During the month of December the wild dogs covered a large territory across the whole concession and spent a number of days close to lebala. This means that the Wild Dog pups have completely adjusted to the mobile life of the pack and are beginning to learn survival skills which will help them along their way to adulthood. Unfortunately this means they are harder to track due to their mobility, however towards the end of the month they came close enough to camp to allow guests watch as they caught and killed a warthog piglet, an unusual diet choice for the dogs, who switched back to feeding on their usual game of impala the following evening.
Both Leopards and Cheetah have been spotted this month hunting impala close to lagoon camp
. The female Cheetah who appeared shy hunted with her two cubs.
The large buffalo herds have now moved on to ground with better grazing as predicted, however we will see a return of the herds but not in the large numbers we had been experiencing.
An unusual sighting occurred during a morning drive with a Jackal sighting. Jackals of both types – the black backed and side striped – can be spotted regularly in this part of Botswana, but it is very rare to see them together, and even rarer to see them chasing each other! Both types of Jackals compete for the same food, but trend to stay away from one another. During the drive two Jackals were spotted running in line with the car, initially we assumed they were both black backed, however to our surprise we realised one of them was actually a side striped jackal – this type tend to be much fluffier and larger than the black-backed type. The side striped Jackal seemed to be on the retreat from the smaller black back, with a second black back following further behind. After a number of minutes we eventually lost sight of the larger side striped, and the black backed Jackal proceeded to return to check on his partner.
The offspring of the carmine Bee eaters who are still learning to catch are in great abundance with their parents, although they have not yet grown into the vibrant colourations of their parents they continue to learn how to feed and feed on the occasional extra insect caught by their parents.
The guests impromptu fishing competitions on the Kwando Channel which fronts the camp, have given the waters inhabitants- the crocodiles strong competition for their prey. With the fishing season coming to a close in Botswana, amazing catches and cast offs have included huge catfish and bream (tilapia), at month end the fish are left to breed in peace.
has experienced unusually hot temperatures for December after just a few days of rain at the beginning of the month. This has led to the Tau Pan lions doing a fair amount of resting from the heat, under the shade of umbrella thorn trees. A relaxed leopard was spotted walking along the cut-line, however there was no repeat of the leopardess drinking from the pool she is still around the camp(as tracks have been found) but has not made an appearance.
In Passage valley, the home of the Lion pride, two brother cheetahs were found feeding on a baby oryx. They appeared0 nervous and shy, probably at the impending return of the pride. A further cheetah sighting occurred when we saw a female cheetah with her two cubs, trying to encourage them to hunt springbok… not very successfully I am afraid!
A drive through Passage Pan brought a rare and wonderful sighting of 20 bull elephants, it was spectacular to watch as they drank and wallowed in the mud, something quite exceptional for the Central Kalahari. This was the first sighting of the animal after many months of speculation due to tracks and activity being found. Amazing luck to see twenty of them!
Secretary birds, painted snipes, hamerkops, marabous, lappet faced vultures, and giant eagle owls made for a great birding month, whilst bat eared foxes as well as the black backed jackals, giraffes, springbok, hartebeest, kudus and wildebeest made general game sightings extremely eventful.