Wild Dogs return to Kwara
Employees at Kwara were thrilled and grateful to witness the return of the resident pack of wild dogs in October, even though their numbers had decreased. When they left the area, around three months before, they had nine puppies; now they just have five survivors. They seemed to be doing exceptionally well now that they're back in Kwara and were seen hunting and feeding on impala on numerous occasions during the month.
Guests watched as the adults were interacting with their pups near to the Kwara staff village. A hyena approached and was brutally attacked by the dogs for about five minutes, leaving the hyena on the verge of death. The dogs travelled around 300 metres and continued to rest. A second pack of 6 dogs were also still in the area and seen several times, once losing their kill to two male lions.
At Kwara, we have come to expect the unexpected. While enjoying breakfast around the campfire, the early morning tranquillity was disturbed by a pack of wild dogs chasing an impala straight through the camp and into the lagoon. The Impala managed to outrun the dogs but ran straight into the jaws of two large crocodiles who tore it apart, all right in front of the main building. What a start to the day!
Lion kills aplenty
While warthogs are more likely to be seen, the bushpig is shy, nocturnal and rarely sighted. Our guides were therefore stunned to come across two male lions eating a bushpig one day. As always at Kwara there were a variety of prides of lions in the area, meaning that males were often seen scent marking and roaring to establish their territories. The prides were spotted hunting a range of different prey including zebra, buffalo and tsessebe. Two males were found feeding on an elephant carcass, surrounded by hyenas, jackals and vultures all waiting for their turn at the remains.
A female leopard with her month-old cub continued to captivate guests. She is a compassionate mother and was always seen entering the den to nurse her offspring in the early morning and dusk. The cub was exceedingly healthy and energetic; we were entertained by seeing it learn to climb trees for the first time and towards the end of the month, it was starting to take short walks away from the den with its mother. One bright morning a guide and tracker team identified drag marks and blood stains; which made them follow up the tracks and were gifted with a sighting of a majestic male leopard still dragging his fresh kill. Already many vultures, kites and eagles were waiting in anticipation of a scavenging opportunity.
"Special" the Cheetah male returns
The familiar male cheetah is known as “Special” vanished for about a week, but returned and was seen back in the area, scent marking and patrolling his territory. We saw him chase and kill a fully-grown impala. The resident female cheetah and her sub-adult cub obligingly posed for photographic opportunities on a termite mound. These two animals specialise on reedbuck but were also seen hunting tsessebe and impala who were starting to drop their young.
Hyena & breeding herds of Elephants
The hyena den was still very active, and guests enjoyed seeing the healthy and energetic cubs playing.
The flood levels were receding and so vast breeding herds of elephants were moving towards the main channels. We were fortunate enough to see mating elephants on one occasion. A rare sitatunga antelope was found in the Kwara channel.
So much more on a Mokoro safari
A popular activity amongst guests is a mokoro trip combined with a short nature walk to look at some of the smaller creatures of the Okavango Delta. From the mokoros, we were able to spot tiny Painted Reed Frogs, huge hippos and birds including the beautiful Malachite Kingfisher and fascinating African Jacana. While walking, we came across a group of dwarf mongoose feeding on snouted termites. On a nearby branch, a fork-tailed drongo was eyeing up the insects. In a fascinating interaction, we were able to watch the small bird mimic a martial eagle call to frighten the mongooses into hiding so that it could have the termites all to himself.