We’re onto our second edition of the Rangers Review but we’ve have been somewhat delayed due to the interruption of holidays and the Easter weekend. We figure you don’t mind waiting, provided we supply a wealth of images and updates from our side! From our remote Botswana camps to our easily accessible Kruger camps, lions and wild dogs appear to be the common denominator throughout. This makes sense given that we are approaching the African wild dog’s sedentary denning period; and that the late summer brings plenty of new births into the wild which increases prey density.
Without further ado, here is our catch up session !
Motswiri camp hosted an educational with a number of agents that enjoyed a whirlwind journey into the Trails of Botswana route. Our videographer/photographer Rogan Kerr joined the journey and documented the safari. The height of emerald season is when the rains pelt down and replenish the landscape, creating carpets of greenery and overflowing waterholes. The educational tool place during this green season, and despite the thickets being dense, game viewing was at an all time high!
Here are Rogan’s favourite sightings from the month :
- Wild dogs outside of camp.
- A coalition of full bellied male lions sitting with their roan kill.
- A pair of giraffe bulls engaging in a sparring match.
- Witnessing the Selinda Spillway beginning to flow again !
Tuskers and Xobega also form part of our Trails of Botswana route, and agents enjoyed a stay at both camps. Yet again, Rogan was on hand to document the educational. There were quite a few dramatic landscape scenes in both the Okavango Delta and the Kwatale Conservancy.
Here are the highlights of the month :
- Watching elephants from the comfort of camp at Tuskers. They tend to frequent the waterhole at camp and with the waterhole full to the brim from recent rains, it’s that much more attractive to the pachyderms.
- Ample sightings of spoonbills and other wading birds, which makes sense given the increase in water in the Kwatale.
- Xobega was the scene of many incredible sunsets due to looming thunderstorms and endless skies.
We hop across the borders from Botswana and back to the Kruger. This lodge in the Balule has been bustling with activity over the past month. The River Lodge’s standard rooms have been revamped with new builds and new decor. While that was happening in the background, the wildlife was putting on quite a show in the Balule. Apart from the general plains game, it seems that the highlights really have been the sightings of lions.
Ranger and camp manager Angele called out these recent sightings as a favorite Ezulwini :
- One of the Kudyela lionesses and her 3 cubs.
- Regular sightings of the 2 Machaton males, which would make sense given that they have sired cubs with the Kudyelas.
- Contact calling and witnessing the Machatons on patrol in the Balule.
- The Kudyela lionesses have been spotted on a regular basis.
- The lion sightings were interrupted with a leopard lazing and straddling in the fork of a tree
- Sightings of two leopards, Thuli and Nkanye, proved to be an added bonus to the bounty of cat sightings in the Balule.
Our photographer/videographer Rogan is based at Africa on Foot, and when he’s not traveling to remote parts of Southern Africa on assignment, the Klaserie becomes his backyard. Ranger Chade has been quite active this month in terms of providing us with updates, and together with Rogan they’ve come across a number of remarkable sightings.
These are our ranger’s favorite sightings from the month :
- Ranger Chade’s highlight was spotting the Sunset leopardess and her cub on more than one occasion.
- The Mbiri male lions devouring an elephant kill after stealing it from the River Pride
- Ross Pride lionesses feasting on a recent kill
- Rogan mentioned the sighting of the wild dogs relaxing at the waterhole post a recent kill
- Hyena arguing and causing a racket over who-gets-what at the site of a carcass
- 10 lions making a kill outside nThambo Tree Camp in the dead of the night
The wilderness trails have resumed and it’s all systems go for the walking team! Currently it’s pretty wet out there, but a plan is being made and it’s all part of the adventure of going on a walking safari. Photographer Em Gatland has joined the team and when she’s finished her trail, we will showcase her images.
In the meantime, here are the highlights :
- Spotting lions hiding in the undergrowth. Guests and guide were at a safe distance and observed the cats from far.
- Seeing an increase in snakes, and watching a cobra and boomslang seeking shelter from the rains.
Lions are, once again, a dominant feature at Chacma. There’s certainly no shortage of elephant and other big game sightings but these are pretty much viewed on an almost daily basis.
Thus far, the general consensus is that the highlights for rangers have been the abundance of both big cats and wild dogs.
- There were a few sightings of the African wild dog in the past month, and there appear to be a small pack of 3 that have crossed over from a neighbouring reserve.
- A fleeting sighting of a leopard proved to be a highlight of the Easter weekend !
- The Chacma are used to spotting 3 prides of lions, with the dominant males being the Maseke males. There are another 6 new males on the traverse that are smaller and younger than the dominant Maseke males.