Weather and Landscape
Well, all of Botswana has been praying for rain – and our prayers were certainly answered, in abundance! Kings Pool received approximately 230 mm of rain during December 2013, and a massive 131 mm already for the first five days of January 2014! Pula!
The Linyanti has grown lusciously green with thick foliage, making wildlife sightings slightly more challenging. However, the challenge was eagerly accepted by the Kings Pool guides, and our guests have been richly rewarded with some incredible sightings and experiences.
The LTC Pride of lions has been resident around the Kings Pool area for a few weeks. Behavioural changes have been noticed during this green season, most probably due to the young male growing stronger and stronger. On a couple of occasions, the guides witnessed these lions trying to take down hippo. This choice of prey brought them right into Kings Pool Camp one evening, and the guests experienced an unforgettable display as an adult hippo managed to break himself out of the claws of death… He escaped into the water with serious wounds and scars, and the lions left with the taste of hippo, leading them to successfully kill another full-grown hippo three days later. This pride consists of brother and sister sub-adults of almost two years in age, an older male sibling of about three-and-a-half years, and their mother – a strong force.
However, the Chobe Boys (a coalition of three male brothers) were rather scarce over the past few weeks. They were only spotted recently when they found the LTC Pride on a hippo kill, and chased them away. And now it seems they are back to stay for a while, and we are bound to see more action from the Boys.
The cat family’s most elusive member, the leopard, has become somewhat of a phantom during the green season, with more tracks found than leopards seen. The last time the guides spotted Slender the female with her cub during the green season, they were on a baby kudu kill.
The Calcrete Female and her cub are doing reasonably well, although the cub was spotted with terrible wounds to its neck – most probably bitten by baboons in the area.
The wild dogs on the other hand are offering guests amazing displays of their fascinating social pack behaviour. The saying ‘sharing is caring’ is most definitely applicable to them, making sure that every dog gets its share of a kill, no matter how small the morsel. Both the LTC pack of 18 and the Kings Pool pack of eight are doing incredibly well in the area.
Snake sightings around the area have also increased, with several black mambas spotted. A southern African python was seen killing a pygmy goose in a dead tree, while a snouted cobra was spotted drinking water out of a puddle in the middle of the road. Beautiful spotted-bush snakes have also been seen regularly in and around Kings Pool Camp.
Birds and Birding
For all the birders visiting Kings Pool during the green season, it’s certainly been splendid. The southern carmine bee-eaters left the colony after the chicks started coming out of the nesting holes. They have relocated, and are still in the area – a must-see for any bird-lover! Winged termites have also been attracting a wide variety of birds, including the African golden oriole, woodland kingfisher, crested barbet and dark-capped bulbul, while the riverside area is offering wonderful sightings of goliath heron, giant kingfisher, African openbill , and many, many more.