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Kwando Safaris December Sightings Part II

Thursday, 26 January 2012 10:21 by BillGiven

Here's another update from Kwando Safaris. This is a continuation of the December sightings. Yesterday we covered from Kwando Lagoon Camp, Kwando Lebala Camp, and Tau Pan Camp wildlife sightings. We now move on to Kwando Kwara Camp and Nxai Pan Camp.

Enjoy the rest of this month's update!

Kwara Concession

The beginning of December truly proved to become a festive month for all. We began the month with two sightings of leopards: while driving around Marula Island, we spotted a relaxed male, looking a bit hungry, who began hunting whilst we looked on. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful. In the afternoon we spotted another leopard, this one female, she was walking around in the same area that the male had been in the morning, so it’s possible she was interested in mating. Leopards were seen through the rest of the month, including a mother with her cub feeding on an impala.

Predator sightings in the Kwara concession have been quite successful. Lions topping our wish list and rarely disappointing, seeing them almost every day. There is nothing better than observing social behaviour and interactions and what better cat than to display all these than a cheetah and her 3 cubs. As we drove towards Wild Dog pan, we spotted the female cheetah and her 3 cubs playing under the shades. We stayed with the cheetahs for a while and through the month these were shay cats were seen in our concession every week. The coalition of three males were also seen often in the Tsum Tsum area but were difficult to follow through the mopane woodland. On the 14th we were so excited after spotting a pack of wild dogs near Tsum Tsum, and to top it all off, the dogs were feasting on a zebra...

Ever since the rains, general game has been quite plentiful, including in and around camp. Usually in the mornings, we have a lot of impalas foraging between the tents. It’s always great to witness these antelopes in large groups, with the baby impala still quite skittish, always staying close to their mothers. We have not been seeing a lot of elephants in camp, ever since the rains, these majestic animals are mostly feeding out in the marshes and plains. On the 11th we spotted 21 elephants whilst out on the boat cruise, crossing the Kwara channel. Quite an interesting sighting, we stopped the boat and witnessed the ellies swimming, feeding and having a great time in the water.

There have been plentiful sightings of antelopes, including tsessebes, wildebeest, reedbuck and buffalos. Also herds of zebras, dust bathing and grazing at four rivers. We also caught a glimpse of a rare sighting: bush pig! Looking a bit like an over-furry warthog, these animals are exceptionally shy, and hard to see.

A huge crocodile was located at Paul’s crossing, not shy at all and on the hunt for fish. We also spotted 8 hippos at Peters crossing and these colossal giants were playing, and of course grunting!

Birding has been wonderful this past month, considering that all you have to do is sit out on the porch in front of your tent with a pair of binoculars and look out in front of our camp. In the trees in camp we hear the birds calling constantly, including the black eyed bul bul, crested barbet and starlings.

Nxai Pan Camp

The beginning of December saw heavy rains, turning the roads into water channels, more suited to a mokoro! The sun came out, quickly drying things up again, but not before the first of the springbok began to be born… Soon, lots of little springboks were bouncing around, learning to run and jump on their stick-thin legs.

The rain also collected in the pans in front of Baines Baobabs – a magnificent sight at any time, but with the addition of the water birds skimming the pans for frogs and insects, it’s a magical place indeed.

The first two weeks of December saw lots of cats – cheetahs and lions – all doing what cats do best – sleeping! However, there was a leopard who decided not to fit into the same pattern, and was seen walking along West Road.

Perhaps realising she had to set a good example for her cubs, in mid December, a female cheetah caught a young springbok, but didn’t kill it, She gave it to her two cubs to play with – this helps them learn hunting and killing techniques. There is always the chance that the springbok will be able to escape the cubs, particularly when they a first learning what to do, but on this occasion, the baby springbok was not so lucky, and cubs killed it.

After the burst of rains at the beginning of the month, very little else fell, and as things got drier again, the lions and cheetah were seen more and more often relaxing in the vicinity of the natural water holes. Elephants and other animals are also visiting the water holes regularly, as the puddles dry up again.

The zebra migration is currently moving through the park. The zebras appear to have split into two, possibly three groupings this year, spreading further out, possibly due to the late appearance of the rain this year.

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