Recent Okavango Delta Wildlife Sightings

Arabella Worthington

28 May 2014

Animals in the Okavango

There have been lots of recent big cat and wild dog sightings at some of our favourite camps in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. These animal sighting diaries give you a taste of the wildlife encounters you might come across during your stay. 

Kwando Kwara

Kwando Kwara is situated within a private concession in the northern part of the Okavango Delta. Fronting onto a stunning floodplain it’s an exceptional spot for water and land based safaris.

Recent wildlife activity here includes a pack of 14 wild dogs making a tour of the Splash Area, on a chase for some prey. An exciting hunt, led to them quickly catching a reed buck.  A few days later the same pack was seen hunting and killing impala.  

Throughout April there were plenty of cheetah sightings. Two male cheetahs were found several times during the month and a female cheetah was found feeding on a young kudu. 

In fact the end of the month really turned out to be cat week, with lions being sighted every day (often, several times a day), cheetahs making regular appearances, and the odd leopard or two adding to the cat tally. A smaller cat, the beautiful serval, was also seen off on his own hunting frogs in a marshy area. 

Two lionesses seen with three cubs provided excellent viewing, with the youngsters suckling and playing with their mother. The cats lay in the shade of a tree just off the side of the airstrip runway acting as an excellent first sighting to arriving guests. 

On the 28th April two male lions were spotted, after sun set, having picked up the scent of a female. The two boys kept on calling until the two females with the three cubs finally recognised the roar of the males, and responded. The happy family soon met up with each other, with lots of head-rubbing and sniffing. 

The next day there was hope of finding two male cheetahs whose tracks had been seen. Soon after setting off, there was the sound of animals alarm calling, and a few minutes later a female cheetah was found with three cubs, roughly six months old. She was very relaxed, and was happy to be followed and watched as she killed a young impala for her cubs. 

A wonderful boat trip along the main channel into the Moremi Game Reserve produced a spectacular sighting of four adult sitatunga and one calf feeding along the banks. These exceptionally shy antelope spend their whole lives in the water ways, and are extremely rare to see anything more than fleeting glimpse of them.

Kwando Lagoon

Set on the banks of the Kwando River this luxury camp, Kwando Lagoon, consists of just eight tents and is in a prime location for a vast concentration of game, especially larger mammals.

The resident male lions are being found in the area almost every day now. In addition, the pride with the three young cubs are also seen regularly.

Some great game viewing resulted from finding a leopardess on a kill. Unbothered by human attention she left the kill after a while and went into the nearby clump of trees. Small mewing sounds could be heard, and a tiny leopard cub appeared under her watchful eye! The cub is probably only around four weeks old, but the mother is exceptionally relaxed around the vehicle. She has been seen several times with her cub and also off alone hunting impala.  

Local elephant activity has increased and some regular neighborly bulls have been coming into the camp to feed on the marula fruits and camel thorn pods. 

With the elephants are settling in, the first forays of the buffalo herds have been seen this month. Two herds of around 300 and 200 animals respectively, have been seen several times along the floodplains. These numbers will increase as the out-lying areas dry up and animals are forced closer to the river for water and good grazing. 

The pack of eight wild dogs were found several times in the southern part of the concession. They were also seen close to the river, resting up from their travels. 

More unusual sightings this month have been of a caracal, two young porcupines, and a second sighting of caracal killing a korhaan.

Kwando Lebala

The Kwando Lebala Camp lies in an area of open grasslands and floodplains with sun decks overlooking unending vistas, perfect for game viewing.

Recently around the camp two male lions took on a fairly formidable foe in the form of a herd of eland. The largest antelope in Africa, these huge animals could easily kill a lion with one well-placed aim of a hoof. Luckily for both parties, the prey proved too alert, as the wind blew the scent of the lions towards the eland, they departed at speed. 

Also on the theme of hunting there was a very interesting interaction with leopard, hyenas and wild dogs. With the female leopard doing all the hard work, she managed to kill an adult male impala. Too big for her to carry it up into the safety of a tree, she could not protect her meal against the arrival of a pack of wild dogs, and two hyenas. Losing the kill, she sprinted off to safety, whilst the dogs and the hyenas tussled over the remains. 

Speaking of kills, a big male lion spent several days feasting on a buffalo that it had killed. About three days after the kill, the lion left, satiated, and eight hyenas moved in to giggle and fuss and crunch over the remaining bones. Two lionesses and three cubs were also seen in the Twin Pools area, cubs playing whilst the mothers relaxed.  A little later, they managed to kill a giraffe, providing a huge amount of food for the two lionesses, and little cubs. 

An unusual sighting this month was of an aardwolf – an animal that looks somewhat like a hyena, but eats only termites! 

Many thanks to Kwando for these great updates. If you want to immerse yourself in some great wildlife encounters far from the crowds then the Okavango Delta is a good destination. Our Okavango and Kalahari Wildlife Safari includes stays at all three of the camps featured in this posts and also includes the stunning Victoria Falls from £4,020 per person sharing. Get in touch with me, Arabella Lakin, if you want to have a friendly chat and get some advice on planning a trip to this wildlife-rich destination.

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