Climate and Landscape
The summer months usually bring very high temperatures. However, summer is also the rainy season, and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down considerably, although usually only for a short period of time. This month was not bad at all regarding heat – we recorded a high of 35 ° Celsius and a low of 19° Celsius.
While Kalahari Plains still continues to offer some spectacular sightings of different animal species, the highlights were undoubtedly the cheetah and leopard sightings during March. These cats hadn’t been seen around camp for a while because of the presence of the local Plains Pride as well as the taller grasses and vegetation being a challenge.
On the western side of our concession, in Deception Valley and the surrounding areas, our animal sightings were spiced up by a number of amazing cheetah sightings. There was a skittish adult male cheetah that our guides were very lucky to come across on Korhaan Pan Road. Even though it was shy the guests really appreciated it and managed to capture some great shots. The same cheetah was found on the north-western side of the camp hunting, but this time around was not as shy as the previous sighting.
The most brilliant sighting was of a female and two cubs being chased by gemsbok safeguarding their young ones as the cheetah have been focusing on baby gemsbok as easy prey lately. The guides saw a female cheetah with a cub walking away from a springbok kill on one of the mornings, and it was this very same unidentified female and cub that the guides found again feeding on a springbok kill the following day not far from Letiahau Pan.
Leopards also came to the predator show this month! One morning our guides were a few miles away making their way to camp after their morning drive when they spotted a leopard hunting on Whisky Road west of camp. The weather was absolutely perfect for the felid that day as it was cool after some rain. A female leopard was also seen last month close to the camp's waterhole, strolling along the tree line, scanning and watching, and keeping her distance from the local pride, which was at the waterhole quenching their thirst. She eventually diverted her route into the thicket and disappeared.
Lions have been sighted regularly, especially the Plains Pride, which has been making quite a number of kills near the camp and surrounding areas. The guests and staff received a surprise visit in the camp from the male lion as it ‘trespassed’ through the camp's parking lot and guests rooms. The guides followed it for a few minutes then informed the camp managers about its intentions. Everyone enjoyed the sighting of this big, relaxed male moving through the area marking his territory as he proceeding to pass in between some of the rooms all the way to the main area. After drinking he retraced his steps via the same route. The cubs’ presence at the waterhole has been also been very special, and we can tell that they are growing well.
Nobody will forget the bat-eared foxes which have been very cooperative, being seen quite often in the local open areas, allowing guests to capture some treasured photographs. Gemsbok, springbok, blue wildebeest and ostrich have also been spotted in the areas closer to the camp.
Birds and Birding
A special sighting of a secretarybird around the camp for a couple of days was equally unforgettable. Marabou storks were seen in the western part of the camp feeding on frogs, and guests enjoyed the sighting so much they shared it with staff back in camp. Some of our migratory species are starting to disappear, for example yellow-billed kites are nowhere to be seen, and lanner falcon and white storks are becoming more difficult to find. Sightings of common residents include kori bustards, northern black korhaan and shaft-tailed whydah, while white-browed sparrow weavers are always heard in the mornings thanks to their distinctive call.
"Thank you to everyone at Kalahari Plains for so many amazing, wonderful experiences. Each one of you is as special as this special place!"
Staff in Camp
Managers; Lops, Lebo, Kelly, Mike and OB the hostess.
Guides: Fannie, Rogers, Godfrey, Lazzie
Newsletter and pictures by Lopang “Lops” Rampeba