April has been an amazing month at Duba Plains, with fantastic sightings, enthusiastic guests and inspired guides.
A large group of Australian guests arrived for their fourth visit to the area and were not disappointed on their first night when they were greeted by a large herd of elephant in camp during the night along with our resident hippo who were wandering around, clearly forming part of the welcoming committee.
James and Spike once again hosted the Australians who were determined to spend as much time out in the bush, hoping to spot some action. Their hard work and perseverance paid off on their fifth day out, (after having spent two full days out and enjoying their lunch in beautiful settings not far from large herds of buffalo) when one of the lions from the Tsaro Pride took down a large male buffalo. An awe-inspiring event which both our guides reckoned had not been witnessed in about a year in the area – normally the lions go for females or young buffalo – so it was amazing to see the pride working together, with the females battling to bring the huge beast down and then at the last minute a large male lion came to the rescue, felling the buffalo and finally putting an end to the battle. The guests were delighted and got some great footage and photographs of the entire episode.
Other guests were thrilled to witness some hunting “training” taking place with a couple of lion cubs trying their best to secure themselves a bite to eat, but who were unfortunately unsuccessful in their endeavours. They were also amazed to witness both lions and cubs crossing deep water together.
Another highlight this month was a female leopard and her daughter, which had killed a reedbuck not far from camp. Extremely shy, the mother was seen dragging their kill into thick brush, where she stayed, avoiding curious onlookers. The younger female, however, had no such misgivings and put on a great display of preening herself while lying in the open for all guests to witness and photograph. On another day, she was also seen “playing” with the horns of their kill, swatting them here and there while pouncing around playfully. Both females did not leave their kill for five days and everyone who has passed by has returned to camp with fabulous photos and footage of the youngster.
Aside from daily sightings of lions sunning themselves and making half-hearted attempts at hunting, a pangolin was spotted by some very lucky guests. Bat-eared foxes have also been spotted three or four times by different visitors, along with great sightings of a honey badger with a baby – very special.
Other general game in the area have added to our guest experiences – large herds of lechwe roaming in the water-soaked floodplains, while reedbuck and beautiful herds of kudu were in abundance.
At present we have a resident heard of kudu that seem to enjoy hanging around the camp and seem extremely unafraid of us as we walk by, continuing to stroll around in a relaxed fashion. With them are two beautiful bulls, displaying gorgeous curling headpieces and who are a little more wary of us, dashing away at first, but then always making their way back.
The birdlife in the area is phenomenal as always, with sightings of wattled cranes and myriad other species. In and around camp, we are spoilt with plenty of woodland kingfishers and little bee-eaters who get so close to guests, allowing for fabulous photo opportunities. Early morning wake up calls from a couple of African fish-eagles are the norm and make a wonderful morning song in camp.
The elephant continue to enjoy the ambiance of our camp during the nights and have been serving as fabulous “security guards”, keeping watch over our slumbering guests. We do, however, have one lazy fellow who enjoys taking naps on our pathways in the early hours of the morning and if it was not for his somewhat voracious snoring, we would perhaps not even know he was there until almost stepping on him!