Winter has long passed and temperatures are now reaching the high 30s. There is a lot of evaporation taking place from our water bodies and now and again we are seeing a few clouds looming in the sky after midday and sometimes even in the morning. The incessant bird calls signify a longing for rain and the shrill sounds of cicadas from the mopane will soon be deafening as the new leaves spring out indicating a lot of moisture in the air.
The summer residents are here - the black cuckoo is heard calling from the woods. The African cuckoos are calling “I feel sad and sick” and are beckoning for the rain, which to us is an indication that the rainy season is here. How much rain will fall is an uncertainty, and along with our President who has called for prayers for rain we are keeping our fingers crossed.
With temperatures being this high, it is essential to drink lots of fluids, especially water, to prevent the nasty effects of dehydration. Signs of stress from the heat on animals is also evident, especially on our elephant from whom we can expect some unusual behaviour. During dry season these animals travel long distances between the feeding grounds and water sources, and the scarcity of food and heat stress can influence negative confrontations. So we keep a safe distance both in and out of camp.
Amazing, amazing, amazing! Who wouldn’t love to do a safari in Africa and to see a leopard every day, especially one with a cub? This year has been a year of cubs for us here at Kings Pool. Slender, our resident female (left), takes the award for this year. Just like her mother Mopane she has taken over the territory and inherited her character as a very relaxed female. Guests who have been here this month have witnessed numerous impressive hunts and kills during the day. Impala have been her favourite kill, although she did lose a couple of those to other predators such as hyaena and wild dog.
We have also been seeing another leopard this month - Mmadithora. She also has a cub who is about five months old (just a month older than Slender’s cub). She gave birth to two but sadly lost one of them.
Other predators with youngsters is the LTC Pack of wild dogs (or as I prefer to call them: painted dogs). Their first litter of cubs are now sub-adults and they are growing independent, especially as the mothers have new cubs to take care of.
In our opinion, the wild dog population in the Linyanti is growing. The main LTC Pack is now 18 individuals, while the Kings Pool Pack is now 8, after losing the alpha female. Black Label, as she is affectionately known, has fully established herself in the Kings Pool Pack and it seems she is eyeing the dominant role. Both of these packs are doing very well and hopefully in the next breeding season, the Kings Pool Pack will raise its pups successfully. Both have been seen close to camp at the same time and interestingly it seems as if they employ some mechanism to avoid each other, perhaps for fear of the worst happening (especially to the LTC pups).
On the lion side of things, the LTC Pride seems to be settling in now, although they haven’t met up with the Chobe Boys just yet. They are looking healthy and hopefully they will soon come to terms with the Boys’ presence. It has been a tough year for them after losing an adult female and two cubs which would have been almost a year old now.
The Chobe Boys’ two mature males have been doing a lot of patrolling and it seems they have conquered the territory already as there isn’t any more resistance, with news reaching Kings Pool that the other male coalition from the west look very healthy. The sub-adult three of the coalition of five are busy fattening up and have been very busy killing buffalo and elephant.
General game sightings range from herds of elephant, buffalo and kudu to journeys of giraffe nibbling off the new leaves of the knobbly combretum. Waterbuck, impala and baboon troops along with roan antelope herds and sable have been sighted. Although an endangered antelope, the lion don’t seem to have that in their books and recently killed a roan from the herd of 15.
The Sunken Hide has been active, with all the pans having dried up. Elephant, roan antelope, zebra and warthog have been sighted during midday activities. Night drives have on occasion presented bushbabies and some predators. The Queen Sylvia is still cruising along the Linyanti River as the water levels are still high enough. From here elephant cross to and from neighbouring Namibia as well as the most picturesque and breathtaking of sunsets.
Come and enjoy the Best of Linyanti with us!
Staff in Camp
Managers: Jacques Le Roux, Frank Maule, Obert Lusinga, Michelle Koen, Kemmonye Wright, Rikki Lotter, Kenny Lugayeni.
Guides: Yompy Diye Kennetseng, Odumetse OD Modikwa, Lemme Dintwa, Khana Khan Gouwe, Ndebo ND Tongwane
Newsletter by: Yompy Diye Kennetseng
Images: Yompy Diye