Magnificent Gathering of Elephants at Lagoon
As temperatures rose throughout October, hundreds of elephants began to gather in the riverine area creating a magnificent spectacle for guests who were able to witness the herds during the day from the main area and their rooms. A peaceful herd of sable antelope were also spotted quite often in the afternoons as they wandered out of the woodlands down to the river to drink.
The alliance between two male cheetah brothers was regularly seen, killing successfully every two days on species such as impala and warthog. A mother cheetah and two cubs who were new to the area were seen with the two brothers, although the mother and cubs were nervous of our vehicles.
One afternoon a guide came across an African Civet. As the guide was positioning the vehicle, they frightened two leopard cubs that had been hiding in the grass stalking the civet. Leopards were regularly seen, as well as three separate sightings in a single day. There was a female leopard seen near the camp, although she was somewhat reserved, and a young male in the same area who was seen marking his territory. Another female leopard that had two cubs was observed, feeding on a freshly killed roan antelope; one cub continuously tried to sneak up on the carcass but time and again was rejected harshly by its mother. A different female leopard who was beautifully relaxed was seen on an impala kill.
Our tour guides were thrilled to track down the resident pack of wild dogs, busy feasting on a waterbuck kill. They had not occupied the area for a while. Later in the month, we witnessed them again hunting, although not lucky on that occasion.
October was a victorious month for sightings of the smaller predators. We were fortunate enough to see two honey badgers interacting with black-backed jackal; in the end, the honey badgers disappeared into a hole. Bat-eared foxes were spotted on most occasions; our guides have found five different dens in the area, so the animals were located on most drives. One productive night drive produced two separate sightings of African Wild Cat, both cats were beautifully relaxed.
The Bonga Lion Pride
The Bonga pride was still separated into different groups, the largest comprising of ten individuals. They killed an eland bull which kept them busy for two whole days before they eventually left the carcass for a clan of four hyenas to finish off. We witnessed two male lions feeding on a buffalo calf. A young male lion and his sister were also in the spot, but they scurried because of the dominant males. A lioness with three cubs was spotted with the two fathers. The pride was also seen on a wildebeest kill. Four new male lions were situated north of the camp, two with manes and two without, but the same size. They were extremely jumpy and ran towards the Namibian border.
Bird Watchers Paradise
A family of four Verreaux’s Eagle Owls were found perched in a tree. Also Crowned Hornbills were seen searching for food along the river, this is one of the less frequent hornbill species residents in the area. The Carmine Bee-eater breeding colony just north of the camp made a fantastic performance as the brightly coloured birds set about building their nests in the river bank. The colony was very active first thing in the morning and late afternoon.