WOW! What an incredible month we had at Kings Pool Camp!
Climate and Landscape
The weather was great with warm spring temperatures starting to hit the region, making it very comfortable for our guests to enjoy their safari experiences out there. A lot of acacia trees are flowering already, adding beautiful cream and yellow colours to the barren and dry environment after the winter season.
Birds and Birding
We feel that we need to go straight to the highlight of the month for you, dear reader, and this takes us to a most fascinating and surprising sighting of a Ross’s turaco, spotted not too far from Kings Pool along the floodplains west of camp. This extremely rare southern African vagrant has been reported within the region before and this time we were exceptionally lucky that it pitched up and stayed for almost three weeks within our area, giving a lot of our guests, aware or otherwise of how rare this bird is, the chance to have a look and perhaps shoot a decent picture to take home. This thrilling sighting rumbled throughout southern Africa, bringing us a lot of twitchers especially to appreciate seeing this bird within the sub-region. We are very excited and proud to be the first ones in the whole of southern Africa to photograph this Ross’s turaco and we look forward to its next visit in the near future.
Wildlife viewing was also spectacular throughout the month with lots of big herds of elephant roaming around, often seen drinking, swimming and crossing the border back and forth between Botswana and Namibia. A real Linyanti special.
Huge buffalo herds were very common this month as well, and one would expect to see a lot of interaction with the lions but strangely, with the many lion sightings we had in the area, we did not see many interactions.
As anticipated in our previous reports, the LTC Pride showered us with surprises this month as they finally introduced us to their three little cubs. Estimated to be just over three months old now, it is completely surprising to us how these cubs so quickly habituated to the game drive vehicles. They displayed very strange behaviour approaching the vehicles to investigate them, more typical of hyaena cub behaviour.
The rest of the pride was spotted quite a few times on different kills and the dominant male was seen mating with the other female. We look forward to new cubs in the next three months if it was a successful mating.
Both our resident leopardesses have been around as well, doing really well and taking good care of their cubs. Calcrete’s six-month-old+ boy is finding his way around, accepting vehicles in his space, but Slender’s four-month-old+ cub is still very skittish and always dashes away when game drive vehicles approach.
Now this is how special wildlife viewing and game drives have been at Kings Pool… the midday excitement hit the game drive radio as the day started warming up and everyone was making their way back to camp for a delicious lunch. In fact, the excitement had started first thing in the morning as the first vehicle spotted some very rare cat tracks heading down the road. The guide jumped out of the vehicle and with great excitement invited the guests to come along and identify the tracks together. It was a male cheetah’s tracks, very fresh from that morning. They spent an hour tracking and following up, trying to find this cheetah – but we all know Mother Nature has a special way of doing things. They had no luck in the first hour of tracking and we agreed to let the matter rest while we carried on to see the other game in the area of which there was plenty: beautiful zebra and lots of general game to keep us busy. Then the guests’ energy levels started dropping and we knew it was time to find something to eat, so we started to slowly drive back in the camp’s direction. Suddenly all we heard on the radio was “Letotse letotse letotse!” and Fanie had spotted the cheetah crossing the road on a hunt. Well, the adrenalin pumped the energy levels back to 100% and the safari continued as we all got to enjoy this beautiful sighting with the cheetah sitting on a termite mound scanning the area for possible prey species to hunt. They are generally diurnal hunters and rely on their extremely high-speed short chases to catch prey.
As we started this newsletter with the amazing report on the Ross’s turaco sighting, we are excited to share with you as well that most of our summer migratory birds have starting to come back home to breed. Amongst the few that have already arrived are the spectacular southern carmine bee-eaters. We had some very heavy rains at the beginning of the year and the grass is still very long in their nesting area so it is really just breathtaking to see the determination in this particular bird species to prepare their nests already, despite the tall grass.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Tshepo Phala, Olefile Sefofu, Phalana Siya and Jennifer MacKenzie
Guides: Khan Gouwe, Bobby Rakaru, Reuben Kaye and Fanie Mpiping
Newsletter: Tshepo Phala
Pictures: Onamile Lekgopho and Tshepo Phala