Kalahari Plains Camp - September 2013

Oct 11, 2013 |  Botswana |  Central Kalahari |  Kalahari Plains Camp
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Weather and Landscape
The Kalahari temperatures continue to fluctuate between extremes from winter to summer. It is now clear that summer is here with the mornings being quite cool around 15 °C and steadily warning up to an average max of 42 °C. Historically October is the hottest month for us, where temperatures could and do reach a very toasty 50 °C! We did receive some respite at the beginning of the month however, as there was a cool and constant breeze that blew over the Kalahari.

In terms of vegetation, the landscape is looking very dry and drab as we approach the pinnacle of the dry season.

Wildlife
The hot and dry conditions really place the wildlife under strain, but it is quite remarkable to see how well-adapted the fauna have become for these tough conditions. Having said this, the camp waterhole has been producing outstanding sightings as the animals flock to the area to sate their thirst. Large congregations of gemsbok (oryx), springbok and giraffe can be seen daily at the waterhole. This in turn has attracted a number of opportunistic predators to the area.

On this subject, the resident Lekhubu Pride were seen along the south-eastern side of the camp airstrip. They had cornered and injured the resident male leopard. Luckily the solitary feline could escape by climbing up a tree and out of the claws of the lions. The guests remarked that this was a cruel yet amazing sighting which is part of the natural cycle. We have been quite lucky in also seeing a female leopard which has found temporary residence in an abandoned aardvark burrow.

Despite the strong presence of the dominant Lekhuba Pride, an unknown pride of four lions, consisting of two adult females and a sub-adult male and female have been seen in the area this month. They boldly visited the camp waterhole, but appeared skittish in the presence of the game drive vehicles as they ran off when approached.

The absolute highlight for the month was the wild dog sightings! It is unbelievable to see the pack of seven so relaxed in the area, often found hanging around Litiahao area. On one occasion, we found these dogs cornering a large kudu bull, but as it was getting dark, we were unable to see the fate of the kudu.

September also kicked off our brown hyaena sightings, especially during the cool morning hours. One individual in particular was seen regularly, being quite nervous at first, but by the end of the month was quite relaxed in the presence of the vehicles. Unfortunately we believe this hyaena was killed by the Lekhubu Pride. Click here for the full story.

Birds and Birding
It’s quite interesting to record the sightings of yellow-billed kites in our area, which we believe came a bit earlier compared to last year. These raptors are always seen gliding around the camp looking for any possible opportunity for a quick meal.

One other exciting experience was the visit to our area by the vulture research team, and since they were hosting four of our guests, some of our staff did get an opportunity to participate in the capture of some lappet-faced vultures for wing tagging. Two weeks after the tagging, one of the researchers returned to camp and informed us that one of the tagged vultures was spotted along the Caprivi Strip in Namibia – amazing the distance these birds can cover so quickly.

Staff in Camp
Managers: Lops, Lebo and Junior
Guides: Willie, Rogers and Godfrey

Newsletter and images by Willie

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