Weather and Landscape
The weather has been perfect the whole month, with the highest temperature being a comfortable 33 degrees Celsius. The rains have fallen at times when we were not out on activity, but soaking the ground nicely, giving life to all the vegetation and making the landscape a lush green.
An old male leopard known as ‘The Beast’ made a kill just a little north of camp. I have never in all my life seen such a massive leopard – he is as big as a fully grown lioness! He is in excellent condition, even though he is thought to be about 12 years of age. Unfortunately he is very shy and stays hidden from the vehicles; however, we were lucky enough though to watch him in the open, walking away from his lechwe kill, from our main deck!
Although the channel waters are low, we have still managed to get across to Hunda Island for awesome wildlife sightings – leopard being one of the main attractions and not letting us down – having seen them in trees, hunting and with kills.
It is really exciting this time of the year and all the youngsters being born. With the weather being so cool, they are very playful and watching all the mother/child interactions is truly something to behold – giving us all an invigorating sense of life. We all tend to overlook the impala because they are so common, but I think their young are among the cutest with their long spindly legs and big ears. They always seem to be excited about everything, dancing to and fro. The wildebeest herds with their young, the tsessebe herds with their young, and the dazzles of zebra have been filling the island.
For us here at Kwetsani though, we have all been agog with our six lion cubs…they are adorable. The one lioness had four cubs, while the other had two cubs about three weeks after the first litter was born. The mothers have just recently brought the two litters together and they just love the company, romping and playing in the tall grass. The mom of the younger cubs is still a little bit nervous of the bigger cubs hurting her babies, so she is always picking hers up and trying to keep them in a different play pen – her cubs complain about being separated and when they think mom is not watching, run back to their friends. They keep us entertained for hours. It seems as though they are making their way slowly further south of Kwetsani to Jao Island, but this is also okay as we will still get to watch them grow up. On Hunda Island two beautiful lions have been seen quite regularly, which is great news as long as they stay there and do not come over to Kwetsani. I think the most amazing sighting of the lions though, was the male and the two females with their own kill in the same spot – almost in a triangle. This gave the four bigger cubs their first taste of flesh, while mommy just lay and watched as they tried to tear off a piece for themselves, but getting frustrated because they couldn’t!
The elephants all start to move further north at this time of the year and although we have still had great sightings of these gentle giants, there have not been the huge numbers that we normally see. What we have seen though are large herds of buffalo, which is tremendous for us.
Birds and Birding
The resident broad-billed rollers stole a nest from the lilac-breasted rollers and have been feeding their chicks. The tree monitors have been giving all the birds a hard time as they have been feasting on the eggs and chicks of all the different birds. We have found an oxpecker nest, and the green hoopoes have been a noisy alarm for when the tree monitors are around.
With the amazing sunsets that occur at this time of the year we get spectacular sightings of large flocks of wattled cranes flying into the sunset to roost. Another noteworthy sighting was seeing several African fish-eagles together on the floodplains in front of camp, feeding on trapped fish.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Dan and Charmaine Myburg
Guides: GT Sarepito and MT Malebogo