Weather and Landscape
The whole environment is waiting in anticipation for the first substantial rains to arrive. The thunder has boomed and the lightning has flashed, but the clouds only released a few millimetres of rain – the earth and everything on it is so thirsty for a good drenching of water from the sky.
The 14th October was a day of joy with the birth of a litter of lion cubs in the area! November is going to see the birth of another litter hopefully, and so we then expect these litters to survive and the Jao Pride to grow into a stronger force. In the meantime the dominant male, Mufasa as he is affectionately known, has been proudly roaring his presence every night since the birth of his cubs. Mom has been busy moving her little ones out of the original den into a number of different den sites, well hidden in really thick bushes. We got our first real peek when the cubs were a mere 10 days old as they wandered out of the den and into the open. We counted four little balls of fluff and think there is possibly another cub that remained undercover. A little further from camp on Hunda Island, two young male lions have been patrolling the island and vocalising on a regular basis and on one occasion, we were able to see them feeding.
A little further down the feline size scale, the resident leopards have been really active, and in particular, the old Tubu Female. She is blind in one eye, but this hasn’t hindered her hunting technique and chances. We were incredibly lucky to witness this skilled hunter bring down a giraffe calf. The giraffe’s mother tried to defend her offspring, but to no avail as the predator’s persistence paid off and a successful kill was made. It was a very sad encounter to witness, but it is nature in the raw form.
A large buffalo herd has also moved into the area, a herd of around 400 individuals to be exact! The sound and the dust generated by this mega-herd is really impressive as they move along.
The arrival of new offspring was not limited to the lions, as a new hyaena den developed on Hunda Island. The new cub has thrilled our guests with its inquisitive nature and playful antics. Interestingly, the clan which we often found along the floodplains has now moved off and we have not seen them for some time. This may be a blessing though, as it provides the lion cubs with a little more safety in their den sites, especially when the adults are away hunting.
Elephant sightings have been really good, often allowing our guests a close interaction with these majestic herbivores. A breeding herd of around 40 was encountered almost on a daily basis.
Plains game and general game was plentiful and really created a great atmosphere both in camp and out on activity. We were really happy to have a visiting porcupine, which spent a number of nights digging around the camp – hopefully it will stay around for a while.
Birds and Birding
The resident Verreaux's eagle-owl has been ever-present and we managed to capture a sequence of pictures of a kurrichane thrush mobbing the large bird of prey. We were surprised to see just how the owl sat there and closed his eyes and took the beating from this little fellow.
We have been fascinated with the lilac-breasted rollers who are nesting in a palm trunk. What has kept our attention is watching the broad-billed rollers and the lilac-breasted fighting constantly – we are wondering if perhaps the broad-billed rollers want to take over the nest. Amazing how wars are always over territory, in animal and human worlds….
Every year the African paradise-flycatchers nest in the same tree and every year the monkeys take their eggs. If something does not work, try another – the flycatchers don’t seem to understand that concept.
One morning, in front of the office we had an amazing sighting of a yellow-billed kite come in under the jackalberry canopy and catch a fruit bat. Another bat attacked the kite and the raptor dropped the bat, which after a minute recovered and flew off none the worse for its ordeal.
“We most definitely will recommend Kwetsani. The drives always succeeded in locating the animals we wanted to see. Loved seeing the leopard in the tress, the three lions whose story will turn out well…we hope! Beautiful country side and wonderful staff. We loved the boma celebration. We also really enjoyed the variety of transportation and activities - the land and water expeditions. Our guide was informative and entertaining. We loved it all.”
“GT and his sense of humour. Dan’s kindness and photographic education - It was just wonderful – his willingness to teach was wonderful!”
“The staff (managers to housekeepers) were all delightful and courteous. The managers, Dan and Charmaine were informative and engaging. They put us at great ease. Duma was very gracious. Our guide MT was the best we have had – so informative, fun and patient. The rooms were delightful and very private.”
“Excellent service and guiding. We got to see the leopard after MT worked very hard to find her. All staff were very efficient and helpful, the tent was beautiful and comfortable.”
Staff in Camp
Mangers: Dan and Charmaine Myburg
Guides: GT Sarepito and MT Malebogo