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AFRICAN SAFARI NEWS

February 2007
(Page 1 of 2)

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

• North Island Dive Report from the Seychelles.
• Monthly update from DumaTau Camp in Botswana.
Kwando Safaris game reports.
• Monthly update from Jack's & San Camps in Botswana.

Page 2 Updates
• Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Kwetsani Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Jao Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Vumbura Plains in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Pafuri Camp in South Africa.

Turtle news from Rocktail Bay in South Africa.
Monthly Dive report from Rocktail Bay in South Africa.

• Monthly update from Serra Cafema Camp in Namibia.
• Taking time to see Ostriches in Namibia.
• Take a look at Super Predators in Namibia.


Wilderness Safaris Updates - February 2007

ZAMBIA UPDATES
Wilderness Safaris enters South Luangwa
South Luangwa National Park, ZambiaWilderness Safaris’ newest camp is in the South Luangwa National Park, one of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries. It is here that walking safaris were pioneered in the 1950s and the variety of habitats, from the cool hills of the Muchinga Escarpment to the spectacular oxbow lagoons and open sandbanks of the Luangwa River, support one of the most diverse and concentrated populations of wild animals in the world.

Wilderness Safaris’ new Kalamu Tented Camp is situated in the Luamfwa area in the southern section of the South Luangwa. One of the most remote areas in the Park, the Luamfwa is a true wilderness location, with incredible species diversity and endemics such as the Thornicroft’s giraffe. Kalamu is a traditional Zambian Classic camp, accommodating six guests and located on the banks of the South Luangwa River. South Luangwa is considered the premier walking destination in southern Africa, so walking safaris are a must here. A private airstrip ensures easy access.


Zambia camps - Dates of operation
The operating dates for Wilderness Safaris' Zambia camps for the 2007 season are as follows:

1 May – Shumba Camp and Lunga River Lodge open.
1 June – Busanga Bush Camp and Kapinga Camp open
1 July – Lufupa open
30 November – Kapinga, Busanga Bush Camp and Lunga River Lodge close
3 January 2008 – Shumba and Lufupa close

Kapinga and Busanga Bush Camps, previously 6-bedded camps have opened to full capacity of 8-bedded camps – and provide a discount for sole use, meaning that when there are 8 guests taking sole use of the camp, they will receive a special rate and pay only for 6 guests.

In the South Luangwa National Park, Kalamu Tented Camp will be celebrating its opening with a special introductory offer for all new bookings for this year.


New Zambia Exploration Safari
The rivers of the Kafue National Park just beg to be explored, so we’re thrilled to announce a new Exploration safari that does just that. "Kafue’s Rivers and Plains" is a Discoverer Exploration that takes in the Kafue, Lufupa and Lunga rivers along with the Busanga Plains through which these tributaries of the Kafue River flow.

Kafue’s Rivers and Plains

Fantastic wildlife sightings in this enormous and underdeveloped pristine wilderness area include an impressive variety of plains game as well as lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, buffalo and hippo. In addition, the Kafue conserves some species of special interest including Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, sable, roan, puku, the diminutive oribi, and, incredibly, lechwe in their thousands. Accommodation for the 7-night, 8-day Exploration is in Lufupa Camp, Musanza Tented Camp and Lunga River Lodge.


Simonga Village
The River Club and Simonga Village was honoured to receive a visit from the United States ambassador to Zambia, Carmen Martinez. This occurred after Peter Jones met the Ambassador at a meeting in Livingstone concerning the US President's emergency plan for AIDS relief in Zambia. During her busy schedule the Ambassador was met by the head of Simonga Village, Inonge Imosho, and a group of cheerful singing schoolchildren from the local school at the proposed site of the Simonga health post. The children had coloured in American flags which they waved enthusiastically in greeting!

United States ambassador to Zambia, Carmen Martinez at Simonga Village, Zambia

The Ambassador toured the site and learnt of the progress that has been made and of the funding that The River Club had raised so far. She went on to tour two other projects run by The River Club in Simonga, namely the water project, supplying 50,000 litres of clean water each day to the villagers, and to one of the Elephant Pepper Project sites.

The ambassador with her husband and her staff later had an informal lunch at The River Club where they learned about other social development projects that the lodge has undertaken and hoped that there might be scope for future work together in the medical effort against AIDS.


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NAMIBIA UPDATES
A matter of urgency
Globally sea turtles are in trouble. Adults are killed, nests are plundered and in the Pacific, they are all but extinct. Africa's west coast is now assuming an important, possibly critical, role as an area of sea turtle development, nesting and an area of rich feeding opportunities. However, very little is known about sea turtle ecology in this vast region and any snippets of information that can be gleaned are important in developing an overall understanding of these creatures in that area and for future conservation.

Off the Namibian coastline, various species of sea turtles - notably leatherbacks, loggerheads and green turtles - are regularly sighted, feeding and very occasionally beaching for short periods.

A leatherback turtle off Walvis Bay, Namibia
A leatherback turtle off Walvis Bay, Namibia

Huge jellyfish swarms off the Namibian coast have recently been associated with large numbers of leatherback turtles and sightings from Rocky Point in the north, to Sylvia Hill in the south, have been made. A handful of dead leatherbacks have also washed up on the Namibian coastline and most appear to have died from ingesting plastic or rubber which obstructs their digestive systems.

Of particular interest is that no sea turtles have ever been recorded to nest on Namibian beaches. The reason for this is unknown but it is of particular significance that just north of the Kunene mouth, turtles annually accumulate and nest on Angolan beaches. Nesting generally starts in late October and continues through January. Green turtles are usually the first to come up onto the beach followed by loggerhead and leatherbacks. Nests can be quite densely situated with more than a thousand in a six-kilometre stretch of beach.

Fishermen butcher a green turtle just north of the Kunene Mouth
Fishermen butcher a green turtle just north of the Kunene Mouth

On the nesting beaches they are particularly vulnerable to slaughter by local fishermen. Nests are also frequently plundered by humans. All in all, from the point of view of conservation and ecology, cooperation between Namibia and Angola becomes vital. To this end, Wilderness Safaris has started a conservation initiative combining both countries with the aim of securing nesting beaches in southern Angola and monitoring feeding and development in Namibian waters.

The project is in its infancy but great strides have been made in securing at least one beach in southern Angola and consolidating data regarding sea turtles in Namibian waters. One current conservation drive is to initiate the use of Sefofane aircraft for the sighting and recording of turtles on regular scheduled scenic flights and to identify nesting beaches. An airborne "Enviro-watch" such as this will significantly add to the conservation drive. Besides the turtles themselves, they are important indicators of ocean health and are rapid indicators of change in the ocean environment. For these reasons it becomes increasingly important we take more notice of these creatures, and where possible, include their monitoring in our daily business.

Newly hatched turtles head for the sea on a beach in southern Angola
Newly hatched turtles head for the sea on a beach in southern Angola

Newsletter by: Conrad Brian


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ZIMBABWE UPDATES
Snare removed from wild dog
Location: Wexau Pan, Hwange National Park
Date: 8 March 2007
Observers: Willem Botha

We had a rather sad incident happening yesterday. On a pump run the day before yesterday (to refuel various borehole pumps across the concession) we spotted a lone male wild dog lying close to the water at Wexau Pan. He seemed to be very thin and injured. Taking a closer look we realised that he had managed to break free from a wire snare and had it entangled around his neck. We also noticed that he had a radio collar. We went straight back to camp and tried to contact the Painted Dog Research team in Dete in the north of Hwange National Park, to report this case but to no avail. We later relayed the message via our Head Office in Victoria Falls.

Wild dog caught in a snare - Hwange NP     Rescued wild dog - Hwange NP     Attempting to save the snared wild dog in Hwange NP

We went back to Wexau yesterday morning to see if we could still see him there to do a follow-up report with the Painted Dog researchers. At lunch time the team arrived and we escorted them to where we last sighted the dog. We could not find him at first but after using the tracking device they soon located him and identified him as dog number 39, part of the Imtshibi Pack at Hwange Main Camp. His name was 'Beans'.

The researchers assessed the situation and due to his poor condition decided to remove him to their rehabilitation centre in Dete. We assisted with everything and were ecstatic to have been able to help save one of our most endangered animals! In situations such as this, and dependent on the speedy recovery of the animal, the chances are very good of releasing specific wild dogs back into their original packs and we hoped this would be the case with Beans.

We received some sad news this morning however. Beans died yesterday afternoon. According to the Painted Dog Research team the injuries were really severe and though they did what they could to keep him alive they were unable to save him.


Unusual elephant sighting in Hwange
Location: Little Makalolo, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe (Airstrip Pan 2)
Date: 3 December 2006 (17h38)
Observers: Sacha Toronyi & Tamlyn Kluckow

The pan featured in the below photographs (Airstrip 2 Pan) is situated along a fossilised river which runs through Hwange National Park and all the way into neighbouring Botswana. It is now grassland and it is flanked on either side by Teak forest. The next waterhole from here is 10km away in either direction along the fossil riverbed.

On an evening game drive, we set up sundowners close to the pan and observed a herd of elephants making their way down to drink. It was a small herd of 12 individuals. There were five large adult cows with youngsters of varying ages. The female in the lead was closely followed by her young calf of approximately one and a half years old.

Albino elephant at Makalolo, Zimbabwe

As they arrived at the water in a cloud of dust and our amazement for these large animals subsided, we observed that the calf of what appeared to be the matriarchal cow was different. At first, looking at its light blue eyes, we thought it was blind. Then, at taking a closer look we noticed that the body was mottled pink - in particular under its belly, front and back legs, halfway up to the right hand side eye and up two thirds of its trunk. The upper section of the trunk had normal pigment.

The young female seemed to interact perfectly with the rest of the herd and was treated as an equal by the other youngsters. She spent most of her time playing, rolling and splashing in the water with another young calf of the same age and did not seem to be stressed or affected by her condition and carried on like any other ordinary healthy elephant calf.

According to Dr Ian Whyte, elephant specialist at South Africa's Kruger National Park, the young elephant is indeed partially albino, a condition that has been noted in a handful of young elephants in that park. "These have been young elephants (some very small babies) and it is not sure what becomes of them. It seems unlikely that they would grow darker with age as albinism is a permanent condition, but these young albino elephants seem to disappear. There have been at least two cases recently (of which I am aware) where such young albinos have been photographed. They have not been reported since. No one knows what becomes of them, though the mothers and families seem to treat them normally. Perhaps the albinistic condition does not protect them adequately from the sun which might result in some form of mortality related to over-exposure."

Elephant - Makalolo Plains, Zimbabwe

We'll certainly be keeping our eyes open and trying to keep track of the fortunes of this little elephant.

During the same sighting we noticed an unusually marked elephant bull which also came down to drink. He had an extensive v-shaped callous on the upper trunk in line with the tusks with a flap of skin protruding from this scarring. In our small group there was a lot of speculation as to the cause of this some reasons advanced including fight injuries or damage from feeding on trees and so slicing his trunk open to create an injury or a growth of some sort. According to Dr Whyte, the fight injury hypothesis is most likely with the resultant wounds developing unusually severe scar tissue. In other words the wounds on this elephant are most likely to have come from tusk wounds while sparring with other young elephants.


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CAMP UPDATES
New concertina action screen doors at River Club in ZambiaThe River Club has recently added concertina action screen doors to the chalet fronts. These allow guests to have their rooms completely open to the riverine canopy by day (as was always the case in the past) or closed in at night in order to prevent access by insects attracted by the lights.

An extra toilet has been added to the double storey chalets, a tennis court and 2km running track through the grounds of the lodge are all in the works to be completed by June 2007. As usual The River Club is also hosting the annual Oxford/Cambridge Boat Regatta which is planned for 10-16 September this year.


Vegetable garden

Vegetable garden at Kulala Desert Lodge, NamibiaMore on the vegetable garden at Kulala Desert Lodge built by OZQUEST and which is slowly proving its worth: Treated water from an above ground sewerage system is fed into the garden as a means of watering it in the extremely dry environment in the Namib Desert.

Surplus produce not utilized by the camps generates revenue which is donated to Children in the Wilderness (Namibia). As this proves successful OZQUEST are considering building others elsewhere in Namibia and using it as an example of the sustainable use of water in the arid regions of Namibia.


Pafuri Flight update

Sefofane Air Charters has launched a new flight from Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg to Pafuri Camp in the Kruger National Park. The route will be operated four or five times a week. Daily flights between Pafuri and Lowveld properties in areas like Sabi Sands and Timbavati will also be available. Wilderness Safaris has also introduced a new Pafuri-Londolozi package.

At Xigera Camp in Botswana, one of the existing twin bedrooms has been converted into a honeymoon room – making the configuration at this camp 3 honeymoon and 7 twin rooms.


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Seychelles / North Island
North Island Dive Report - February 07               Jump to North Island

February has been a good month in the water with some nice clear visibility, at times up to 30 metres! The rainy season has also started to abate which has meant more sunshine above and below the water. Water temperature has been a balmy 29°C and we have seen a consistent north-west and north-east wind direction.

With the calm conditions we have started diving one of our lesser explored spots called "Outer Banks" and have had some very rewarding diving here. It seems the Nurse Sharks or Giant Sleepy Sharks have made this area a meeting ground of sorts. We have had sightings of up to eight different Nurse Sharks from 1 metre up to 3 metres in length! These sharks love to sleep and don't do much else, hence the name "Sleepy Sharks". Schools of eight or nine Longtail Ribbontail Stingrays have been a regular occurrence here as well as many Lionfish all over this reef and a number of turtle sightings.

The Eagle Rays seem to have made their home for the summer on the southern beach of North Island called "Petit Anse. The juveniles have been sighted daily here playing in the shallows, while the bigger adults have been seen more on the west side of the island on our local reef diving and snorkelling spots.

Three people took the plunge and were introduced to the underwater world this month. They had some great dives while completing their PADI Scuba Diver and Open Water qualifications.

On the fishing side we are seeing many different species of fish which is promising as we come into the months of March and April which generally produce some good fishing. We have had a number of medium-sized Dorado and also a few fairly big Wahoo and Jobfish. The Billfish still seem to be very scarce as do the Yellowfin and Dogtooth Tuna. This seems more and more to be a trend in the inner banks of the Seychelles, and we can only attribute this scarcity to the number of longline boats going out of the Mahé harbour.

The weather and sea conditions should get better and better as we come into March and April, which are renowned for being two of the best months for diving.

FISH CATCH STATISTICS
TYPE - QUANTITY
Dorado - 4 (average 5 kg)
Bonito - 7 (average 1 kg)
Yellow Fin Tuna - 1 (10kg)
Job Fish - 4 (average 5 kg)
Travelly - 0
Wahoo - 2 (average 8 kg)
Sailfish - 0
Rainbow Runner - 0
Barracuda - 5 (average 6 kg)

Clive Scherer

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Botswana Camps
DumaTau Camp update - February 07                Jump to DumaTau Camp

We would like to say a BIG thank you to all those involved in changing our bar area around. There was a lot of hard work put into a very short time. It is stunning, and has made an enormous difference to the feel of the main area. Other renovations include the sprucing up of the outside and inside showers, as well the positioning of sliding doors to replace the old doors that had come to the end of their lives. We look forward to more changes at DumaTau in the next few months to get this beautiful camp into tip top shape.

Zibadianja Lagoon, northern Botswana

Just when we thought we were not going to get rain we woke up to very overcast weather today and it rained for the rest of the day. A couple of other thunderstorms have given us some exceptional sunsets as well as sunrises, while water level in front of camp is on the rise. There are lots of water lilies now and beautiful wildflowers. Minimum average temperature this month: 20°C. Maximum average temperature: 29°C. Rainfall so far this season is 364mm.

With so much vegetation in and around camp, who can blame the family of warthogs for preferring to hang out here than go into the bush for food, or the troop of baboons who have discovered the Bird Plum/Brown Ivory fruits and live in camp all day, to say nothing of the family of banded mongoose who are permanently somewhere in camp and shouting at staff as we walk past them on the boardwalks. They have a few babies, nobody has been able to see how many, but there have also been few fatalities along the way being so close to the baboons. After dark the camp staff have had a few heart stopping moments when we have bumped into the honey badgers that forage around the camp at night. It is very exciting to see them.

Leopard kill outside Tent 6

The "Osprey female" leopard has taken advantage of the resident baboons; the nights resound with their alarm calls and on more than several occasions, the young female has joined us for early morning breakfast with her own kind of snack outside Tent 6.

The most exciting thing so far is how far up the Savuti Channel the water has gone; it is at "Hippo Bones" already, and the water is still moving. Perhaps this year it will reach further than last year? The water birds are incredible, making this a birder's paradise.

There is not much change in the vegetation and it is still very thick and green. One of the delights still around is the Carmine Bee-eaters who, while the game drive vehicles are driving through all the long grass, fly along with us catching all the insects that get disturbed by the vehicles. A family of Secretarybirds can more often than not also be seen hunting in the channel and the Ground Hornbills are always a treat to find - an exciting sighting saw one catch a snake. Kori Bustards have still been giving free rides to the Carmine Bee-eaters while foraging through the long grass. We have also seen a number of Ostriches around, although have not seen any chicks as yet. A Gymnogene has been sighted hunting in the channel as well. We have also seen an African Skimmer at Zib Lagoon, and a White-headed Vulture at Rock Pan, which is a special sighting. Lots of White-faced Ducks and Red-billed Teals are congregating at Hippo Bones. Hippo Pan is now drying out and we have had awesome sightings of the Marabou Storks catching frogs. Sharing this pan are some Hottentot Teals.

In general, the game has been very good. We have had fantastic sightings of the Savuti Boys (male lions) and the Selinda lioness with her sub-adult cubs which are doing very well. We have also sighted the Rock Pan Female leopard who has a young cub and we think she is about 2-3 months old.

Savuti Channel      Flame Lily

We have not seen the cheetah brothers regularly this month, with only two sightings recorded. The wild dogs (10 adults, 6 sub-adults) have however been sighted and even caught in the act of killing a female impala! Guests were ecstatic to see that. On the afternoon of the 27th, both guests in game drive vehicles and staff got to see five of the wild dogs kill an Impala at the entrance of the staff village. There was great excitement as they did not have to go far for an awesome sighting.

We had one sighting of a serval at "Mopane Junction". Another awesome sighting was that of a caracal in broad daylight in the Savuti Channel. There have been a couple of elephants seen, but not many yet around camp, although we did see a nice female herd cross the channel in front of camp, there were a few calves there too.

The channel with its bountiful varieties of different grasses - Signal grass, Finger grass, Crowfoot grass, Bur Bristle grass to name a few - has attracted large numbers of zebra, buffalo, wildebeest and tsessebe. Other interesting sightings this month included African wildcat, large and small spotted genets, lots of spring hares, hippos, bat-eared foxes and honey badgers. Side-striped and black-backed jackals have also provided some interesting sightings.

Some of the guest's comments for the month have been;

Highlight - "the hospitality of the staff and the comfort of the camp, the expertise of the guides and the quality of the food."
Highlight - "seeing the Wild Dogs and Leopard".
Highlight - "Theba made our experience here special. I learned more in 3 days than l have in a lifetime".
Highlight - "Ban's incredible knowledge. Fantastic food and great people."
Highlight - "Oaitse's tracking and getting to see Lion and Leopard. Food was fantastic."

We would like to say thank you to everybody and look forward to seeing you in the year.

The DumaTau Team


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Kwando Safari Camps Update - February 07

Lagoon camp               Jump to Lagoon Camp
(Weeks 1-2)
• A new pride of lion has been sighted - the 2 shy females and their 6 cubs (6 months old) made a brief appearance for two days
• No leopard sighted but tracks seen and one heard calling just outside camp
• The wild dogs continue to entertain the guests and were seen on six different days including them successfully hunting an impala near the airstrip
• During the night drive, 15 hyena were seen on one giraffe kill (killed by lions)
• Unseasonally large elephant herds have been seen just before sundown travelling to and from the river.
• Lone elephant bulls have been frequently seen, including some in musth.
• General game is very good with Tsetsebee, warthog, wildebeest, steenbok, lechwe, zebra seen on most drives
• Night drives found porcupine, serval, honey badger, both genet species and a caracal.
• Migratory birds are still out in force as well as osprey, slaty and black egret, and martial eagles along the riverfront.
• Several pythons have also been seen.


(Weeks 3-4)
• A very good sighting of a single lioness was reported north of Lagoon camp.
• No leopard sighted but tracks of two leopards, possibly a mating pair, were followed.
• The 2 cheetah brothers visited the area and were found relaxing in the shade.
• The wild dogs continue to be sighted in the Lagoon area. The pack of 6 dogs was seen hunting and successfully killing an impala.
• Good sightings of chameleons were reported. A pair of mating honey badgers was also spotted. Hyena continue to be seen and heard every night, they seem to be following the pack of wild dogs around in hope of stealing their kills.
• Large numbers of elephants, breeding herds as well as bachelor groups, continue to be seen on the floodplains and on the riverbanks.
• General game is very good with Tsetsebee, warthog, wildebeest, steenbok, lechwe, zebra seen on most drives. Some guests saw a shy bushbuck; whilst on their sunset boat cruise.
• Night drives found an African wild cat hunting rodents. A shy serval was also seen. A good sighting of some dwarf mongoose, relaxing on their termite mound house was also reported.
• Migratory birds are still out in force as well as osprey, slaty and black egret, and martial eagles along the riverfront.
• A black mamba was seen crossing the road, in front of the game drive vehicle.

Kwara & Little Kwara camps               Jump to Kwara & Little Kwara camps
(Weeks 1-2)
• Game in general at Kwara had been outstanding and  with the word spreading, both camps have been full!
• The pride of 7  (2  large males, one sub-male and 4 lionesses) have been prolific and sighted nearly every day. At the beginning of the month, they killed a baby hippo just next to Guest Tent number 1 and guests were able to see and hear them on the kill. Two days later they killed a red lechwe south of the airstrip, with the largest male running in and grabbing the kill from the others. One of the lionesses sustained an unjury to her jaw which was very very swollen with open cuts. The guides concern for her well-being was soon gone after she led a spectacular kill in the front of camp: one of the Little Kwara vehicles had gone out early and bumped in to the lions hunting, the other guests at both camps skipped early coffee and raced out to join the hunt. All guests witnessed the hunt and the final attack (with the young male nearly giving the game away!) a young male lechwe was brought down. Once again the male caught up with the action and stole most of the carcass.
• The next 2 nights the lions were all around and in camp, including one late afternoon when the chef and  waiter were found on top of the kitchen fridge armed with Kitchen  knives!
• Another 7 lionesses were seen in the Tsum-Tsum area.
• Guests saw a leopard while walking back to their tent, just outside tent 1 at Kwara.
• One a drive, a large male leopard was followed near Cheetah Plains. He was followed through the bush for a while and all were a bit shocked when he broke into a run, only to realise he was after a group of warthog, one of which he managed to kill.
• The following day another group tracked a leopard and found it feeding on a jackal pup. Several other leopard sightings also reported.   
• The 3 cheetah brothers have been seen frequently, usually relaxing in the shade and often in the Tsum-Tsum area. One group stumbled on them by accident - they had stopped on the edge of the mophane to look at some ostriches and were surprised as the 3 brothers came racing out of the woodland and killed one of the ostrich.   
• The new female with the 2 six-month cubs has been seen again although all three are shy. She was seen hunting impala but was not successful.
• A previously unseen new adult male was tracked and found hiding in the bushes.   
• The small pack of dogs (2 of them) were seen moving and marking territory.   
• Solitary elephant bull are all around as well as bachelor herds. A breeding herd, 60 strong was seen on the Mophane Road.   
• Another bull elephant was seen near the 6 month old elephant carcass. He spent some time smelling the bones and then proceeded to pick up one of the bones and put it in his mouth.   
• One group while driving through the mophane stumbled upon 4 Bat-earred foxes.   
• The only guests lucky enough to see buffalo saw them from the air - either during the transfer to camp or on one of the scenic game flights.   
• Night drives provided sightings of many owls, a spotted genet with 2 babies, 2 honey badgers running along the road, caracal, serval, civet with babies, all mongoose species, both jackal species, and chameleon.   
• One group heading back to camp caught a red eye in the spotlight and we delighted to find an aardvark.   
• The birds are stunning with all of the migratory  birds all over. The Heronry numbers have diminished but it still has many sacred ibis, wooly-neck, yellow and marabou storks.   
• Unbelievable enough, on one of the game flights, one group were amazingly lucky to see one of the few Botswana rhino from the air!!!
• General game has also been great, but there has been rather a lot to look at!


(Weeks 3-4)

The pride of seven lions, have split up with the 2 big males moving around by them selves. The rest of the pride (4 females and one sub adult male) was seen almost every day and at one stage were seen trying to kill a python. They did not succeed. They were also found feeding on a tsessebe carcass.
• A female leopard and her cub were found feeding on an impala carcass. They stayed on the same spot for 3 days and made for some fantastic sightings. An amazing sighting of a male leopard fighting with baboons was also reported.
• The female cheetah with her three cubs was seen at impala pan and another female with 2 cubs were found on mopane road. They were all looking very healthy. The 3 brothers were also found, with full bellies resting in the shade.
• A pack of 13 dogs were located at honeymoon pan. They stayed at the same spot, resting for a whole day. They started hunting in the afternoon, but were not successful.
• Solitary elephant bulls are all around as well as bachelor herds. A breeding herd, 100 strong were also seen.
• Three buffalo bulls were spotted after a long spell of not seeing any buffalo.
• Night drives provided sightings of hyena and, both jackal species. African wildcat and chameleon were also seen.
• General game sightings continue to be very good and the impala are also starting to rut.
• The birds are stunning with all of the migratory birds all over. The Heronry numbers have diminished but it still has many sacred ibis, woolly-neck, yellow and marabou storks. A good sighting of a giant eagle owl was also reported. One group saw an African rock python crossing the road in front of them.

Lebala camp               Jump to Lebala Camp
(Weeks 1-2)
Nearly every day, lion have been seen south of the camp
• Several wild dog sightings including one classic hyena interaction: - the dogs were found at Nari Pan with 7 hyena nearby. As the dogs commenced the hunt, the hyena followed and stole the impala just after the dogs had killed it. While the 7 hyena were eating the impala, with the dogs hungrily watching them, another 8 hyena approached and a fight ensued between the two clans. Then another group of 4 arrived and chaos reigned! The dogs made a swift exit and successfully killed another impala 30 minutes later.
• On another day, the dogs killed 3 times during one sighting and were late seen resting at a water hole.
• Leopard sightings included our old friend Limpy as well as a shy young male patrolling along the mopane woodland. A different female leopard was sighted on a kill which was raided almost immediately by hyena.
• The 2 cheetah brothers have been seen frequently including one successful warthog hunt which they fed on and finished within 45 minutes.
• Many elephant bachelor herds are in the area as well as a surprising number of breeding herds, some over 400 strong.
• The night drives have treated guests to porcupine, both jackal species, and a single hyena on a kudu carcass.
• During the sighting of Limpy the leopard, a serval was also present though it gave her a wide berth! Giant Eagle Owls were been seen on most drives. Yellow, slender, dwarf and banded mongoose were also seen. A single striped polecat provided one of the more rare sightings as it ran along the road but then disappeared in to the long grass.
• Excellent general game with many large journey of giraffe, impala, waterbuck, Tsessebe, Wildebeest, Steenbok zebra, red lechwe and kudu. Duiker have also been seen.
• The hippos continue to provide sundowner entertainment.
• One night an African Wild cat was seen with a kitten in her mouth.
• Birdlife is prolific with birders spotting over 200 species during their stays. 22 African Skimmer were counted at Skimmer Pan. The raptors are in full force. One morning at Twin pools 12 Kori Bustard and one Stanleys could all be seen at the same time.
• Snakes sightings are frequent with common Night Adders, spotted bush snake, boomslang and an African rock python.


(Weeks 3-4)

• Three lionesses were tracked and found near White Plains. They were hunting wildebeest but did not succeed. Just before they disappeared into the mopane woodland, the guides observed that they were lactating. The conclusion was that they must have a den with cubs somewhere in the woodlands.
• Some very lucky guests got to spend a whole afternoon observing a very full-bellied male leopard at Hotwire pan. He was very relaxed and resting. • He became active later in the afternoon and started marking his territory.
• The 2 cheetah brothers are still active South of the camp, and were found feeding on the carcass of a young lechwe.
• Big breeding herds of elephant, some of them up to 500 in the herd are found along the flood plains. A good sighting of a herd of about 150 elephant, having a mud bath in Kuku pan was reported.
• On one of the night drives a porcupine was seen coming out of his burrow, he got shy when he saw the vehicle and went back into his hole. Hyena are seen during the day and night, as well as both of the jackal species.
• Excellent general game with many large journeys of giraffe, impala, waterbuck, Tsessebe, Wildebeest, Steenbok zebra, red lechwe and kudu.
• Very good sightings of all the mongoose species were reported daily. Serval and Civet cats as well as porcupine have been seen on the night drives.
• Birdlife continue to be excellent, with three banded coursers, African skimmers, wattled cranes and a black-headed heron making up some of the rarer species to be seen. Painted reed frogs were also seen in the channel in front of camp.
• Snakes sightings are frequent with common Night Adders, spotted bush snake, boom slang and an African rock python.

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Jack's & San Camps update - February 07                Jump to Jack's & San Camps

As the sun rises over the Makgadikgadi, and turns the drying grasses golden, the peaceful dawn is interrupted by the calling of three adult male lions prowling around Jack's Island. They are responding to the presence of a lone lioness enjoying an early morning drink at the Jack's Camp waterhole.

In February, Jack's Camp became the focal point of all sorts of activity. For the first time in many years spotted hyaenas have been heard in camp and the resident brown hyaena female has a new cub, the curiosity of which has brought him close to camp. The cub has been seen several times in camp and has recently taken a liking to kidnapping guests' torches and hiding them in the bush!

This year's rainy season has been unusually light, and the huge herds of zebra and wildebeest have been concentrated around the last remaining water. Guests have been treated during breakfast to the sight of thousands of zebra, many with new foals, congregating on the plain in front of camp; each patiently waiting for their chance at the Jack's Camp waterhole.

With daytime temperatures pushing 40 degrees Celsius, some of the best sightings this month have been on night drives. There have been two sightings of aardvark which is a rare treat and small cats like genets, caracals and polecats have been seen. One group of guests was even treated to a pitched battle between a honey badger and an aardwolf!

Our resident celebrities, the meerkats, continue to do well and are now so numerous even despite the dry weather that an accurate count of their numbers is very difficult. We know that they have had yet another litter and we are expecting a first emergence any day now.

Max temp: 39º
Min. temp: 12º
Rainfall: 10mm

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