Weather and Landscape
It’s been a month of new life and new beginnings; the air is fresh and the trees are all green. However, strong winds have left some areas looking elephant-damaged. Botswana has just over 340 days of sunlight and November is one of the months that contributes to the days with clouds. Puddles teem with life as animals gather to drink.
The seasonal movement of the zebra herds has started and they are slowly heading back towards the marsh. Places like the sunken hide are not just for elephant but also raptors, which go there for the chance to catch the frogs and toads that breed on the water’s edge.
It’s always nice to see elephant in big numbers because with the rains they tend to remain in the mopane woodland to drink from the puddles and feed. It looks like they still prefer drinking from the Linyanti and only use natural water holes for mud bathing. During the heat of the day you will see dozens of them heading down their trails after the fresh water.
The coalition of five male lions seems to be struggling to find females, moving further west to the neighbouring concession in their search. As they move west, three younger males from the coalition are trailing behind, getting stronger and taking down buffalo and elephant almost every fourth or fifth day. The female and her offspring from the LTC Pride are still playing hide and seek with us and up to now she hasn’t met up with these males, so no cub sightings anytime soon. The older males from the coalition have abandoned the solitary female from Chobe; she has tried to look for them but they have been gone for almost two weeks.
No lion cubs yet but we are happy to babysit the leopard cubs! They are doing well and growing up around the vehicles makes them more relaxed. This is the time when leopard can prove to be elusive, but once you pick them up their contrast with the greenery makes for very special sightings and photo opportunities. Some of the newly born baby impala don’t even make it to day three as there is such good cover for leopards to sneak in. Male leopards are generally skittish and you don’t often see them here in Kings Pool. Slender’s sub-adult male cub is trying to get himself together and find his own space around the area. Quite often we would catch him scavenging on his mother’s kill but she has a young cub and so chases him away.
African wild dogs are making the most of the abundance of baby impalas. It gets hot quickly in the mornings but getting up at the crack of dawn will find them chasing the impala. The pack of eight has taken to spending their time on the eastern side of the camp to avoid encounters with pack of eighteen, though both packs are extremely cautious around the lions.
Birds and Birding
Southern-carmine bee-eaters will be leaving their breeding site soon to head down to the Savuti Channel. The best time to see them in big numbers is in the morning before they head out to forage.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Jacques le Roux, Rikki Lotter, Wayne Vaughn, Olivia O’Reilly
Guides: Lemme Dintwa, Yompy Diye Kennetseng, Khana Gouwe and Ndebo Tongwane
Newsletter and photo credits: Lemme Dintwa