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AFRICAN SAFARI NEWS

November 2007

(Page 1 of 2)

Page 1 Updates
Wilderness Safaris News - Info and updates from Wilderness Safaris.
Selinda Reserve News - Info and updates from The Selinda Reserve in Botswana.
• North Island Dive Report from the Seychelles.
• Monthly update from Shumba Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from DumaTau Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Kings Pool Camp in Botswana.
Kwando Safaris game reports.
• Monthly update from Mombo Camp in Botswana.

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

Monthly Dive report from Rocktail Bay in South Africa.
Monthly Turtle report from Rocktail Bay in South Africa.
• Monthly update from Damaraland Camp in Namibia.


Wilderness Safaris Updates - November 2007

GENERAL UPDATES
Wilderness launches new book
We are particularly proud of “The Wilderness Landscape” – a new book that follows on from “The Wilderness Journey” and is the second in a trilogy that describes who Wilderness Safaris is. In the generously illustrated book we have depicted both visually and in words the wild areas of southern Africa in which Wilderness Safaris operates.

The Wilderness Landscape

The aim of this book is to encourage all who travel with us to think about Africa in terms of biodiversity, space, biomes and ecosystems, and to gain an appreciation for the unique features of the specific environments in which they find themselves at each stage of their itinerary. Our guests will also learn about the areas and what they can expect to find there, thus encouraging a better appreciation for nature and laying the foundations of genuine sustainable ecotourism rather than a reliance on merely high profile mammal species. We believe this comes through in this beautiful book which we hope will grace the coffee tables and bookshelves of all our guests, inspiring them long after their journey is complete.


Save the Rhino Trust celebrates its 25th birthday
It took a chance meeting over a flat tire in the middle of the Skeleton Coast Park to spark an idea that has given Namibia one of its most successful and sustainable environmental projects which turns 25 this year – the Save the Rhino Trust. The late Blythe Loutit, one of the founders of the Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia, is in many ways responsible for the thriving black rhino population in the Palmwag area today. In memory of Blythe, who passed away in 2005, and as a means of raising funds for rhino conservation, 10 stalwart conservationists, including SRT field staff, representatives of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and Gary Booth from Wilderness Safaris, recently spent 12 days covering 344km across the Palmwag area accompanied by two dogs (Samira and Tsotsi) and supported by a back-up crew in a vehicle. Appropriately they encountered black rhino en route and also plenty of other desert wildlife that thrives in the area largely as a result of the SRT’s work.

Save the Rhino Trust celebrates its 25th birthday

Wilderness Safaris has been working with SRT for a number of years now, its Desert Rhino Camp part of a joint partnership that provides support for the trackers and allows guests a chance to follow the trackers on a daily basis. The Rhino Cycle Namibia team raised a fantastic sum of money which will be used to pay for the 2007/8 five-year census of rhino in the Kunene Region. This is a vital part of SRT’s work, as the results will help inform rhino management and future translocation needs.


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WILDLIFE NEWS
Grey Plovers seen in northern Botswana
Sighting: Grey Plovers seen in northern Botswana
Location: DumaTau, Linyanti Concession, NG15
Date: 27 November 2007
Observers: Brian Rode

On the morning of the 24th of November I was out driving near the mouth of the Savute Channel, when I noticed two birds that I did not immediately recognise. They were in the middle of the Savute Channel at the first corner from Zibadianja Lagoon (lat = -18.58881036, long = 23.56241017). This year the water managed to push past this spot, but had now receded back towards the channel mouth. In the area where there had been a pool of water there was now just dry mud. Surrounding this depression the grass is still very short and there are still many bare sandy areas.

Grey Plovers sighted in the Linyanti

It was in the depression that I noticed the two inconspicuous birds running over the dried mud. At a distance they looked like two greyish waders. At the moment there are many Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) moving around in the area. These two birds did not, however, behave as the Ruff were doing. Rather than walking slowly in a group across the open area as the Ruff were, these two birds seemed to be much faster (almost running - like plovers). When we got to about 70 metres away the birds took off and flew a little way up the channel. Upon flying I was certain that these were not Ruff: their wings were very long and narrow, almost like those of a tern. Underneath their wings, in the area of the armpits, they had a dark black coloration. Their flight was very fast and I noticed that they had pale white rumps.

We followed them with binoculars and saw where they landed. We tried to get closer, but once again, when we were approximately 70 metres away they took off again. They seemed very shy! We once again saw where they landed and again tried to get closer. This time we managed to get just less than 50 metres away.

Grey Plovers sighted in the Linyanti

We looked at them carefully through binoculars and saw that that they were quite plump and had rounded heads (like plovers). They had numerous pale whitish spots all over their backs and upper wing coverts, and had a pale whitish eyebrow stripe. We then identified them as Grey Plovers (Pluvialis squatarola). They were quite skittish and we were unable to get any photos of them on this day. The next day we saw them again in the same area, and then on the 26th we went back to the spot to see if we could get any photos of them. Then we were lucky to get a few shots, although they were still very shy, and we were not able to get close to them.

Two photos are of the birds standing, while one shows the bird in flight with wings down (with a distinctively pale rump) and the other also shows the birds in flight with the coloration of the armpits showing (this photo was taken in very poor light and is fairly blurred, although the dark armpits indicating Grey Plover and not non-breeding Pacific or American Golden Plover can still be made out).

Brian Rode

 

Exceptional bird records for Liwonde, Malawi
November 2007 brought some Unusual bird records for Liwonde, Malawi

Brown-breasted Barbet (Lybius melanopterus)
Brown-breasted Barbet (Lybius melanopterus)This bird was sighted in Liwonde National Park in November 2007, after last being seen more than a year earlier! The Brown-breasted Barbet is a woodland bird more commonly found along the Kenyan and Tanzanian coast. Liwonde does have sporadic sightings of the bird. (Image by Mike Peterson)


Basra Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus griseldis)

Basra Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus griseldis)Mvuu guide Henry Matinga got a positive ID on a Basra reed warbler in November 2007 - one of only a handful of records for Malawi-an exceptional sighting indeed! Normally restricted as a breeding bird to the Mesopotamian marshes of southern Iraq (and likely in southwest Iran and northern Israel), Basra Reed-warbler has undergone very rapid and continuing declines owing to extensive drainage of its wetland breeding habitat. Although significant areas of the Iraq's marshes are now being re-flooded, the species remains listed as Endangered by BirdLife International. This is certainly a very rare bird for Africa and normally only 'winters'in East Africa, with not many records annually.

 

Some unusual sightings at DumaTau included a relaxed male caracal – an extremely rare sighting in that area - and an eland cow and calf, a species that is only occasionally seen in the area.

Male Caracal sighting at DumaTau, Botswana

At Ruckomechi Camp, Bryan Orford and Shayne Hodges have documented the presence of the Mutable sun squirrel in camp! This is a little-known species that occurs sparsely downstream in the Zambezi Valley and might well be the first record for this species in Mana Pools. Also at Ruckomechi has been the incredible sighting of a snow white kudu. This is a condition known as leucism and is a result of inherited genes.

At Hwange National Park, Wilderness Safaris has continued to assist the Park staff wherever possible. In a recent anti-poaching operation Wilderness staff, a National Park squad and some members of the Wild Dog Research team managed to recover no less than 19 snares. The Wilderness team have also continued to upgrade the borehole facilities, in this case adding bunding to the concrete slabs on which the pumps rest in order to prevent any diesel spillage into the soil.

Anti-poaching team at Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

North Island is ecstatic to report that the recently introduced Seychelles White-eyes seem to have settled in well with nest building already observed in two cases. This is fantastic news and a good indication that the introduction has been a successful one with more White-eyes expected to be added to the population this nesting season.

Seychelles White-eye nest on North Island, Seychelles

On a different note, but no less exciting is the news that the coco de mer palm nuts that were planted on North Island recently have begun to shoot. This is an incredibly rare palm that only occurs on two islands in the Seychelles and is vulnerable to extinction, hence a new population being established on North Island. It yields the largest seed in the world which weighs up to 30kg and takes 6-7 years to mature.

Chinese Bittern on North Island, Seychelles

Also exciting on North has been a sighting of a Chinese Bittern – a type of heron species that is thought to number less than 200 adult birds in the Seychelles.


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CAMP UPDATES
Rocktail Beach Camp opens in South Africa
Safari and Adventure Co., the new business within the Wilderness Safaris Group, launches a new camp on 15 December 2007. Rocktail Beach Camp is situated at Manzengwenya in the northern part of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park.

Rocktail Beach Camp opens in South Africa

Rocktail Beach Camp is situated at the current Rocktail Dive Centre and is sited on the edges of the coastal dune with most rooms having an ocean view. The new camp has 12 rooms comprising 5 twin-bedded rooms, 4 double-bedded rooms and 3 family units. This camp accommodates 30 guests including children (i.e. usually 24 guests but with capacity for up to 6 children over and above that if sharing in the family units with adults).

The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, in which Rocktail Beach Camp and Rocktail Bay Lodge are situated, has been renamed the iSimangaliso Wetland Park effective from November 1.

Chitabe camps cater for children
Chitabe and Chitabe Lediba Camps offer a wide range of children activities to help keep youngsters (from 8 years and upward – unless guests have booked sole use of a camp) stimulated and involved during their visit. Offerings range from a ‘kiddies walk’ within the camp confines to fabric painting, pastels, coloring books and painting ceramic animals.

Chitabe can even showcase the Baswara (Bushman) traditional art of using Ostrich eggshell in making a variety of jewelery and other decorative items. For kids who like to get dirty, try the traditional clay making utilizing termite mound sand and water. Also on hand is a wide variety of board games, puzzles, chess, backgammon and cards for those rainy days. For the more enquiring minds Chitabe offers a “mini” presentation that details the history of Botswana and aspects surrounding the local Motswana culture and which is tailored specifically for children.

Camp refurbs and closures
Mombo Camp will be undergoing an extensive soft refurbishment from 08 January to 14 February 2008.
Little Mombo will operate as an 8-bedded camp (by using one of the adjoining Mombo main camp tents) between 14 January and February 2008, i.e. during most of the time where Mombo is undergoing its refurbishment above (excluding dates during this period where guests may already have booked “sole use” of 6 beds).
Xigera will be closed for maintenance from 17 to 29 January 2008.
• The new premier Zibadianja Camp in the Selinda Reserve will be completely rebuilt on a different location from the current camp. Therefore, the current camp will only be closed from 04 January to 04 March 2008, to dedicate time to finishing the new premier camp on schedule.
DumaTau is closed for refurbishments from 18 to 29 February 2008.
The River Club closure dates for maintenance are from 1 to 15 December 2008.
Damaraland Camp is closed for maintenance from 14 January until 2 March 2008.
Desert Rhino Camp is closing for refurbishments from 30 April until 12 June 2008.
Little Makalolo Camp is closing for refurbishments from 1 December 07 to 31 March 08.
Ruckomechi Camp is closing for maintenance and rebuilding from 15 November 07 to 30 April 2008.

New Aircraft safety regulations for light aircraft
For safety purposes, passengers weighing 220 lbs/100kg or more must please advise their agent in advance, as an extra seat on all charter flights will then have to be costed in to the package.


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Selinda Reserve Updates - November 2007

The new Zibadianja Camp              Jump to Zibadianja Camp
One of Africa’s smallest camps is re-opening in April 2008

Zibadianja Camp is moving to a great new site that looks towards the Zibadianja Lagoon. The new site is about 2km south-east from the old camp and is situated in the far eastern sector of the Selinda Reserve under ancient Jackalberry and Red Ivory forests. The view, the shady trees and the high wildlife concentrations characterise the camp, as do the elevated views across the flood plain that forms an extension of Zibadianja Lagoon’s southern shores. The images below show the location chosen for the new 'Zib' camp, overlooking the Zibadianja Lagoon at the mouth of the Savuti Channel.

Zibadianja Lagoon, Savuti Channel, and the location of the new Zibadianja Camp
Zibadianja Lagoon, Savuti Channel, and the location of the new Zibadianja Camp

Zibadianja Lagoon and the location of the new Zibadianja Camp
Zibadianja Lagoon, Buffalo herd, and the location of the new Zibadianja Camp

Tent schematic for the new all-canvas tents at Zibadianja Camp
Schematic for the new Zibadianja tents (all canvas)

This Premier quality camp will have four large and luxuriously appointed, double or twin “marquis style” tents that accommodate a maximum of 6 FIT guests. It is perfect for small groups who are looking for privacy. (At times we may be able to accommodate a closed group of up to 8 guests). Each ‘campaign’ furnished tent is expansive (10x18m) and is positioned to emphasise the spectacular view. Each tent comprises a spacious bedroom, an en suite bathroom with copper bath & shower, and an outdoor shower as well as a separate and comfortable lounge. Hot water is available 24 hours a day. A large shady veranda is standard as are overhead fans and mosquito nets.


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

Summer has finally arrived and with it the calm sea conditions that we have been anticipating for some time. The wind patterns have also changed with the predominant winds now blowing from the north-east and north-west as opposed to the last few remaining gusts from the south-east that we saw last month.

With the change in the winds the sand movement on the beaches has also started to change. The wide beach in front of Villa 11 has begun to be removed and the sand is now building back up in front of the Restaurant and Dive Centre. There has already been approximately 50 cm of sand deposited in front of the dive centre from the last spring tides; this could not have come too soon as the last spring tides of November were accompanied by a significant swell which resulted in the water rising somewhat higher than usual.

We had some excellent sea conditions around the beginning of the month which has been great for the diving as well as for day trips to some of the further islands. The visibility has also improved drastically with days of visibility well in excess of 25 metres.

We saw several pods of dolphins this month which has been particularly exciting as we have not seen them for some time especially throughout October. The dolphins were spotted predominantly on 'Coral Gardens' off West Beach but also around the 'Boulders Reef' off Spa Hill. The groups that were spotted consisted of no more than about 4 to 6 individuals most of which completely ignored the presence of the boats allowing us to get relatively close next to the pod without creating a disturbance.
There were several groups that were spotted hunting on the surface around 'Coral Gardens' which provided some excellent sightings of the dolphins jumping clear of the water but most were spotted doing what is called 'travelling and resting' which is how the dolphins 'sleep' while they move from place to place.

The arrival of summer coincides with the arrival of the Nurse Sharks; we have begun to spot this particular species of shark mainly on 'Pat Banks' but now also on 'Coral Gardens' and 'North East Point'. The Nurse Sharks can grow in excess of 3 metres but fortunately only feed on small crabs and crustaceans which they literally suck out of the sand. They are also called Giant Sleepy Sharks due to the fact that they tend to spend most of their time 'sleeping' under small rock outcroppings and caves. It is relatively rare to see these sharks free swimming. We shall start to frequent the outer reef banks as this is where these sharks tend to congregate.

Along with the arrival of the Nurse Sharks comes the increase in the number of White Tip Reef Sharks that we see which mainly tend to hang around on our shallow reefs. We have spotted most of the new arrivals on 'Coral Gardens' but also on 'Sprat City' where we expect them to congregate towards the middle of summer.

One particular sighting of an unidentified shark in the small bay just north of the West Beach Bar has created quite a stir on the island. This shark has not been spotted in this area before and due to the fact that we are not 100% sure which species it is, creates some excitement. The small Hawksbill Turtle that we have often seen in this bay has however not been spotted this month, and neither has Fred, an extremely inquisitive Hawksbill Turtle that we sometimes see on Pat Banks. We have however begun to see a different Hawksbill, a much older individual which has algae growing over most of his carapace, quite frequently in this location. This individual while not being nearly as inquisitive swims extremely slowly allowing us to capture some excellent photos.

One particular species of shrimp that we have not identified around North Island before is the Tapestry Shrimp or Saron Marbled Shrimp (Hippolytidae saron) that was discovered by one of our Dive Instructors under a ledge on Pat Banks. Fortunately several pictures were taken of the shrimp which later revealed that there were actually 3 of these shrimps under the ledge. After searching most of the books that we have on shrimps we located this particular species. The Tapestry Shrimp is morphologically identical to a more common species of Marbled Shrimp (Hippolytidae saron marmoratus) but the distinct colour variant warrants a valid species. These shrimps frequent the Andaman Sea and Micronesia but have not been widely identified any further west.

On the 11th of November the SFA (Seychelles Fishing Authority) placed two sea temperature loggers, which will monitor the sea temperature over a specific period of time, on 'Sprat City' off the west of the Island. The loggers are attached to concrete blocks that are secured to the seabed by metal stakes. The data from these recorders will be retrieved in April/May 2008.

Patrick Armstrong

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Zambia Camps
Shumba Camp update - November 07                Jump to Shumba Camp

November has mesmerised us. The plains are luminous green and the sunrises and sunsets have been some of the most spectacular we have seen. October did not quite live up to our expectations of heat but November certainly has with temperatures averaging in the high thirties. Our guests have been able to enjoy the view from the swimming pool with a gin and tonic in hand. On the other hand on a few mornings we have awoken to a Continental Breakfast overlooking mist-filled Plains, reminding us of the cool mornings experienced as far back as the beginning of the season in May.

The Plains are mostly dry except for the main pools and the remaining Hippo Pans are mere ponds in comparison to the beginning of the season. Even so we have had a fair amount of rain, mostly in the evenings, allowing the roads to dry for our game drives, settling the dust and cooling the air somewhat. In all we have recorded 131mm of rain for the month. The rains brought new life to the Busanga Plains with flowers sprouting out everywhere. The colour contrast between the lush green and dazzling white is nothing short of spectacular and we are still in awe. As you can imagine this has allowed for fantastic photographic opportunities and our guests and staff members alike are taking full advantage.

The Busanga lion pride has spent more time up their favourite trees than on the ground this month and we have been able to spend a lot of time with them. The interaction between the sub-adults and lionesses has been marvellous, and we have witnessed them learning to climb trees for the first time and of course falling out of trees for the first time, it has been a hilarious sight to see. Also a part of our Busanga Comedy Act has been the two male lions also attempting tree climbing and unfortunately failing dismally. Two of the lionesses in the pride have given birth, each to two cubs. Their mothers have been very wary of letting them out for too long and a few amazing moments have been caught with the lioness carrying them out of the bushes to allow them to suckle and get a good preen. The lionesses have removed themselves from the rest of the pride but fantastic to watch has been the pride paying the odd visit, often in the same location slightly away from where they hide their cubs. The interaction lasts only a few hours and then the pride will move on off and the lionesses will return to their favourite tree.

The two territorial male lions and fathers of these cubs have been settled around Shumba for a few weeks, ruffling one another up and rolling around in the lush grass; they really do seem to be joined at the hip, never parting for too long.

The lechwe and puku around camp have trebled in numbers and the particularly around our Hippo Pool area there are hundreds of grazing antelope, rutting for rank and the rights to mate with the females. The bird life is also phenomenal, with Rosy-throated Lonclaws in abundance, hundreds of Open-billed Storks in the Pans, African Spoonbills, Pennant-winged Nightjars, Fulleborn's Longclaws and Painted Snipes to name but a few.

Added to the list of special mammal sightings has been the return of the two new male cheetah who were found outside camp early one evening. They were again seen the following morning passing by the camp towards the open Plains and walking sulkily through the rains, attempting to flick the water and mud off their paws at every step in true feline fashion.

Another highlight has been the wild dog pack. One afternoon after game drive had left we were stirred by the excited calling by Lexon over the radio, he had spotted the wild dogs and we frantically scrambled into our vehicles to go and get a glimpse of these beautiful canines. When we arrived they were resting on the western side of Kapinga Island. Although there had been evidence that they were in the area we had not sighted them for a while so it was truly a treat for all our guests and guides.

Guest highlights
"Thank you so much for the wonderful experience at Shumba. The staff were excellent, our first visit to Zambia, one we will never forget." - BTM - USA
"Thank you to everybody for the stay, the food and the game viewing and we will always remember the Italian dinner together." - RF - Italy (thank you for the authentic Italian cuisine!)
"Magnificent camp in the middle of nowhere and in the middle of an abundant Wilderness."
"Wonderfully driven, most friendly staff and excellent food. Wont be able to forget the 2 days and 2 nights I stayed here." - KT
"Thank you! What an amazing experience! We enjoyed fantastic hospitality, food, lodging and company. So thoughtfully done. An incredible experience and Wilderness and Wildlife, it was our first TRUE Safari and we're hooked!" - HDM - UK

We look forward to December and hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and New Year, we will be enjoying our own African festivities in the Busanga Plains with our families we have come to love, so from our Busanga Pride and the four new lives in the Plains, see you next year.

The Shumba Team

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

Summer is upon us at last! The rains have finally arrived, breaking the seasonal drought. November has been the tipping point in the seasonal scales and the dry season has come to an end. The rainy season - the time of plenty - has begun. This is the time of growth, of visiting migrant birds, of baby animals and a recovery time for the bush itself. With the rains arriving the temperatures have cooled down slightly and the dust has settled. The average maximum temperature this month was 32 degrees Celsius and the average minimum was a comfortable 20 degrees.

The morning of the 27th started off fine: the temperature was cool and the sky was covered in a grey mass of clouds. Everything was quite peaceful. As the morning progressed we could see clouds darkening towards the east and the south of the camp. Normally our rain comes from the north. A short while after brunch the clouds to the south of camp formed a wall of falling water and a front of rain then headed straight towards the camp. When it hit us it was as if the heavens had just opened up and poured gushing waterfalls from above. The wind speed increased dramatically and soon it was as if we were in a tropical cyclone. The rain was falling sideways with the strength of the gusts and the lightning was striking very close around the camp. Even large trees looked as if they were bending in the storm.

After a short while the rain ceased and the storm moved on. We had received 31mm of rain in less than an hour. There were fallen branches and leaves all over the walkways, and the turn-around area (where the cars park) was one big puddle. At tent 7 we found that the large Mangosteen tree in front of the room (the specific tree that the leopards seemed to favour putting kills into) had been pushed right over by the high wind speeds of the storm that had just passed through. The roots of the tree had not been able to hold the large magnificent tree any more and were ripped right out of the ground. It was an incredible show of nature's power.

The unusual storm dropped a fair amount of water upon the earth in the area and this has resulted in many of the seasonal pools and puddles in the mopane woodlands to fill up. Hippo, terrapins and frogs have already been seen moving into some of the pans. While there is now standing water lying throughout the interior woodlands the water levels in the river, lagoons and the floodplains are still receding. Perhaps with the rains arriving now the water levels will stop dropping and stabilise. In the Savute Channel the water has receded beyond "The Old Mopane Bridge". At the edges of the Lagoons and river the receding water is exposing muddy stretches. These muddy areas are attracting quite a few wading birds, including numerous Ruffs, Wood Sandpipers, Greenshanks, Common Sandpipers and Black-winged Stilts.

With the arrival of the rains the vegetation has reacted in response. All of the trees are in full leaf now, although the grass has not taken yet. In many places there is an emerald flush where the new blades are just being exposed. The mopane woodlands and the riverine belt is once again becoming a wall of green. Although visibility is now becoming more limited in the woodlands and scrubby area again, the Savute Channel is still very open. These plants have been in full flower this month and, in places, as one drives down the channel, one can smell their sweet perfumed scent. In the woodlands the sandy patches are still fairly open and visibility is still fairly good.

The smaller vertebrates, like the reptiles and amphibian, are also emerging from the winter slumber and taking advantage of the feast of food. At night the frogs and other creatures play their symphonies from the reed beds and waterholes. There is the high-pitched chiming of the Painted Reed Frogs mixed with the trilling of the Banded Rubber Frogs and the bubbling of the Cassinas, all offset with the baritone of the toads and bullfrogs. It is like a virtual orchestra in the wilderness.

Birds and birding
Now that the seasons have changed again and summer is in full swing many of the migrant birds have returned to us from Central Africa and from Europe. Our species count this month was at 238 and there were probably quite a few others that we missed. The familiar "Yip Trrrrrrr" call of the Woodland Kingfishers resounds again. The White-browed Robin Chat that recently raised a chick in a nest right near the swimming pool is in full form. The young chick is very cute with his buffy, spotted plumage and is doing well.

The Barn Swallows are now gathering again in large flocks in front of camp, at last light, as they gather to roost in the reed beds bordering the lagoon. Carmine Bee-eaters and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters are back hawking insects in the floodplains, impressing us with their beautiful colours and agile flight displays and we are again seeing the bright flash of terra-cotta in the trees in camp as the Paradise Flycatchers flit through the boughs. Many of the migrant eagles are returning now to take advantage of the termite eruptions, and all along the Savuti Channel the dead trees are decorated with various raptors: Amur Falcons, Red-footed Kestrels, Wahlberg's Eagles, Steppe Buzzards, Yellow-billed Kites, Steppe Eagles and Lesser-spotted Eagles. Storks seen this month include Marabou, Woolly-necked Storks, Yellow-billed storks, Abdim's Storks and Saddle-billed Storks. The pair of Saddle-bills and their two juveniles at Zibadianja Lagoon are still doing well. Mr T had a stunning sighting this month of one of the adult birds, as it caught and devoured a fairly large snake right in front of him and his guests.

The following are some of the other special bird sightings this month: Ban was lucky enough to see a Collared Palm Thrush at Kubu Lagoon one day. An African Skimmer (a threatened species) has been seen on a few occasions this month skimming the surface of the water, catching fish, in the late afternoons by Zib Hide. A pair of Wattled Cranes (another endangered species) has also been seen on a few occasions near Zib Hide and at the mouth of the Savute Channel. A few Slaty Egrets have been seen fishing in the shallow waters in the floodplains and near Zib Lagoon. Master reported seeing a Greater Painted Snipe at the edge of a seasonal pool of water in the mopane woodlands. Mr T also reported seeing a Long-crested Eagle this month in the woodlands near Chobe 1. The Black Herons are still being seen in the area of Zib Lagoon and Zib Mangosteens and are always interesting to watch as the hunt fish in the shallow waters. Probably the most exciting bird sighting this month was of a pair of Grey Plovers that was seen in the area near the first corner of the Savute Channel for a few days. Grey Plovers are very scarce in the interior, away from the coast. These birds were obviously lost or had been blown deep inland by possibly a large storm.

Wildlife sightings
Now that the seasonal pools in the woodlands are full again many of the animals have dispersed away from the river and floodplains. The day after the first substantial (over 20 mls) rains in the area the elephants had all spread out throughout the woodlands. They no longer needed to concentrate in large herds near the river and lagoons. Sightings of elephants have been scattered since the rains fell. Guests are still seeing elephants, but nowhere near in the same quantities that we see them in the dry season.

This month has probably been the last month of the season for buffalo sightings, with just a few of a small herd of buffalo near Shumba Pan and the occasional scattered sightings of small groups of "Dagha Boys" (old males) in the woodlands.

Even though the general game has spread out into the woodlands, now that there are pools of water lying about there, we are still seeing a lot of animals in the area. Most of the antelope and other animals have now moved away from the floodplains, and these areas are now once again the dominion of the wetland animals such as red lechwe and hippo. The mixed woodland behind the riverine belt has become the new gathering place for the rest of the animals and the kudu, giraffe, impala, warthog and even baboon seem to be enjoying these areas now. The occasional wildebeest (and even a herd with 4 young calves) is still visible in the channel, as are the black-backed jackals who live at Rock Pan and those that live near Dish Pan Clearing. Ban did, however, have one really good sighting of one of the most elusive antelope in the concession this month. He was out on a boat trip in the middle of the day and was at Osprey Lagoon when he noticed two chocolate-brown antelope in the reeds and papyrus bordering the lagoon. As he approached a bit closer he realised that the two antelope were in fact a female sitatunga and her young calf. Sitatunga are a particularly shy type of antelope that live in the thick swamps and papyrus beds and we very seldom see these antelope, although there is supposedly a fair population that live in the thicker parts of the Linyanti Swamps. Ban and his guests were very fortunate to see this pair.

November has been the month of impala babies, with the first one seen on the 11th. As we were driving up "Chobe 1" from the river we noticed a female impala who was standing very strangely. She was walking very stiff-legged and it seemed as though she was alone. Initially we thought that she may be injured or sick and we only realised that she had just given birth when we saw the tiny impala lamb lying in the bushes nearby. The mother impala then gave a frog-like grunt and started moving towards the thicker bushes. The young lamb stood up and, very shaky on its legs, started to follow its mom. The baby impala was still wet and very small. We watched as the impala ewe and her newborn lamb headed off into the thickets. It was only a few days later that we saw the next baby impala, but now that the month has come to an end many of the other pregnant females have given birth. There are still a few females walking around with swollen bellies, but they should also be giving birth soon (probably in the next week or two).
With the general game dispersing into the woodlands the predators have moved away from all their obvious haunts. The cats and dogs seem to be moving around more in the thicker mopane woodlands now, where the visibility is reduced and there is standing water and puddles lying all around.

Lions were seen on approximately 14 days this month, most of which were of the Savuti Pride. At the moment this pride comprises 2 adult females ("Isis" and "Savuti 2"), 3 sub-adult males (two of which are old enough to leave the pride now) and 3 sub-adult females. These lions have been moving around in the woodlands quite a bit and seem to have been quite successful with hunting this month. On the 4th they were seen resting nearby the river in the area known as "the Calcrete Patch". One of the sub adult males was missing from the pride and Isis seemed to be injured slightly (flesh wounds). We wondered whether she been involved in a fight with other lions, and were concerned that the young male may be seriously injured or dead.

On the morning of the 7th the pride were seen very close to DumaTau staff village. They had just killed a warthog and were busy feeding on the remains. After finishing off their meagre meal they went and rested in the shade of some Kalahari Apple Leaf shrubs. The young male was still absent, but during the day, he returned to the group. He looked healthy and it does not appear that he was injured at all. The next morning the guides found their tracks in the woodlands behind Kubu Lagoon. It appeared from the tracks that they had been hunting and the trail was quite mixed up, with tracks going in all directions. Eventually Ban managed to find them. They were in the mopane scrubland just behind "Ele Valley Rd". They had been successful with their hunt and were busy feeding on a large adult female giraffe that they had obviously killed during the night. This must have been an epic battle as giraffe are rather large and can kick very hard. The next morning the lions were still feeding from the carcass, now visibly full and fat.

Later, as the sun was getting ready to set, a clan of hyaena appeared and tried to drive the lions off the kill and expropriate it for themselves. The lions fought back and managed to drive them off. The hyaena then started whooping and calling and soon more reinforcements arrived. There was much growling and chasing, but by the time the sun started setting the hyaenas had gained the upper hand and had driven the lions off the kill. The lions then regrouped and attacked the hyaena again, who were not able to drag the large carcass away. The lions came out on top this time and reclaimed the kill.

During the night there was yet another battle with the hyaena taking advantage of the full bellies of the lions. By the afternoon the only signs that something had happened there was a leg bone or two, the skin of the giraffe and numerous vultures perched in the dead trees nearby. Later on during the month they were found feeding on another dead giraffe. These two lionesses are amazing hunters. This was our last sighting of lions for the month, although we heard from the Kings Pool Guides that they had found the Savuti Pride two days later feeding on a young buffalo to the north-east of Chobe Airstrip, in the mopane woodlands.

On the morning of the 16th the guides found tracks of male lions all around the beginning of the Savute Channel. After much searching they found two males lying up near "Giraffe Bones", known to us as the Selinda Males. Their territory is not in our concession and it appeared that the two males (including "Silver-eye") had come into the area to fight with the Savuti Males. From the tracks the guides could see that two other males (probably the Savuti Males) had been chased away from the area and had headed towards Savuti Camp. The guides from Savuti later told us that they had seen the two Savuti Males a day or two afterwards and both were sporting minor injuries from the clash. On the morning of the 18th the two Selinda Males were again seen in the mopane scrublands near "Bateleur Road". It now appears that these two males may be trying to extend their territory into our concession and that the Savuti Boys are steadily being driven towards the east. Maybe this is the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of the lions of the Linyanti?

Leopard sightings have been at an all-time low for the year this month and we only saw them on 7 days this month (less than 25% of days). This is not very surprising as the bush is getting much thicker now and visibility is limited. On the morning of the 12th we were driving through the mopane woodlands towards the airstrip when we noticed that there were three young male impalas that were acting quite distressed. They were staring into the scrub on the other side of the road, were giving warning snorts and were all standing in a very alert posture. We pulled slowly forwards and there, in amongst the newly leafed mopane scrubs, we saw the white flicker of the tail of a leopard as it moved through the thick bushes. It was a large relaxed male leopard. We followed him through the bushes for a while until he rested in the shade. This was not our usual tomcat (the male most commonly encountered in the area is known as the "DumaTau Male"). After looking carefully at him for some time we finally recognised him as the "Thonningi Male". We have not seen this male for many months as his territory does not extend into our game drive area. After a short rest he got up and started walking again, very proud and quite healthy. The bush was very thick and it was difficult to follow him. He was heading back towards his area and we left him on his way. That evening we saw his tracks again, where he had come out on the other side of the large block of vegetation, back in his own territory again.

On the afternoon of the 12th Ashleigh and Roger drove out towards Muntswe Open Area. They were just entering a road off the channel when they came across a young leopard drinking from a puddle of water. They watched it for a while and then noticed that there was another leopard there as well. It was the Muntswe Female and her youngster. They were quite relaxed with the vehicle and Ash and Roger had an awesome sighting of them. The next morning the Savuti guides went back to the area and found the two leopards again. The mother leopard had killed an impala and had stashed it in a small tree.

Wild dog sightings have been sporadic: this month we have seen dogs on 5 days (less than 20% of days). Since the DumaTau Pack finished denning in the scrublands to the south of the Savute Channel in August/September they seem to have headed into the Selinda Concession and even up to the Kwando area. However, while they have been away we have been surprised to be visited by a strange pack of five dogs. This "new" pack was seen first in September, shortly after the larger pack had headed into Selinda. This small pack stayed in the area for September and October and on the morning of the 4th they were seen just to the south-east of Savuti Camp. They had killed a female kudu (this pack seems able to kill very large antelope such as tsessebe and kudu, which is quite unusual) and were feeding on it. The next day their tracks were seen headed towards Kings Pool and the Linyanti River. On the 15th they were seen again resting up in the shade near Kings Pool Airstrip. In the afternoon they all got up and greeted each other (this is an amazing thing to watch, as they all try to be as submissive as possible to senior members of the pack, chittering and smiling and rushing all around with their white tails standing upright in excitement) and then headed off to hunt in the woodlands.

The DumaTau pack was seen again this month, after their long absence. There are indeed only two pups alive. It is quite sad that the 3rd pup perished. The other two, however, are looking great and are bundles of energy. On the morning of the 12th we came across the big pack near Bishops Pan deep in the mopane woodlands, beyond the airstrip. The two pups were busy chasing each other around and jumping up against each other. Some of the adults had new blood around their ruffs and throats and all the dog's bellies were full. They had obviously been successful on the hunt and now they were ready to rest up during the heat of the day. They had picked a beautiful pan in the tall mopane woodlands and the adults started to lie down in the shade. The pups were playing in a puddle at the edge of the pan. Suddenly one of the adult dogs growled and quickly ran towards the other side of the pan. All the adults jumped up and also headed in the same direction. There, on the other side of the water was a fairly large water monitor walking across the dried clay. All the dogs gathered around the big lizard and were quite curious about it. The adults had obviously had experience with this type of creature and were wary of its claws, bite and lashing tail. After a short while the adults went back to rest, while the pups followed the monitor until it headed into the thick bushes and then they too returned to rest.
After this they disappeared towards Kings Pool and were only seen again on the afternoon of the 20th. Chantelle was busy guiding a very nice couple of repeat guests. She had seen the tracks of the dogs headed into the woodlands on the way to the airstrip, on the morning drive, and was hoping that they would pop out in the afternoon. She was beginning to lose hope when suddenly, around the next bend, they were all lying in the road. It was a great sighting.

The stars of the month have definitely been the two male cheetah, known as the "Savuti Boys". These two are possibly two of the most well-known cheetah in Africa and are very old now. Even so they are still in fabulous condition and are still providing some amazing sightings. We have seen this coalition of males on at least 10 days this month (over 30% of days). We also one sighting this month of a skittish female and her youngster, but they were very shy and quickly ran into the thick bushes where the guides lost her.

On the 7th the "Savuti Boys" were seen feeding on an impala on the eastern side of Dish Pan Clearing, near the old Boscia Tree and the big termite heap. On the 10th they had caught another female impala in the same area. Once again they were very happy and very fat. These two are really great hunters.

On morning of the 14th they were once again spotted near the Old Boscia Tree on the eastern side of Dish Pan Clearing on the move. They had spotted three warthogs in the bush on the banks of the channel and were following them. The warthogs were slowly mobile towards the open area, when they realised that they were being stalked. They made a dash for it and split up. The two cheetah brothers kept after one of the pigs as it headed towards the open grasslands in a flat-out sprint. As it entered into the wide-open area the pig realised that it had made a mistake and that the cheetah would catch up with it there. The cheetah brothers were right after it and as they were getting closer and closer the young warthog came across an aardvark burrow in the ground.

One of the cheetah was right on the warthog's tail as it scrambled into the hole. The warthog had made it to safety just in time?or had it? It appears that there was something else in residence down the hole that the warthog had entered and it was not long before the warthog's head appeared at the entrance again. He seemed eager to get out of the hole. The cheetahs had now moved off to a nearby termite heap and had just been lying down in the shade, when they noticed the warthog exiting the hole. The warthog seemed a bit dazed and did not notice the two cheetah that were only metres away from it now, crouched in the shadows. The warthog seemed to walk straight towards the cheetah. Well, the cheetah must have been smiling. I don't think they could believe their eyes. Here their dinner was walking right up to them. They quickly jumped up and grabbed the poor warthog?right in front of all three of the vehicles that had been watching the earlier chase! They promptly killed the unlucky pig and then had a great meal. What an amazing, exciting sighting!

Anyway, what a fantastic month we have all had here in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve in the wilderness areas of far-northern Botswana! We are looking forward to seeing what next month shows us in the ongoing nature chronicles.

Best wishes to all you out there, from all of us at DumaTau Camp


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Kings Pool Camp update - November 07                Jump to Kings Pool Camp

November at Kings Pool started without any elephants at all in the area, a not uncommon feature for this period of early summer. Strangely enough though, after the official first rain of the season (which was rather late and which resulted in a mass of winged termites or flying ants the next day), the elephants started to return to the Kings Pool area, along with all their young.

The spotted hyaenas that were born late October have become quite the family and were all very entertaining in every aspect and were on show early morning and late afternoon just about every day. As a result they have become remarkably comfortable with our presence at the den site and have provided spectacular photo opportunities of their often very endearing antics.

Speaking of young and reproduction, the impala have started giving birth and as a result providing easy prey the big alpha male baboons as well as spotted hyaena, leopard and other predators such as wild dog. Our giraffe viewing has been excellent with journeys of these tall beasts being spotted on a daily basis, some even coming right into camp.

Waterbuck sightings have been plentiful as have our sightings of the endangered wild dog. We saw up to three packs of this spectacular carnivore with the largest pack consisting of 13 animals. A pack of five wild dogs arrived at the meet and greet area of camp just to see the guests off on their morning game drive one morning. We had excellent sightings of this species hunting and in general they thrilled out guests with their high octane activities.

The territorial male lion coalition known as the Border Boys given their movements between Botswana and neighbouring Namibia were as popular as ever and the male lion that was treated by the vet last month for a suspected snare wound received in Namibia is well on his way to recovery. Leopard were also spotted on a regular basis and are making short work of the baby impala. As usual the pool was full of hippo with up to 30 in a pod.

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Kwando Safari Camps Update - November 07

Lagoon camp               Jump to Lagoon Camp
• A single lioness seems to have joined the coalition of four male lions. Two of the males sustained some injuries during their buffalo hunts and one of them is limping. The injuries do not look too serious though.  
• Leopard sightings were excellent during this month. A female leopard was found with an Impala kill. She was very relaxed and provided good photographic opportunity. Other sightings included a female with cub as well as a young male and female hunting in different areas.
• The three new male Cheetah in the area are now getting used to the vehicles and are very relaxed. They were seen on numerous occasions hunting and feeding. The two brothers also put in an appearance. They were also seen hunting and feeding on a kill on the eastern side of the airstrip. Three young males were briefly seen in the area but were very nervous and did not stay very long.
• The Lagoon pack of six adult Wild dogs and seven pups are still together. They have been seen killing Impala almost everyday. Two male dogs briefly appeared in the area and got into a fight with the Lagoon pack. The sub-adult females did however show some interest in the new males. An old single male dog was also seen roaming in the area.
• The large breeding herds of Elephant have disappeared into the Mopane forests since the rain has started. Some of the smaller herds and bachelor males were still seen feeding on the flood planes.
• The big herds of Buffalo have also started moving into the mopane forest now that the rain has started. Small bachelor herds still remain in the area and are seen on a regular basis.     
• Chameleons have started appearing again and were seen on nearly every night drive. Hyena and Jackal were also seen every night. A very rare sighting was reported when the game drives followed a Caracal and saw it hunting and killing a Springhare.
• General game sightings were fantastic during this month as all the Tsessebee’s and Impalas are having their babies now. Many Zebra were also seen as well as Giraffe, Kudu, Lechwe, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Sable and Roan Antelope.
• Excellent sightings of Porcupines, Aardvark, Civet, Serval, Wildcat and Honey Badger were reported during night drives.
• Birding was very good during this month. Almost all of the summer residents are now in attendance. Some of the birds seen were Woodlands Kingfishers, Whalbergs Eagle, Wattled Cranes and Ground Hornbills. Two big Pythons were seen during the game drives. One of the Pythons was seen interacting with the Wild Dog pups.

Kwara & Little Kwara camps               Jump to Kwara & Little Kwara camps
• The very successful coalition, of seven male Lions, still roams the Kwara area. One of the two dominant males has disappeared and information from the neighbouring concession confirmed that buffalo killed him. His brother in arms, has an injured hind leg, and was seen hanging around in the vicinity of the camp. The Tsum-Tsum pride, consisting of seven Lionesses and one male, were seen hunting Warthog, Tsessebe and Zebra, but they were not successful. They did manage to kill a Tsessebe later in the month, and were seen feeding on the kill. The male was also seen mating with one of the Lionesses. Another coalition of four male Lions was seen sleeping in the Tsum-Tsum area.
• The well-known female Leopard and her cub returned to the Kwara area after not being seen for a couple of weeks. She managed to kill an impala and were seen feeding on the kill with her sub adult female offspring. She also managed to kill a Reedbuck but lost part of the kill to a Spotted Hyena.
• The female Cheetah and her three cubs were seen hunting Impala and Tsessebe but they were not successful. They bumped in to a pack of Wild Dogs, near Impala pan, and had a narrow escape when the dogs decided to chase them. The three brothers were also seen regularly throughout the month.
• Wild Dog sightings were very good during the month, as the pack of 22 dogs were seen frequently. The pack consists of 13 adult dogs and 9 pups. They were followed on numerous of their hunts and were seen robbing Baboons of there Impala kills.
• A number of bachelor Elephant herds were seen at the lagoon in front of camp. They were drinking and splashing around in the mud. No sighting of breeding herds was reported during this month.  
• The big herds of Buffalo were seen during the month, until the rains started. They then all disappeared in to the mopane forest and now only small breeding herds visits the area.
• Hyena was seen most nights patrolling around the camps and good interaction between them and the Wild Dogs were reported. Both Black Backed and Side-Striped Jackal were seen during the night drives. One of the game drives also saw some Bat Eared Fox.
• General game sightings were excellent throughout the month. The Impala, Tsessebe and Wildebeest are busy dropping their young, so lots of newborn babies around. An unusual sighting of some male Baboons killing Impala newborns was also reported.
• Good sightings of Civet, Serval and African Wild Cat have been reported. Serval and Genets were also seen on some of the drives.
• A fantastic sighting of two Secretary birds fighting with a Spitting Cobra was reported by the game drives. The Secretary Birds managed to kill the Cobra in the end. Birding in general was very good with the heronry being very active. Some of the species sighted were, Wattled Cranes, Ground Hornbills, Meyers Parrots, Slaty Egrets and Lappet Faced Vultures that were busy nesting.

Lebala camp
               Jump to Lebala Camp
• The pride of three lionesses and their eight cubs were seen roaming around the airstrip killing Warthogs almost every second day. The two dominant male Lions killed a Buffalo one hundred meters from the camp. They were later joined by the whole pride and stayed with the kill for two days. The pride managed to kill two more Buffalo during the month.
• The young male Leopard has become a regular sighting in the Lebala area. He was seen hunting and killing a Tree Squirrel. A female Leopard was located almost in the same area with a baby Impala kill. Two different male Leopards were also seen in the Lebala area. One was found hunting close to the airstrip and the other was seen hunting in the mopane woodlands.  
• A very relaxed female Cheetah was seen hunting and relaxing on numerous occasions during the month. Two male Cheetahs were also found feeding on an Impala carcass. They stayed for two days and moved North towards Lagoon camp.
• A pack of 10 adult Wild Dogs and two puppies were found feeding on a Tsessebe carcass. A single male Wild Dog, very old and weak, was found at Twin Pools. This dog was aimlessly wandering around for two days before disappearing.
• After the first rains the big breeding herds of Elephant disappeared into the Mopane forests only to find they had to return to the flood planes when the rains did not continue.
• Several Buffalo herds were located at various places drinking and some males mating with females. Small bachelor herds were also seen running through the area.
• Birding has been very good this month with all the summer migrants accounted for. Carmine Bee-eaters, Blue cheek Bee -eaters, Paradise Fly Catchers and Broad billed Rollers were some of the birds that made for a very colourful display. Bullfrogs showed up with the rains as well as African Rock Pythons, Snouted and Spitting Cobras.   
• Hyenas were located feeding on a young elephant carcass as well as at a lion kill. Both species of Jackal were seen at these kills as well. A clan of Hyena were also seen fighting with the Wild Dogs over a Tsessebe kill.
• General game sightings have been very good through out the month due to the Impalas, Tsessebe and Wildebeest dropping their young. Good sightings of Roan Antelope were also reported.
• A very shy Aardvark was located along the old Lebala road. Mongoose, Caracal, Honey Badger and Serval were very common sightings during the month. Bat Eared fox were also seen on a regular basis.
• Night sightings were good with both species of Jackal being seen. Spotted Hyena and Jackal were seen feeding on an Elephant carcass. Some of the Hyena clans managed to kill a very old Buffalo cow near the airstrip and they managed to finish it off overnight.
• Birding was excellent during this month, with most of the summer residents around. The Carmine Bee-Eaters are breeding and the weavers are busy making nests. Some Paradise Flycatchers were also seen around camp.
• Civet, Serval, Porcupines as well as Honey Badgers were common sightings throughout the month. Various Mongoose species were also seen.

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Mombo Camp update - November 07                Jump to Mombo Camp

Another incredible month on the Mombo Island - known as 'the place of plenty' - has really made a clear razor-sharp designation between our winter and summer. It came with an infinity of species? flourishing grasses and plants in the floodplains and islands. November brought far more newborn impala lambs than in October - the month known as Palani by native Setswana speakers due to the seasonality of impala births.

There was a fair amount of rainfall received this month and we recorded 12.4mm of rain in the middle of the month and about 21mm towards the end on the month. Due to the cloud cover in the month as storms were trying to build up, the temperatures never really got that high. We recorded 14.7°C on our coldest morning and evening and about 38.9°C on our hottest day.

Vegetation
Distinctive bands of vegetation, visible as one flies into the area, are now more pronounced than ever with the lush green-coloured islands and plains defining all the varied habitats of differing species found in the island. Most of the local fruiting tree species such as the fig tree, the African mangosteen and the water berries have provided an abundance of food to most primate and birds. Seasonal flowers like Fireball lilies in their bright red colouration are well distributed in the island and the plains are starting to have a carpet-like green cover of grasses like the couch grass and this has attracted large herds of herbivores which congregate daily on these palatable plains.

Predator sightings
We had as many as 72 lion sightings this month. This came about from a good number of prides being located over and above the two main prides, the Maporota and the Mathata. The prides include the Wailer and the Piajo (2 males, 2 females and 3 sub adults) Prides mainly found in the Simbira area. The Sticknyao Males patronised the Baobab Roost and the Maporata Road areas and were mainly found mating with various females and the Boro Pride of 11 animals was seen feeding on a tsessebe in the middle Boro area. The Mathata Pride is still in the area and on one occasion was found feeding on a zebra kill when an elephant came in and chased this pride of more than 20 off the kill. The Maporota Pride has also been seen a good number of times and amongst them is an injured female.

We saw a number of different leopards this month. Amongst these sightings was one of the well-known Legadima who had just killed two baby impalas and hoisted them into two different trees along the western side of the airstrip. A couple of unknown leopards have been sighted including the young male which was found with an impala kill up in a tree in the tree line Simbira area. Good sightings were had of the Far Eastern Pan Female and her now independent son present in more or less the same territorial confines in the Perfect Acacia, Simbira Baobab and the Eastern Pan area.

It was not a great month for cheetah viewing as a result of intense lion activity in the prime cheetah habitats. We had only one sighting of our most regularly viewed individual - a single male. He was found feeding on a young red lechwe in the Twin Pan area. Wild dog sightings made up for this however and the guides managed to find the same pack on three different occasions. This pack is the Santawani Pack with three adult males, one female and five sub-adults. These dogs roamed widely but on one occasion were found in the Simbira area after a successful impala hunt in the morning. In the afternoon they managed to get another impala in the same area. These dogs are very relaxed with vehicles though they seem to have a very large home range which might be the reason why they take a good period of time between their visits to the Mombo Island.

Herbivore viewing
Buffalo herds of 1000-strong have been found east of Bird Island and in the Boro and Lechwe Haven. They are found in both open floodplain and on the islands where there is fresh grass. The plains in front of camp seem to be rich enough to keep the bachelor herd in Mombo Camp well fed and close to their favourite sleeping areas underneath the decks of the tents, close to the boardwalks and around the camp.

A good number of zebra foals have been seen, even in the process of birth, and we are assured of seeing good concentrations of this species on most drives. The herds have also started wading in the golf course-like floodplains in front of the camp as they are after the new shoots emerging from the soil.

Elephant are similarly enjoying the new grass and have diverted their feeding from trees to become grazers for the summer. Good-sized breeding herds were found in the area, sometimes with very young calves. White rhino were seen on only a handful of occasions but when seen produced memorable sightings.

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