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Page 1 Updates
Info and updates from Wilderness Safaris.
North Island Dive Report from
Monthly update from Kings Pool Camp in
Monthly update from DumaTau Camp in
Kwando Safaris game reports.
update from Jack's & San Camps in Botswana.
Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in
Monthly update from Kwetsani Camp in
Monthly update from Jao
Camp in Botswana.
Monthly update from Seba
Camp in Botswana.
Monthly update from Duba Plains Camp in
Monthly update from Vumbura Plains in
Monthly update from Little Vumbura Camp in
Monthly update from Pafuri Camp in
Turtle news from Rocktail
Bay in South Africa.
Monthly Dive report from Rocktail
Bay in South Africa.
Monthly update from Serra
Cafema Camp in
Monthly update from Ongava Lodge in
Safaris Updates - January 2007
have included Shackletons Upper Zambezi
Lodge instead of Natural Mystic Lodge in
our Adventurer level Migration
Routes and Untamed
The lodge, situated in south-western
Zambia, has access to 130km of the
Upper Zambezi River. It is home to
approximately 300 bird species, offers
an excellent cultural experience at
Mwandi village and also is a prime
fly, spin and lure fishing destination.
12 guests in comfortable, thatched
and en-suite chalets with private teak
decks overlooking the Zambezi River
coupled with fabulous cuisine and friendly
service creates a relaxing and invigorating
stay. We feel this new lodge, its services
and facilities, will fit in perfectly
with our Adventurer Explorations products
has been a spectacular Green Season
- traditionally regarded as a quieter
time of year with less productive game
viewing. This is not the case at all
as can be seen from the photo above
from Deception Valley in the Central
Kalahari, taken by Grant Atkinson on
a Green Desert Exploration – a
trip that perhaps offers some of the
best game viewing in Botswana during
the summer months.
In general, our summer
viewing has been outstanding, and we
can only recommend these months as incredible
opportunities – the more so since
it has long been underestimated by the
travel trade. Because rain has fallen
game has dispersed, vegetation is thicker,
and humidity is higher, yet this creates
an explosion of life and colour and some
exceptional game and bird viewing in
spectacular scenery. A variety of itineraries
take in those areas that produce year-round
high quality game viewing, as well as
those areas that come into their own
in summer. Throughout the camps this
is the season of plains game births,
vocal migratory birds in breeding plumage,
floral displays, fruiting and fertility.
In short, to experience the summer highlights
is to experience a richer version of
guided safaris through our camps have become
increasingly popular over the last few
years. Having a Wilderness Safaris regional
expert lead you through our incredible
areas is without doubt the key to enhancing
Botswana has been the
most popular destination for those travelling
with private guides - more than 50 private
trips being hosted there in 2006. Namibia
and Zambia have hosted fewer trips but
are growing in popularity with those guests
who are multiple repeaters. Typically,
guests on a privately guided safari visit
at least three or four camps and are on
safari for an average about ten days. Almost
half of the 2006 trips were with guests
returning to Africa with Wilderness Safaris,
some of whom were on their 7th and 8th
trip with the same guide.
Successful Cheetah Rescue
At 12:00 on Saturday 27
January guide Richard Avalino arrived
from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve
for his Maun stop over on a Green
Dessert Exploration. He reported
there was a Cheetah stuck in the fence
about 50 km south of Makalamabedi village.
He explained it looked like it was
trapped in a snare attached to the
vet fence right next to the road.
Safaris Botswana immediately swung
into action and with the pro bono services
of vet Dr Rob Jackson, left Maun heading
south into the Kalahari to locate the
snared cheetah. Explorations Operations
Manager, Andy Anderson reports: "We
made good time to the site but were
getting worried that we had not found
the cheetah after 55 km along the fence
line, but we carried on south. After
just over 60 km we found the cheetah.
It had a snare around its waist that
was attached to a large camel thorn
tree trunk that weighed about 30 kg.
It had been snared crawling under the
eastern side of the double fence and
had dragged the log to the western
fence where the log snagged the wire.
The cheetah had then wound itself tighter
and tighter around the fence wires
and post and had bitten a 50 cm post
off in its futile fight for freedom.
By the time we arrived
the cheetah was exhausted and barely
lifted its head as we passed less than
2m from it. Rob prepared all his drugs
and darts about 50m south of the site
and we idled back along the animal.
Rob's dart found its mark and we retreated
50m back until the big male cheetah
was down. After 10 minutes we returned
and Rob was worried he had given too light
a dose so he "topped up" the
animal and we got to work with a towel
over the cheetah's head. Luckily the snare
had not cut into the skin although it had
abraded it; I cut the wires on the loop
and removed them. Rob then gave the animal
a shot of antibiotic and a full inspection
and then ran a catheter into its foreleg.
He took blood and then ran a ringers lactate
and then a glucose drip. He then placed
a chip transponder in its shoulder and
tested it. The cheetah was starting to
lift its head and growl a bit so we clipped
the plaster on the drip and Rob administered
the antidote / antagonist. The cheetah
took about 10 minutes to wake up and about
30 minutes to start trying to stand up.
It then lay down for a further 30 minutes.
In the meantime we went
and inspected the fence line nearby and
Rob found another snare set on the west
fence in line with where the cheetah
had picked up the first snare. I removed
the snare and it joined the snare the
cheetah had found in the back of Rob's
cruiser. By this time the Cheetah had
got to its feet and moved off to the
west looking quite healthy after its
ordeal. We spent the rest of the daylight
looking for more snares and found one more
along the same game trail to the west on
the Haineveld Conservancy fence line. This
snare was also attached to a large log
and buried under the fence and after some
digging, this third snare joined the others
in the cruiser and we headed back to Maun.
Vumbura in the Okavango and Savuti
Camp in Linyanti are currently undergoing
Vumbura, the camp has been completely
demolished to make way for the new
one, allowing nature to reclaim the
island for a short time. The entire
camp will be rebuilt, but the intimate
atmosphere will be retained with only
six tents (one being converted to a
family unit). The tents are to be slightly
larger with an improved design on the
past version and will focus on better
lighting, privacy and comfort. The
dining, lounge and pool areas will
also be enlarged, and the curio shop
Credit must go to the
Little Vumbura team who have ensured
that as little impact to the environment
takes place during the building process
as possible. All building materials have
been transferred onto the island by boat
and all vehicle driving has been disallowed.
Little Vumbura will reopen at the end
the quintessential bush camp, a very
special place with many avid fans, so
its rebuild aims to keep this character.
The camp has been redesigned to place
more emphasis on the spectacular Savuti
Channel. The dining area will be turned
around so that each guest has a view
of the Channel while they eat. All seven
tents (plus family room) will face onto
the Channel, providing more privacy and
better views than before. Each tent will
have a snug seating area inside, as well
as on a deck in front allowing comfortable
viewing of the goings-on at the camp
waterhole. The main deck will also now
be thatched, creating a lounge overlooking
the waterhole. Savuti is scheduled to
reopen in mid-March.
Pool, DumaTau, Savuti, Selinda and Zibalianja)
part of northern Botswana, pushed up against
the Namibian border in the form of the
Linyanti Swamps, is having a great season
with game viewing in the Savuti Channel
and on the floodplains continuing to be
good. In the dry season the woodlands flanking
the Linyanti River come into their own,
with huge concentrations of elephants pouring
into the area to browse on the abundant
mopane and to slake their thirst from the
river and remaining pans. Small herds of
sable and roan are also best seen at this
time of the year. Unique features are the
sunken hide at Kings Pool that allows an
elephant-foot viewing of proceedings at
a small waterhole in the woodland, the
logpile hide at Savuti that is as popular
as ever with guests, and the various lagoons
along the Linyanti River that are a constant
attraction for a daily procession of game.
Pool Room no. 1 had a thrilling sighting,
with a lioness killing an adult male waterbuck,
taking it by surprise while it was drinking.
Encumbered by the large prey lying half
in the water the female had to muscle up
the strength to pull the carcass out, a
safe distance from a crocodile who had
its own ideas of the future of the kill.
For the next 2 ½ hours the female
pulled the body a foot at a time out of
the water and called her cubs over to feed.
Every few minutes the crocodile attempted
to sneak through the grass, never leaving
the safety of the water, but forcing the
female to defend her meal by snarling and
charging the water’s edge.
More lion-reptile interaction took place at Little
Vumbura, where two lionesses and four new cubs were seen on a crocodile carcass.
However the following day the lionesses were seen, but no sign of the cubs. It
was only a commotion that alerted us to their presence - a 3-meter black mamba!
Our fears intensified when only two of the cubs appeared. We spent the entire
afternoon with still no sign of the other two cubs and left just after sunset,
assuming that they had been killed by the snake. Lion cub mortality is exceptionally
high especially within the first year and although unfortunate, it is something
we all accept. So it was with much excitement that Kay arrived back in camp after
an evening drive to report that he had found the entire pride including all four
young cubs - a happy ending to the story!
Pafuri continues to come of age.
Head guide Simon Stobbs recently located
only the second-ever nest of a Racket-tailed
Roller for South Africa (he discovered
the first for SA in December - both
on the concession) and managed to get
a shot of one of the fledglings. Over
the past year, and continuing for the
remainder of 2007, we have been recording
all such sightings in the concession
with a view to better describing habitat
preference in far northern South Africa
and estimating densities in the area.
But it’s not all birds at Pafuri.
Hugely exciting as well is the discovery
of two sable cows on the Limpopo floodplain.
No sable were seen in the annual aerial
census last year so the continued existence
of a breeding population (at least
one bull has been seen as well) is
very encouraging. Finally, excellent
sightings of lion abounded, including
this one – he seems in need of
A perma-culture garden supplying vegetables
to the Kulala camps has been initiated
Desert Lodge. Wilderness Safaris
Namibia supplied the materials, while the
expertise, initiative and training were
provided by an Australian charity called
OzQuest. In return for their input OzQuest
has requested that proceeds from any excess
production be donated to Children in the
Camp's main area is being rebuilt,
with an aim to bring guests up to the
view. The old structure will remain
with the upstairs serving as a gallery
and lounge. The downstairs area will
be remodeled into a large curio shop
and a temperature-controlled wine cellar.
Selinda Camp will be closed for the
building until the 1st of March. Zibalianja remains
operational throughout and continues
to welcome guests.
Please note that with immediate
affect the drinks policy at all the
Namibia camps will be the same as Botswana,
i.e. all our Namibia lodges include all
local drinks – except premium imports
(e.g. Chivas Regal), which are available
at an extra cost.
On the Zambia front, we
have decided to open one new camp in the
South Luangwa in 2007 – this will
be Kalamu Tented Camp. Chinengwe
Camp will be built to open in 2008.
Note: The Kings
Pool airstrip is closed as
a result of high water levels making
it dangerous to use. Obviously it is
not possible to accurately predict
when the water levels will subside
enough for the airstrip to dry out,
but we estimate that it could be two
months or more – we could still
have rain for a while in Botswana and
the water is still rising. Therefore,
while the airstrip is closed, all air
transfers will be via Chobe airstrip,
with Sefofane making the necessary
changes. A game drive transfer (one
way) takes one hour.
/ North Island
North Island Dive Report
- January 07 Jump
January brought a new year and new diving experiences
as well as some marvelous terrestrial ones as well.
Early January had some mildly rough seas with
heavy rain on one or two mornings. The visibility in the water
was great though: 20-25 metres! Lots of yellowfin tuna and
big wahoo were sighted, and a very big barracuda took the bait
and found his way to the fishing boat. There have also been
quite a few whitetip reef sharks seen on our local reef "Sprat City".
As many as six sharks together at one time have been seen and
one mother looks to be in an advanced stage of pregnancy. The
juvenile lemon sharks are also still with us, and have now
moved in front of Villa 10 where they are residing in the shallows.
Around the middle of January, we made a trip
Marianne" near La Digue Island which is about an hour and
a half's trip by boat from North Island. It was the first time
I dived this site and I can only say "Wow!" There were
schools of Napoleon Wrasse, some enormous Batfish and at one
point over 20 grey reef sharks schooling around one us!
The orbicular batfish have been their usual cheeky selves, coming
in at a mad rush from the blue water only to circle round and
round you the whole dive trying to see themselves in your masks.
Some have even started sucking on loose bits of diver's hair;
presumably they think it is food. They are extremely tame, very
curious and always a delight to have with us in the water.
We have installed the temperature monitor on our local reef
and we will be monitoring this every three months. We have also
been involved in coral reef monitoring around the island - which
we undertake every six months on two of the dive sites around
North Island. This valuable data is then sent to a global research
Turtles have been seen regularly coming up the beach looking
for a good spot to lay eggs. Baby turtles have also been seen
frantically dashing for the shore - their entry to life.
There has been a lot of erosion on the West Beach and loads
of sand has been deposited on East Beach. This is due to the
changing of the seasons and this year the erosion has been very
rapid and resulted in one or two turtle nests being uncovered.
We are looking forward to the next three months of diving as
they are some of the best months of the year for clarity and
Lastly we are sad to announce the departure of Debbie Smith
from North Island who leaves after three years on the island
to pursue new diving challenges in South Africa. Her inimitable
presence will be missed by North Island and all the fish in the
seas around about.
Pool Camp update - January 07 Jump
to Kings Pool Camp
January has been a hot and wet
month in Kings Pool. The area has experienced some
severe rainstorms, with as much as 128mm in an
hour and a half, contrasting with dry hot spells
- the water level in the Linyanti River continues
to rise very quickly. Most of the floodplains are
flooded and the Linyanti Concession is a paradise
once again. Interestingly, even as far as the Savuti
Channel, water is pushing in along the famous dry
The game has been outstanding. We had frequent
sightings of lion, elephant, wild dog, leopard
and lots of other general game. Of course, because
of the rain, elephants are spread out all over
the concession, moving further into the Mopane
woodland, but every now and then the breeding herds
make an impressive comeback.
Lion seen on game drives from Kings Pool this
month were the Linyanti and Selinda prides. The
Linyanti Pride comprises three females, three cubs
and one unknown male. They were mostly seen between
the Kings Pool airstrip and Nkwe hide area. We
also had a sighting of one of the females from
the LTC pride mating with an unknown male. We witnessed
this on drives for four consecutive days!
Early in January, the Selinda female and her two
cubs returned to the Selinda concession but later
in the month re-emerged in Linyanti area, mostly
seen between the Chobe 1 and Livingstone's hide
area. We are happy to see the cubs growing very
quickly without being under any threat. They are
still entirely dependent on their mother to do
most of the hunting. When the mother goes on a
serious hunt, she gives them a special growl sound
and they obediently stay behind.
The spectacular sightings of wild dogs added another
flavour. Both packs of wild dogs, namely DumaTau
and Linyanti packs, were sighted in the Kings Pool
area. The DumaTau pack is made up of ten adults
and six puppies while the Linyanti pack is made
up of five adults. In terms of the frequency of
sightings, the DumaTau pack took the lead. The
pack covers the area up to 10km north-east of Kings
Pool camp and another amazing 100km north-west
of Kings Pool. They travel as far as the Kwando
The following leopards were seen this month: Boscia
female, Motopi, Thonningii female and Thonningii
male. We only had a single sighting of the Boscia
female being chased by a troop of baboons. She
escaped by quickly running into the Mopane woodland.
It is a common event in the Linyanti Concession
for the baboons to chase leopards during the day
whenever they see them. However, baboons can only
do that when they are in a group. A single baboon
cannot challenge a leopard.
The Motopi female, the daughter of Boscia female,
was seen with two different Impala kills in different
locations. The most interesting kill happened nearby
at the back of the camp kitchen. Managers closing
down the camp after an evening with guests drove
50 metres from kitchen and found the leopard holding
down a struggling adult female impala, much bigger
than her own size. Once the struggle stopped the
leopard dragged her prize into the undergrowth.
Efforts to find the kill the next morning were
sadly unsuccessful and it is more than likely that
the hyaenas who frequent the camp had taken the
carcass it for themselves.
The Thonningii male is the Kings Pool territorial
male. His territory overlaps the territories of
eight different females. He can travel 20km north-east
and 10km south-west of Kings Pool camp. As a result
of having a bigger territory, we don't see him
all that often except in the winter dry season.
This time of year is favoured by many for photographic
reasons; the lush green vegetation is an ideal
backdrop for these beautiful animals and birds;
birdlife in the Linyanti Concession is always wonderful
and the stormy skies with the sun's rays behind
provides the most magnificent light, especially
The sunset always silhouettes a bird of prey perched
on a fallen tree and turns the river water into
extraordinary pinks, purples and oranges. Ripples
spurred on by the water birds: Jacanas stepping
across waterlilies, Kingfishers diving into the
pink glassy surface, Herons picking their way alongside
the rushes alert for that tiny movement giving
away the fishes' hiding place and the Weavers landing
on a thread of papyrus which then sways under their
delicate bodies. The warm air, the warm-coloured
skies and the cacophony of frogs and hippo calls
amount to the most magical of moments in Africa.
All the guests have been amazed by the different
sounds of frogs especially the painted reed frog
and bull frog.
One guest highlighted the diversity
of the Linyanti, saying: "It's nice to experience both the
wet and dry season because they are totally different
but equally as good".
Report by Keiditsemang 'KD' Gabogolelwe
Kings Pool Guide
update - January 07 Jump
January has been another amazing
month in the Linyanti. We closed for routine maintenance for
the last two weeks, but towards the end of the month we managed
to get a crane-truck into the concession. We utilized it to great
effect and manage to put logs around the last remaining baobab
in the concession. In this manner we created a fence around the
tree that will hopefully stop the elephants from feeding upon
it. They have already carved the ancient tree into an hourglass
shape. It was a lot of work and the team of guys who helped move
the dead logs did an amazing job. In the last 15 years, or so,
the elephants in the area have felled at least twenty big baobabs.
Hopefully this baobab will live longer now. We also managed to
clear away all the old drums and wire that were lying around
the area where the "Old Mopane
Bridge" had been dismantled. This was also a huge task. We
removed three truckloads of cement drums and bundles of wire that
had been used to support the bridge, when it was still standing,
and sent it back to Maun. We decided to leave some of the old mopane
poles, that were used in the bridge, as a reminder of the fact
that the bridge used to be there, and because they are often used
by kingfishers, bee-eaters and other birds to perch on. They are
eventually going to rot away and disintegrate and the area will
recover fully. It was good to be involved in this clean-up, and
the area is looking much better now.
We are in the middle of summer now and the area is looking very
green and lush. Temperatures have averaged at minimum of 21 degrees
Celsius and a maximum of 28, although we have had one or two
days where the mercury rose more than 31 degrees Celsius (in
the shade). We have also had a fair bit of rain this month (more
than 80 mm), although during the middle of the month the weather
did clear up a bit and the grass and herbs started to wilt from
the harsh sun. Since then more rain has fallen and these plants
have perked up again. The skies this month have generally had
a scattering of clouds, which have built up in the afternoons
into incredible towering cumulonimbus masses, often accompanied
by lightning and thunder. A few days were overcast, with a light
drizzle that lasted for a few hours.
The grass is getting quite long in the Savuti Channel now. Because
of its height, and because many of the smaller carnivores (jackals,
bat-eared foxes and aardwolf) are finished denning, we are not
seeing them as regularly. The longer grass has, however, brought
in different birds and we are now getting regular sightings of
White Storks, Harlequin Quails, African Crake and Kurrichane
As the animals or vehicles move in the grasslands of the channel
they are disturbing numerous grasshoppers and other insects and
the Carmine Bee-eaters are constantly flying around any large
moving object, hawking the insects as they are fly out of the
grass. When driving up the channel now, one can have up to 10
Carmine Bee-eaters circling around the vehicle. The Bee-eaters
also take advantage of the Kori Bustards as they forage in the
grasslands. The Bee-eaters at this time of the year can often
be seen catching a ride on the backs of the Kori Bustards. When
the bustards disturb a grasshopper or other insect the bee-eaters
quickly launch off their backs and hawk the insects. If their
position has not been filled by another bee-eater, they then
return to the Bustard's back and continue to sit there as if
they have just caught a taxi and are being driven somewhere or
other. We have often seen the bustards getting annoyed with the
bee-eaters and trying to jump up and down to dislodge the unwelcome
guests, but inevitably as soon as the bustards calm down the
bee-eaters are back again.
With all the rain in the area the water level in the river and
the floodplains has risen again. The water level in the river
is very high now and with the standing water in the woodlands
the game is quite spread out. But this does not mean that there
is nothing to see, and we are still having great sightings.
The birdlife is incredible. All the migrants have now returned
and we are again seeing a few White Storks walking in the open
grassy areas of the Savuti Channel, foraging for grasshoppers
and other insects. We managed to see at least 239 species of
birds this last month.
The termites' nuptial flights have brought many raptors and
other birds of prey into the area (as well as swallows, bee-eaters,
hornbills and rollers). Literally, on every dead tree along the
Savuti Channel there is at least one eagle perched. Birds of
prey seen this month include Steppe Buzzards, Steppe Eagles,
Tawny Eagles, Fish Eagles, Bateleurs, Amur Falcons, Western Red-footed
Falcons, Red-necked Falcons, Dickinson's Kestrels, Black-shouldered
Kites, Yellow-billed Kites, Black-chested and Brown Snake Eagles,
African Hawk Eagles, Martial Eagles, African Marsh Harriers,
African Harrier Hawks, Gabar Goshawks, Little-banded Goshawks,
Little Sparrowhawks, Wahlberg's Eagles, Secretarybirds and Osprey.
We have even seen Ospreys and Fish Eagles flying or perched along
the Savuti Channel quite far away from any permanent water sources.
The Savuti Channel is famous as an area with a high concentration
of eagles and raptors and this area is internationally recognised
as an IBA (Important Bird Area), particularly for birds of prey
Some of the other special bird sightings include seeing one
or two Goliath herons near the Zib Lagoon, seeing a few Allen's
Gallinules in the short sedges in the marsh, seeing a few sightings
of Wattled Cranes, seeing Osprey on a few occasions and seeing
Slaty Egrets on a few occasions.
One night as we were returning to camp we came across an amazing
sight. It was a group of Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters that were
all perched next to each other, like clothes on a washing line,
all fast asleep. On one branch there were nine of these beautiful
green-blue birds, with a bright blue chinstrap and yellow throats,
and on a lower branch there were another four birds huddled together.
amazing sighting occurred in camp on the night of the 11th. We
were sitting around the fire, chatting, after all the guests
had gone to bed when we heard a loud thump on the thatch roof
over the dining room. Upon looking up we saw a black object on
the roof. We were wondering what it was when it started to move.
We then realised that it was a young Yellow-billed Kite. They
had been nesting in a tree near the main area. This was obviously
the chick that was taken one of its first flights. We thought
that, because it was dark, it had crashed into the roof and were
wondering what it was doing flying at night. The kite then ruffled
its feathers and tried to stand up, when a brown object came
hurtling down out of the tree above and hit it. One of the resident
Wood Owls in the camp was attacking the young kite! The kite
then took off and flew into a nearby tree where it was once again
attacked by the owl. The kite tried to dodge the owl's talons
and it fell out of the tree into the low-growing shrubbery nearby
the dining room deck. A second Wood Owl appeared and both started
calling. The kite seemed quite dazed by the attacks and lay on
the ground, wings outstretched. Each time it moved one of the
Wood Owls would swoop down and hit the poor youngster. After
a while the kite realised that it would be better off if it just
remained still. We then decided to leave the spectacle and go
to bed. The next morning it was still dark and the kite was still
lying on the ground in the same place. The owls were gone and
were calling from the other side of the camp. As it started to
get light the young kite then stood up and flew into a nearby
tree. It was lucky that it had survived the night.
is still a great diversity of general game about and on most
drives we have seen impala, warthog, kudu, hippo, crocodile,
warthog, vervet monkeys, chacma baboons, Burchell's zebra, blue
wildebeest, steenbok and giraffe.
Elephants are still around, although in lower numbers (due to
there being a fair amount of water spread out throughout the
woodlands and because of the thicker bush) and we have seen them
on most drives. One morning we were driving towards camp when,
lo and behold, we came across a herd of 50 elephants drinking
and swimming in Osprey Lagoon. It was a great sight. The females
and youngsters were all at the edge drinking, while a group of
approximately 15 males were submerging themselves quite deep
in the water (with only their heads and trunks visible) - obviously
having a great time. Some of them were trunk-wrestling, while
others were mounting each in the water.
We were lucky enough to still see some of the scarcer antelope
this month. One morning we came across a magnificent sable antelope
bull in the mopane woodlands. He was fairly shy and as we approached
he headed slowly off into the thickets. He was a magnificent
creature. We have also had a few good sightings of a herd of
roan antelope that have been seen in the vicinity of the airstrip.
This herd consists of approximately 12 to 13 antelope, of which
at least three are young calves. This is a very good sign as
these are considered and endangered species.
We've had good sightings
of some smaller mammals this month, despite the grass length.
The family of aardwolves are still moving around Dish Pan Open
Area and we have some good sightings of them (we have even been
lucky enough to see them on a few occasions during the day -
they are typically nocturnal creatures). The three pups are growing
up quite quickly now and we are expecting them to leave the area
The family of black-backed jackals that lives around Dish Pan
Open Area is also doing well and we have seen them on a regular
basis. One afternoon, we noticed that there quite a few jackals
feeding on termites that were coming out of the ground. In fact
there were at least ten black-backed jackals gathered at the
area where the termites were emerging. It was great to watch
them as they ran around and jumped up into the air to grab the
Other sightings of smaller mammals include a
sighting of a serval one night, a sighting of a striped polecat
(by Herbert - one of the film crew filming the two cheetah in
our area), a good sighting of a white-tailed mongoose, and a
few sightings of Selous mongoose in the floodplains. Other more
common smaller creatures we have seen this month include Smith's
bush squirrels, lesser bushbabies (at night), large and small-spotted
genets, banded and dwarf mongoose.
The two male cheetah known as the Savuti Boys were seen twice,
both times around Dish Pan Open Area. On the morning of the 7th
they were seen resting in the shade of some Feverberry Croton
trees on the southern side of the grassland. In the afternoon
they were still in the same area.
This month we had about nine sightings of leopard.
On the 1st of January an unidentified leopard was seen on the
eastern side of Savuti Camp. It had killed a jackal and was
feeding on it. On the 5th Ona spotted the big DumaTau male
leopard lying up in a large Sausage Tree near "the Bottleneck".
He then came down from the tree and walked across the open
grassland towards the scrubby woodland on the northern side
of the Savuti Channel. We followed him for quite a while; he
was quite unconcerned about our presence. This leopard has
made an amazing recovery from his injury to his front paw and
is now only limping very slightly. We had just left him when
Ona spotted a female leopard following on behind the male.
It was the Rock Pan Female which seemed to be lactating.
On the 7th Mr T had a great leopard day. In the morning he found
an unknown male leopard lying up in a tree on the southern bank
of the Savuti Channel, near Letsumo Sign. That afternoon Brad
and Kristi came across the Zib Female and her sub-adult cub walking
in the floodplains. Mr T responded to the sighting and when he
arrived there the young leopard was watching some hippos that
were coming out of the water to start grazing. The mother and
cub then headed back towards the tree-line, leaving the hippos
in the floodplains. Mr T then headed back towards the camp for
dinner. Right outside the camp he came across another leopard,
which quickly slunk off into the bushes. The next morning as
we were heading out on the morning drive we found a sub-adult
leopard right outside camp. It was lying on a fallen tree and
the early morning light was just catching it. It was quite beautiful.
We identified the leopard as the Osprey sub-adult. Just above
the young leopard was the almost-finished remains of an impala
kill in the tree. The leopard then walked down the fallen trunk
and at the bottom it met up with its mother, who had been lying
unseen in the thicker bush. Both then headed off into the dense
On the afternoon of the 20th Brad and Kristi
were driving near "Mopane
Road Junction", after a hard day of sanding down furniture,
when they came across the DumaTau Pack of wild dogs. They noticed
that some of the dogs were chittering at the base of a tree.
Brad and Kristi then realised that there was in fact a female
leopard in the tree. It was the Rock Pan female. The dogs eventually
headed on and the leopard then came down from the tree and amazingly
out of the nearby bushes came a tiny leopard cub. This was the
first sighting of the Rock Pan female's cub! What a lucky find,
and what an amazing drive!
We have also had a fair number of lion sightings this month.
On the 2nd two of the Savuti Males were seen resting near the
eastern side of Dish Pan Open Area. On the 3rd a lioness from
the LTC Pride joined the males and was seen mating with one of
them. The male with whom she was seen mating had a very swollen
front paw and was limping quite badly. They were seen in the
same area over the next two days and then they disappeared. On
the 12th Mr T found one of the Savuti Males resting in the bushes
on the northern bank of Dish Pan Open Area.
On the morning of the 11th the Selinda Female and her two cubs
were seen to the north-east of camp. We have not seen her for
a few weeks now and the previous time that she was seen she was
still in the vicinity of Kings Pool Camp. We heard from the Kings
Pool guides that two male lions that usually stay on the Namibian
side of the river had crossed the border and entered into the
area in which the lioness had been moving. The lioness was probably
worried about the safety of the two cubs and therefore came back
towards DumaTau. In the afternoon of the 11th the lioness was
out hunting and had left the two cubs behind in the bushes. They
were obviously bored and hungry and as we watched them they got
up and headed towards the camp, looking for the lioness and calling
softly. We watched as the two cubs hid in the bushes as a large
herd of elephants passed nearby, and after the elephants had
left, they carried on walking towards the camp.
The DumaTau wild dogs were also seen this month
on a few occasions. The DumaTau Pack consists of 10 adults
and six pups/sub-adults. On the 1st they were found chasing
impala near the "Old
Mopane Bridge". In the afternoon they were seen a little
further up the Savuti Channel chasing impala in the open grassland.
It was a great sighting, with the dogs chasing some impala through
a herd of elephants. The elephants got a fright and there was
much running around and trumpeting. The next day they headed
into the Selinda Concession but on the 11th they had returned
to our area and were seen in resting near a mopane pan near the
Main Rd. The next day they were seen running in the woodlands
near Chobe 1. They were heading towards Kings Pool Camp along
Until next month,
The DumaTau Team
Camps Update - January 07
Lagoon camp Jump
two male cheetahs returned to the Lagoon
area after spending more than a week in
the Lebala area. They were found relaxing
in the shade of a tree with very full bellies.
• The Lagoon pack of dogs continues to be of great
value to the guests. They are seen almost on a daily basis and the guides suspect
that the Alfa female might be pregnant. They created a lot of excitement when
they hunted and killed an impala only 2 km from camp.
• Small breeding herds and some bull elephants with
very big tusks have been found in the afternoons drinking from the river.
• Reptile sightings have been excellent, with 2
African rock pythons, a black mamba, rock monitor and Nile monitor being seen.
The birding also stayed very good, with all the summer migrants still in attendance.
Wattle cranes, ground hornbills, tawny eagles, brown snake eagles and African
fish eagle were some of the many other birds seen in the area.
• Night drives have been very productive with caracal,
African civet, African wildcat, spotted genet and a giant eagle owl being seen.
• General game sightings continue to very good,
with lots of zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, kudu, tsessebe, waterbuck, red lechwe,
and on some occasions even roan antelope being found.
• Mongoose sightings were again very good, with
slender mongoose, dwarf mongoose, banded mongoose and yellow mongoose being found.
Porcupine and honey badgers was also sighted on some of the drives.
Kwara & Little Kwara camps Jump
& Little Kwara camps
• A pride
of four lions, consisting of three adult
females and one sub adult male have been
very active in the area. They were followed
whilst hunting but they did not manage
• The female leopard was found hunting on the plains.
She was a bit nervous and the guides decided to give her some space so that she
could concentrate on getting a meal.
• Cheetah sightings were fantastic. A shy
female with two eight month old cubs were found and she was observed teaching
the cubs how to stalk their prey. The cubs and guests then got to watch her take
down a big impala ram. The three brothers were also spotted hunting at Tsum-Tsum
plains, but they did not succeed.
• The packs of thirteen dogs have been staging kills
all over the area. In one instance, they managed to kill two adult impala and
a baby impala in one hunt, all in the space of nine minutes. Another pack of
ten dogs also took down three impala in one go and went on to rest in the shade
• All of a sudden, big breeding herds of elephant
as well as big old bachelor bulls have been found feeding on the flood plains.
This is very strange for this time of the year, as they normally prefer feeding
in the woodlands in the rainy season.
• Good sightings of spotted hyena, black backed
jackal and side-striped jackal are being reported on the night drives.
• Big herds of zebra and giraffe as well as impala
and Tsessebe on the plains continue to deliver good photographic opportunities
for the guests.
• Banded and dwarf mongoose were seen on some of
the drives. African wild cats, serval, large spotted genet and a civet were seen
on the night drives.
• Many large, Africa rock pythons as well as puff
adders and black mambas have been seen on the drives. Wattle cranes also moved
in to the area and all the other summer migrants continue to provide excellent
• Several guests have taken the additional scenic
flight activity. Accompanied by their guide and a pilot with a keen eye, they
have had breathtaking narrated journeys right up to the panhandle and have seen
excellent game, including large herds of buffalo.
Lebala camp Jump
single lioness was located near twin- pools,
sleeping. After a while, she got up and started
moving away. The game drives followed her
and she led them to her den where she had
two 4-month-old cubs hidden. She created
more excitement when she killed a warthog
almost in the camp. She managed to kill another
warthog after a couple of days, so her cubs
were in very good condition when they were
• A shy male leopard was found hunting near Nari
pan during the night drive but was left alone as he seemed nervous. Another young
male was found near John’s pan, he was very relaxed and in very good condition.
Lastly a very big male leopard found hunting red lechwe near BB spot, he missed
and disappeared into the thick bush.
• A very relaxed and well-fed female cheetah was
found near near BB spot. Tracks of two more cheetahs were found and followed
and this resulted in two males being found near old hippo-pools. Another two
solitary males were seen moving through the area. They were very nervous and
did not stay long.
• Huge breeding herds, some of them up to 500 elephant
in the herds had been coming out of the mopane woodland to feed on the floodplains.
This is extraordinary for this time of the year, and created big excitement.
• The hyena den is still very active and many hours
are spent watching the pups frolicking. One of the adults brought back a big
piece of giraffe neck to the den and there was some good viewing of them feeding.
• General game sightings continue to be very good,
with lots of zebra, impala, wildebeest, warthogs, tsessebe, waterbuck and giraffe
• Good sightings of African wildcat, hunting rodents,
reported on almost all the night drives. Mongoose sightings were also very good,
with banded, dwarf, yellow and slender mongoose being seen.
• The birding continues to be very good. European
swallows were seen feeding on termites and most of the summer residents are still
around. Black-kites, yellow-billed kites, black shouldered kites and many of
the eagles reported being seen. Wattle cranes and slaty egrets were some of the
water birds that were seen. Very good sightings of black mambas, boom slang,
night adders and spotted bush snakes also reported.
Jack's & San
Camps update - January 07 Jump
to Jack's & San
Happy New Year!
As Super drove out onto the rapidly drying pans late
one afternoon, he expected to show his guests the awesome
spectacle of the saltpans and its flat 360-degree disk
of horizon, but he saw something that wasn't quite right.
At first heat-distorted grey lumps appeared but as he
got closer it became apparent that they were in fact a
group of nine elephants lumbering at their ease across
the pan to the astonishment of guides and guests alike.
With the migration now in full swing not only zebra in
their thousands, but red hartebeest and calving wildebeest
have been seen. The attendant predators are following
hot on their heels. Spotted hyaena have returned to the
areas and have been heard calling in and around camp at
night. The lions are also in the area.
The rock stars of Jack's, the meerkats, continue to prosper,
and two in the troop are pregnant which will be a nice
addition to the colony that is already 16 strong. Some
sad news though, the Kalahari's ancient sentinel and national
monument, Chapman's Baobab was defaced by a thoughtless
visitor. The inhabitants of the nearby cattle posts helped
Jack's guides in identifying the culprit and the police
are hot on his heels, demonstrating the local community's
commitment to, and cooperation with, tourism.
Monthly Rainfall: 15mm
Average Temp: 38ºC
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