The northern Kwando region has been home large numbers of zebra, giraffe, tsessebe and wildebeest which have been attracted by the excellent grazing resulting from the seemingly never ending rains. The relative absence of lions this month as they follow the buffalo herds means that Wild dog and leopards have been a regular sighting, including a large male found in a tree guarding his impala kill. The buffalo sightings remain sporadic due to the excessive water and grazing found in the mopane forests though guides have spotted small herds on several occasions.
An additional and unusual sighting made this month was the regular sighting of large herds of Livingstone’s eland. This is the largest member of the antelope family and is extremely shy, generally residing in dense forests. Sightings are therefore very unusual and often fleeting.
The above average number of zebra, giraffe and wildebeest in the region has led to an increase in the number of predators hunting a wide variety of game species. A mating pair of lion were found on giraffe kills on two separate occasions while several other male lions have been sighted this month stalking wildebeest. Several leopards were also followed on drives both during day and night drives as they stalked warthog and impala. The three cheetah brothers, not to be out done, were observed hunting wildebeest, while the three separate packs of wild dog were sighted hunting regularly and kills were made on lechwe and two kudu.
Further sightings of an eland herd, of approximately 20 animals, has also been spotted on more than one occasion. These sightings bode well for the eland population which is notoriously difficult to estimate due to their shy nature and the remoteness of their habitat
The Kwara concession continues to disprove that the commonly held view that the rainy season is not a good time of year to see game. Consistent quality game viewing in February and March continued in April with regular sightings of lion, cheetah, wild dog, leopard, hyena, honey badger and elephant. Of course there was also the usual lechwe, reedbuck, giraffe, zebra, tsessebe, wildebeest, warthog kudu, impala, hippo, crocodile, jackals, cobras, pythons, ostrich, ground hornbills and wattled crane to name but a few!!
Significant sightings included a lion pride chasing a male leopard up a tree and an incredible confrontation between two pack of wild dog, in which the heavily pregnant alpha female was targeted and almost killed. She was last seen with serious wounds and the guides are unsure whether she survived or not.
If this is the green season we can only imagine what the dry season holds in store!