted stands of Lonchocarpus, scrub mopane
and young leadwood. The under story is
very dominated by wild sage, which forms
pure stands in some areas. It is a low
productivity area at this time of year,
except for the newly sprouting mopane scrub
which will attract elephant and giraffe.
The effect of fire on this area is minimal,
although the grass rooting zone is above
the water table due to the loose sands.
This grass will only recover after the
first rains which can come during October
The rest of the area burnt was floodplain,
heavily dominated by the grass Imperata
cylindrica or woolly topped grass. This
particular grass, well known to Okavango
dwellers, can become very pure stands on
floodplains alongside channels. It is not
grazed by any mammals once it reaches a
height of above 30cm, due to the high content
of silica in the leaves. However it is
highly sought after by many species of
mammals once it is burnt and flushes green
as it has done at Chitabe.
Despite the negatives surrounding the
near loss of the camp, the post fire effects
on this particular habitat, will actually
improve the concession enormously. Already,
impala, tsessebe, zebra, warthog and elephant
are using it as a chosen feeding area.
Added to the fresh, nutritious grasses,
is the factor of visibility. These animals
are able to feed on this resource without
being easily approached by predators, although
these will no doubt be attracted by the
numbers of animals on those floodplains.
A large herd of buffalo is already feeding
on the green flush on the north western
section of the burn.
Probably coincidental, but worth noting,
is the presence of large numbers of birds
along the waterways, despite one or both
banks having been burned. Pelicans, Yellow
Billed Storks, Ibis's, (or is it ibi?),
and many species of Egret and Heron are
In summation - despite the extreme dangers
to the camp and personnel at the time,
the Chitabe concession has actually been
improved by the fire. Much moribund and
non palatable species have been removed
and have been replaced by emergent, highly
palatable shoots. As mentioned before,
the game viewing etc will be better than
Remaining water in the floodplains is
now evaporating, creating large fields
of green grass, which is also attracting
herds of zebra and large flocks of birds.
Wilderness Safaris, Botswana.
/ GENERAL UPDATES
note that our Kafue camps will be closed
from November 2006 to May 2007 (not
April 2007 as previously reported).
are now available within Kafue National
Park between the various camps. This
20-minute flight offers a unique opportunity
to see the area from the air, greatly
enhancing guest experience of the Kafue.
Helicopters seat two people with luggage
and there are helipads at Lunga, Moshi
and a new one called Shumba, located
15 minutes’ drive
from all three of the Busanga Plains
Ongava camps are
now offering a sundowner drive instead
of night drives, as the dense bush
makes spotting nocturnal animals difficult.
In this way, sundowners will be enjoyed
on Ongava Reserve, a short drive back
will give guests a chance to see a
little early evening activity, after
which they can relax at the waterholes
in front of the camps where more animal
activity takes place in the evening.
Walking Trails are
now for one night only and not two
as previously. Walking Trails should
have a 3-night minimum stay in the
Chitabe concession, with the first
night being booked in either Main or
Trails camp, the 2nd night on the Walking
Trail and the 3rd night back at Main
or Trails camps. They will operate
from 01 May to 30 September only,
as the wetter summer months make it
too hot or the grass too high to walk
safely. A maximum of four guests are
accommodated on the trail at one time.
Eye of the
and Beverly Joubert have just
released another superb production:
Eye of the Leopard, the story
of LEgadima and Tortilis, two
very special leopards that live
Camp in the Okavango
Delta. The film, again in HD
format, was screened on National
Eye of the Leopard,
narrated by Jeremy Irons, is
the result of three years filming
in Mombo of the two leopards.
Described by Dereck and Beverly
as “a unique view of life
as a young leopard as she grows
up in one of the best leopard
regions of the world, a place
called Mombo in Botswana. It
is an intimate view of her life.”
Plains, a young female
leopard killed and ate a banded
mongoose in front of camp during
the earlier part of the day and
was seen later that same evening
at Little Somavundla, sprawled
out on a termite mound. A black-backed
jackal happened to trot on to the
scene and on discovering the leopard,
started to chase after the much
few days later, the same leopard was
seen in front of camp again – this
time carrying an African wildcat in
her mouth, which she had killed
and was about to start eating.
Suddenly a little black-backed
jackal ambushed her from out of
nowhere and chased her up a Leadwood
tree, with the wildcat still hanging
from her mouth! We can’t
help thinking that this angry little
jackal may be trying to avenge
the death of his mate, whom the
leopard had killed and dragged
up a tree last month.
Camp recently hosted a
watershed meeting of the Leadership
for Conservation in Africa initiative
in the north of Kruger. The conference,
which was instigated by Goldfield
and SANParks, hosted conservation
leaders from business, government
and conservation agencies from
all over Africa.
On a good
note, pilfering at Johannesburg
International Airport is
being curtailed and given highest priority
by Airports Company South Africa, with
22 arrests so far and the number of
survey analysts watching CC TV camera
footage doubled. However, please continue
to avoid putting valuables in your
Camp Update -
September 06 Jump
has been blessed with a number of rare sightings.
The best, and possibly rarest, was the appearance
of a pangolin! This fine specimen casually strolled
through the camp one evening, unfazed by the excited
fuss he caused. According to local custom and beliefs
the camp is now endowed with good fortune as the
pangolin is a harbinger of good luck.
sightings at Zib waterhole have been caracal cat
and reedbuck. The latter was once a common resident
of the area, but after so many years of poor floods
and rains they had all but disappeared. The recently
improved conditions bode well for a resurgence in
The wild dogs have also spent quite
a bit of time around Zibalianja Camp as they once
again use it as a favourite watering point. The
small pan seems to double as a playground as they
enjoy running, bathing and frolicking in the water.
western spillway (fed from the Okavango) has now
flooded so far along its length that it is less
than 26km from the headwaters of the eastern spillway
(fed from the Kwando). The eastern spillway has also
started to creep west again as the lower reaches
of the Kwando River swell from the Angolan rains.
wild dogs have provided the bulk of predator viewing
this month and we have almost lost count of the
number of kills they've made. One particular happy
story is the survival of a kudu cow. She had been
hounded and bitten by the pack in a protracted
chase before seeking refuge outside the CMU office.
Visibly shaken and tired, she managed to avoid further
harassment and after recovering wandered off back
into the woodland.
Although we await confirmation,
it seems that at long last Amber, our star leopard,
has her first litter of cubs. A very relaxed female
was seen with two little cubs in tow right in the
middle of Amber's core territory. Not long after
this, she was seen again on an impala kill with
a fleeting glimpse of a cub.
On the subject of cubs,
it looks like there may be more lion cubs in hiding.
Two lactating lionesses of the Selinda Pride are
restricting their activities to the floodplains
between Zibalianja Camp and the airstrip. We suspect
they have their charges safely tucked away somewhere
in the area.
How's this for an hour's night drive?
A fight between a jackal and an African wildcat
as she defended the lives of her three kittens;
an aardwolf sauntering along; an aardvark diving
for cover in its burrow, and finally, a half hour
with a male leopard as he called and marked territory!
of our maintenance crew had a problem fixing a
puncture recently whilst on an airstrip errand.
He was about to get out of the vehicle to attend
to the flat when a lioness came charging out the
sage bush in hot pursuit of a zebra! She caught and
killed it right in front of the vehicle!
Camp update - September 06 Jump
Once again, Selinda has left
us speechless. The Camp is looking spectacular as the renovations
near the end, and the renovated "Tents" are definitely getting their fair
share of "Oohs and Aahs".
I woke up the other morning and thought I was
in a barn. The soft melodious lowing of cattle echoed all around
me. I thought I was delusional after another long night of campfire
stories, so I sat up and peered out the side of my tent. What
I saw was a veritable oil slick of buffalo as far as the eye
could see - which is pretty far in these parts. It was a seething
mass of black bovines, the number of which I had never laid eyes
The time of the buffalo has definitely arrived
and with individual herds of thousands it's no wonder we are
seeing them all the time. Our lion prides are however still in
serious disarray after the disappearance of the three Brothers.
Consequently, the killing of buffalo by lions is not something
we are witnessing on as regular a basis as we used to. There
are two young males who have recently moved into the area and
are displaying signs of interest in claiming it as their territory.
They have been marking extensively and were even seen chasing
off and fighting a younger male who wondered into the area. One
member of the coalition has an opaque eye, probably due to a
childhood squabble of sorts, and this adds a whole new dimension
to the "look" he
gives you. Hopefully they will be the new rulers of this domain
we share and bring about a new pride which can take on the buffalo.
young bull elephant has been frequenting the camp and strutting
around here as if he owns the place, so we have named him DJ after
our owner of the camp - Dereck Joubert. He doesn't much appreciate
the manicured look our gardener has painstakingly created and has
taken it upon himself to redecorate. The palm trees and baobabs
have proven to be a favourite.
The game drives have been producing
regular sightings of elephant, buffalo and lion, for obvious
reasons. The wild dogs have not graced us with their den this
year but have been seen regularly hunting in the CMU and Zibalianja
Lagoon area. The pups are apparently near the age of mobility
and so the dogs will hopefully be spending more time in our area
as they hunt as a pack. The two cheetah brothers have not been
seen for a while. We hope they are still in good shape wherever
they may be. A young female has been making a regular appearance
though. Amber, our young female leopard, who is now a proud mother,
has been seen quite often with cub in tow, and occasionally with
her boyfriend as well. The night drives have been very fruitful
with regular sightings of African wildcats, serval, genets and
The water has not begun to recede yet, and a brief
chat with the Water Affairs Department revealed that they expect
the water levels to rise even more as they remove some blockages
upstream on the Kwando River. They are even preparing to build
a new bridge over the Savuti Channel which has been dry for a
number of years now and is flowing quite strongly as the water
pushes in. This is a phenomenon that I have not witnessed in
the six years of my association with this magical part of Botswana
and I am holding my breath in anticipation of what may develop
over the months to come.
Kings Pool Camp
update - September 06 Jump
to Kings Pool Camp
The month started
off still chilly in the mornings with cooler
days. Not so now! Approaching the end of month,
the average temperature was 36°C,
hot days dry up the waterholes and as the floodwaters
recede the game concentrates at water areas. Guests
have loved watching large elephant herds coming
down to drink and splash about during the midday
heat. Interestingly this year the elephant do not
seem nearly as stressed as they were same time
last year thanks to the good rains we had during
our summer, a welcomed relief for the camp as our
boardwalks have remained intact, minimal damage
caused by the wildlife so far! We are still waiting
for the hippo to move into the hippo pool in front
of camp, which means peaceful sleep for guests
without the very loud hippo chorus at night. The
hippo are still spread out, enjoying the privacy
of pools that would have otherwise been dried up
in past years but we have had terrific sightings
of hippo out of the water, eating during the day.
interesting elephant bull has moved into camp
with a back left leg appearing to be fused many
years ago impairing his walking dramatically.
The spine slopes down to his left hand side but
apart from his injury it does not appear to hinder
his wellbeing as he is fully grown and otherwise
The camp still has the injured
sub-adult hippo seeking refuge from the neighbouring
male. Most sightings we have of him are with
fresh scars from a recent fight.
who has moved into the camp area is one female
lion. She is mature female who was in very bad
condition, but reports have been that she is
getting better. She has been seen near camp feeding
on a baboon kill. Her lethargy and extremely
bad condition alarmed us and we thought she did
not have long to live, ahead of her natural mortality.
At one stage our guides were unhappy to show her
to guests, as she was looking so bad but we hope
that she will improve. She used to hang around
another Kings Pool female with 3 cubs but the Border
Boys moved in and had an interaction whereby the
mother and cubs were scared off and now this Kings
Pool pride female survives on her own.
seen are the Chobe Boys, sharing food and often
around the Selinda female and her two young cubs,
an indication that one of Chobe Boys is the father.
Tshaba Male, who used to belong to Savuti Pride,
was chased off together with his brother, by the
Border Boys several months back but has now been
seen alone when usually seen with his brother.
No one can be sure where or what has happened to
The Border Boys, four big male
lions, have been seen a lot. They recently killed
a buffalo with a wonderful sighting of the other
buffalo chasing the lions off the carcass. This
pride are famed for killing hippo but the buffalo
kills indicate that they have switched their
diet due to hippo not moving as far enough away
from the water as the grazing is so bad making
it too challenging to catch and the buffalo are
This month an impressive number
of buffalo have been seen. One specific sighting
saw two different herds of about 500 individuals
each, coming from different areas congregating
at one sighting. The following day they went
their separate ways.
Leopard sightings have been
frequent. The Boscia female with her daughter,
Motopi, (the father is Thonningii) and the Thonningii
female has also been seen during the month. She
was usually seen with her daughter named Moumomo;
however the daughter was last seen pregnant in
late June but no sightings since. Guides suspect
they are seeing her tracks but are not sure.
The Calcrete female has been seen lactating.
The guides believe cubs are about, but no one
has sighted them yet. A new male and big female
leopard have been seen but are very shy and so
have not been identified.
Cheetah sightings were
quiet at the beginning of the month but at last
a female cheetah was spotted! In previous years
as water becomes limited we tend to have an increase
in cheetah sightings, which are those moving
up from the Savuti Marsh in the Chobe area.
The wild dogs have moved out of
the den and guests have enjoyed hours watching
the six pups playing amongst the twelve adults.
The pack is easily mobile now and moves between
DumaTau and Kings Pool areas. Another male and
female have also been seen on separate sightings,
which are thought to be part of this same pack,
a potential short term split, but we are not
A sighting of sable and another
of roan were a delight!
A few unusual or rarer sightings have been the
bat-eared foxes, white-tailed mongoose, civet near
camp and very exciting sighting of five honey badgers
in one game drive, a family of three and a pair.
the feathery front best sightings have been 2 large
nesting colonies of Carmine Bee-eaters, the larger
colony consisted of several hundred and the other
of about 100 birds. Some rare bird sightings are
4 Coqui Franklin and 2 Burchell's Sandgrouse. Moving
into the concession last month were 3 Western Banded
Snake Eagles as well as the three Wahlberg's Eagles,
seen by our guides. The Long-crested Eagle that
has been seen all winter has now left the concession
and numerous White-backed and Hooded Vulture nests
are seen around Strangler Fig junction.
hyaena been seen around the sunken hide enjoying
wallowing in the water as the temperatures continue
to rise. And their paw marks appear regularly
in the sandy pathways in camp.
Perhaps the most
emotional sighting enjoyed by guests was the
birth of an elephant. They were deeply moved
as they watched the interaction amongst the herd,
as they helped the baby stand up, gently supporting
it with their trunks, so gentle and loving, with
each one seemingly introducing themselves to
their newest member of the family.
To quote from a guest staying
with us this month, "it
is hard to pick a highlight, Kings Pool is a
charm and we can only hope to come back to see
See you soon,
The Kings Pool Team
Camps Update - September 06
Lagoon camp Jump
• A pair of dominant
male lions accompanied by a pair of lionesses
were found hunting on an island, and followed
for some time.
• A mating pair of lions were found and the
process was seen over a period of a few
• 2 male lions were found on a buffalo kill,
while 2 lionesses and another male were
found on another kill.
• A pride of 5 lions wandered past
the camp a few mornings ago.
• An adult female leopard managed to kill
a buffalo calf, and was found feeding on
it with her pair of 8 week-old cubs. They
were initially nervous but became more
relaxed providing excellent viewing over
a few days.
• A pair of male cheetah were followed
hunting but were not seen making a kill.
• The Lagoon pack of 6 wild dogs was
seen several times, resting as well as
hunting but were not seem making any kills.
• Excellent numbers of elephant seen
in the area – larger numbers of both
breeding and bachelor herds as all the
pans dry up. Some of the breeding herds
are quite aggressive – an indication
of stress at the end of the very long dry
• Large numbers of buffalo are seen
daily in several herds both north and south
of the camp – usually moving to and
from watering holes and resting up at night
in open woodlands (a few times right next
to the camp).
• Night sightings include hyenas, jackal
(both species), African wild cat, civet,
lesser bushbaby, white-tailed mongoose,
caracal (seen every night last week), springhares,
scrub-hares, serval, porcupine, and numerous
• General game has been good including sable
and roan antelope, impala, warthogs, giraffe,
zebra, tsessebe, kudu, waterbuck, lechwe,
wildebeest as well as chacma baboons and
• The birding has been good with ground hornbills,
ostrich, both oxpecker species, large numbers
of carmines, rosy-throated longclaw, 6
owl species, as well as excellent sightings
of both water-birds and raptors.
Kwara camp Jump
• 2 adult male
lions were found and followed moving around
marking their territory.
• Another 2 adult male lions were
found resting close to the boat station
(small surprise for guests disembarking).
• 4 lionesses together with 2 three-month
old cube were found feeding on an impala.
• A pride of 7 lionesses was followed hunting
as well as a pride of 8 – both without
making a kill.
• An adult female leopards was followed hunting
and marking her territory – she was
very relaxed and provided an excellent
sighting. There were several other sightings
of leopards, moving around and hunting.
• 3 Male cheetah were found hunting – they
missed their quarry.
• A number of different elephant bulls
were seen feeding around the lush channels,
and still are frequenting the camp daily
as well as making good use of the expanse
of water in from of the camp.
• A couple of small breeding herds of elephants
were also seen.
• Several small herds of buffalo (max 200)
were seen throughout the concession, moving
down to water in the morning.
• Carmine bee-eaters were found nesting
at 4-rivers. Another highlight was a rare
sighting of a Bat hawk. Guests also had
good sightings of various raptor and vulture
species, ground hornbills, and excellent
water-birds both at the pan in front of
the camp and at the heronry.
• Night drives yielded aardwolf, both
jackal species, hyenas, African wild cat,
civet, as well as several serval and honey
• General game good – including
baboons, zebra, tsessebe, giraffe, red
lechwe, impala, kudu, warthog, waterbuck
as well as a rare sitatunga seen from the
air close to the airstrip.
Lebala camp Jump
• A single lioness
was found hunting wildebeest on Crane road – she
was then followed pursuing a herd of buffalo,
and a couple of days later found feeding
on a buffalo calf for 3 days.
• A pride of 4 lionesses was found feeding
on a buffalo close to Twin Pools while the
single lioness took a stroll through the
camp past tent 8. The pride of 4 later killed
another buffalo calf near to Skimmer pan,
and a week later were found sharing an adult
buffalo with a pair of male lions.
• 4 young male lions were found watching
and following a herd of buffalo for several
days being repulsed by the buffalo numerous
times. They later chased a warthog without
success. Finally they were found feeding
on a buffalo bull just north of Baobab road.
• A very relaxed male leopard was found and
followed hunting along Vlei rd, while a relaxed
female leopard was followed hunting just
south of the camp a couple of times – she
caught and ate two mice while hunting through
the long grass.
• An adult female cheetah was found several
days in a row hunting around the camp areas.
• A pair of male cheetah was found resting
in the shade of a tree just north of the
camp – they were later found feeding
on a warthog piglet, and then seen heading
off west moving through their home range.
• Large numbers of elephants spread across
the floodplains – guides estimate them
numbering over a thousand made up of several
smaller herds together. Breeding herds of
elephants have been moving through the camp
nightly as well, disturbing the hippo’s
nightly foray’s as well as some guests
• Huge herds of buffalo – largest c.1500
seen crossing the floodplains north and south
of the camp, as well as giving guests and
guides a few surprises in the camp at night.
• Excellent bird-watching with most of the
summer migrants already in full attendance – yellow-billed
kites, carmine bee-eaters, ruffs, sandpipers,
and other water-birds as well as saddle-billed
storks, kori bustards, secretary birds and
ground hornbills. Aggressive bird behavior
is also often giving away positions of snakes
including mambas, a boomslang, and a mole-snake.
• Good general game including zebra,
wildebeest, impala, waterbuck and reedbuck
as well as giraffe, grey duiker, sable (herd
of 10) and roan antelope, kudu, warthogs,
and tsessebe as well as lots of hippo and
a bonus of honey-badgers hunting during the
• Night drives yielded civet, serval, selous
mongoose, aardvark, African wild cats every
night, and a wonderful black-backed jackal
den with 4 puppies seen with both adults.
An interesting highlight was a pack of hyena
chasing an elephant calf around a thick woodland
with its mother frantically warding them
off – the following morning guides
found a dead hyena in the vicinity – it
was being cannibalized by other hyenas.
Little Kwara camp
• Two large male lions
was found and followed for a while – then
guides found a pride of four lionesses out hunting
with their two cubs.
• A pride of three adult male lions, four lionesses
and (accompanied by two 3 week-old cubs) were
seen taking down an adult buffalo bull. Later
one of the lions was seen mating with one of
• This pride of seven adults were also seen killing
an impala just west of the camp.
• Five other lions, three adult lionesses and two
cubs were found hunting in the far eastern part
of the traverse area.
• A big female leopard killed a reedbuck
just west of Main Kwara, while a shy male was
located near Poison crossing.
• An adult female and her suckling cub were
found and watched for some time – there
were several other sightings of relaxed female
• A coalition of three adult male cheetah
were found relaxing under a large baobab – they
were well-fed. Later they were found again having
moved and were hunting across the Tsum tsum floodplains – they
chased a reedbuck but were not successful.
• A pack of three male wild dogs was found feeding
on an impala.
• Breeding herds of elephants are now being more
frequently in the southern concession moving
across the floodplains to the delta channels.
• Bachelor herds of elephants still seen
frequently in and around the camp day and night.
• A herd of buffalo numbering around 200
strong has been in the Kwara area over the last
• Guests continue to have excellent bird
sightings on game drive, as well as from the
mekoros, boat trips and walks – the summer migrants
are seen on full force and there have been numerous
interesting sightings of snakes and frogs as
• The general game is good especially along
the receding water-edges of the floodplains – include
zebra, giraffe, impala, baboon, kudu as well
as sable antelope.
• Interesting nocturnal species include
serval, civet, African wild cat, genets, and
porcupine while guests saw a honey badger kill
and eat a snake.
Mombo Camp update
- September 06 Jump
to Mombo Camp
Spring weather began this month,
with the windy weather continuing from August almost throughout
September. The average minimum temperature was 12.5°C and maximum was 29.7°C.
The month's average temperature was about 21°C. The coldest
min recorded was on the 6th of September and was 10°C and
the hottest was 32°C which was recorded on the 16th and a
couple of days after. The first week of this month has been a
little cooler and pleasant .In the mid-weeks of the month, we
experienced much warmer temperatures and the last week of the
month there has been a few clouds in the sky justifying September
as one of the transitional month of the seasons.
The water in all the floodplains has disappeared which is a true
reflection of the flood moving further away from us filling
the Thamalekane River south of us. All the water pans in the
area, Honeymoon Pan, Lethlaka Pan and many others are completely
dry. Trees are showing new shoots awaiting the summer rains.
Some trees like Acacias, Sausage trees and Rain trees are flowering
already, so that the pleasant smell from the flowers is everywhere.
The Palm trees are on their last stock of palm nuts since the
elephants are making sure that every nut is fully utilized!
Around the camp itself, we have had unbelievable successive sightings
of lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard, porcupine and sometimes
There were about 40 lion sightings this month recorded by guides
on game drive. This included the 10 sightings of the famous
Matatha Pride which consists of 28 adults, a couple of sub-adults
and four dominant males which justify the size of this pride.
The pride's territory borders that of another well-known pride
- the 24 strong Maporota Pride. This pride has young cubs which
are about 4 months old.
In addition, there are other prides which hang around the borders
of the two big prides and have been wandering around camp. There
was a lioness with her 2 sub-adult male cubs. An early morning
sighting of these three lying on the beautiful flood plains formed
the view from the Mombo main area on a couple of occasions. We
have also had two nomadic males which were sighted in camp about
three times this month. On one evening, they walked across the
floodplain in front of the dining area, roaring and this was
just after guests had returned back from their drive, some were
in their room and some were by the bar area being witness to
this magical moment at Mombo.
Mombo, being an area well known for its predators, still has
a lot of unknown lions passing through the area (nomads) some
sightings of them in anticipation of increasing their population
by mating with the resident females.
After a long time, a leopard known as Legadima who was born and
bred in the territory which included the camp area in it, has
been spotted in camp almost every week. The first time she
was recorded in September was when she killed a monkey behind
the camp and pulled her kill to Little Mombo Camp, where she
stayed for about three days; after feeding on her monkey she
then disappeared into the rest of her territory.
It did not
even take a week and Legadima was hungry again and she was
seen on the afternoon of the 5th killing an impala on the floodplain
behind Tent 3 closer to the management houses. She then dragged
this male impala for about 100 metres across the open floodplain
to a nice shady Jackalberry tree where she then took it up
the tree - none of us thought that she was going to succeed
in pulling this impala up the tree .We had good views of her
for about three days. This was really a highlight since this
was of her first big kill recorded in Mombo and all the guests
who stayed with us got a chance to see her in action. Adding
to the above sightings, the guides spotted a couple more leopards
in the area.
Jimmy the hyaena which was relocated in July after she was rated
one of the problem animals by the Botswana Wildlife Department
seems to have groomed her successor since we are experiencing
more or less the same damages in camp thanks to another hyaena!
A lot more hyaena were spotted, especially on lion kills.
Regardless of the lion population growing bigger, thereby keeping
down the numbers of other predators such as cheetah, a total
of 10 nomadic cheetah sightings were recorded this month and
these included two solitary males and one female with three
cubs. The guides are convinced that this female cheetah had
more than three and she might have lost the rest to hyaena
- this is because on different occasions she was seen with
hyaena wandering around her hunting grounds. In the last week
of the month, the game has been unbelievable, one of the male
cheetah was found chasing and killing a big red lechwe ram.
There have been a number of good wild dog sightings. The guides
were also under the impression that the Alfa female in the
resident pack of dogs was nursing young ones. After a couple
of days they found out that she probably had lost the pups
to an unknown predator since she was seen moving around on
her own in search of the other pack members. She was also spotted
on a very successful hunt when she took down an impala which
she chased across one of the shallow channels of the Delta
close to the famous Mombo hippo hide.
The guides also tracked a pack of five dogs which were collared;
apparently the wild dog researcher at Chitabe said these came
from Chitabe area. It is wonderful to have dogs coming into the
area once again.
There were about ten rhino sightings this month. These included
the newly-born rhino which Poster, Mombo's rhino tracker found
about two weeks ago. This sighting was a proof of the success
of the whole rhino reintroduction within the area that first
began five years ago. Most of the rhino have settled into their
favourite feeding grounds and have been monitored by the anti-poaching
unit of Botswana with Wilderness Safaris' "rhino man" Poster.
Magee and Jacky, the two biggest bulls, have been showing up
in the area called Sand Valley in the Mombo concession with
the other two females and their cubs and have been relaxed
with vehicle around them.
This month has been an amazing one where by big herds of elephants
were recorded, also big herds buffalo were seen close to the
camp. Giraffe, impala, kudu, wildebeest, red lechwe etc.
These are just a few comments from the guests.
-The excellence of game viewing and all the camp staff and guides
-We can not speak highly enough of Mombo - a magical place
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