Wildlife Sightings: Rarest of the Rare

There are sightings…and there are SIGHTINGS. We cherish every moment in the bushveld, celebrating each small creature from the dwarf mongoose to prolific herds of impala and even the ever-common southern yellow-billed hornbill. But sometimes, a sighting comes along that’s REALLY worth writing home about. Today, we pay homage to the recent sightings from camps that we consider the rarest of the rare.

Africa On Foot HyenasBoteti Tented Camp spots tiny lion cubs

Boteti Tented Camp offers quite a varied safari experience, ranging from day trips into the Nxai Pan area to Moremi Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta. Because Boteti is a base for these revered safari activities, there’s ample opportunity to spot…well…just about any species imaginable. The team at Boteti leave no stone unturned when it comes to taking advantage of what’s on offer in southern Africa’s famed safari country.

Owner Kavi frequently sends through sighting updates from these day trips, ensuring we’re no stranger to his regular sightings of zebra, lechwe, lions, wild dogs and those giant jumbos (elephants). But a few days we were treated to a special update. While out on the full day Moremi Game Reserve activity, the team came across two lionesses with five very small cubs. Their vigilant stance revealed the protective cats’ keen alertness, ensuring the safety of the cubs from any potential threat. Typically, lionesses will stash their cubs in a safe area for at least 6 weeks before introducing them to the rest of the pride.

Lion cubs at Boteti Tented Camp in Botswana

Boteti Tented Camp lion sightings

Umkumbe Safari Lodge Riverside witnesses a leopard chasing a cheetah

Umkumbe Safari Lodge Riverside tends to deliver a wonderful array of unique sightings that include everything from a lion playing with a pangolin to honey badgers in the wild, and even rare birds. Their team of guides and trackers are always on the ball when it comes to keeping us updated with bushveld news, so much so that we don’t even consider their leopard sightings as rare. Yes, Umkumbe spots leopards on the regular, earning it a reputation for being leopard central.

Imagine our surprise when this video flooded our channels. Guides spotted a standoff between a leopard and cheetah, with the leopard eventually giving chase…to the world’s fasted land animal! Who needs to watch the Olympic 100m sprint when you get to witness this on our doorstep?

We’ll be hard pressed to find a sighting that’s rarer than this one!

Cheetah vs Leopard

Ezulwini Game Lodges gets close to a local lioness

Ezulwini Billy’s Lodge and Ezulwini River Lodge are sister lodges located in the Olifants West Nature Reserve, both offering exceptional game viewing opportunities. The traverse around Ezulwini Game Lodges pulsates with lion pride sightings, with a few dominant kings regularly making an appearance and the local legends, the Kudyela lionesses always making themselves known.

Guide Christian Louw sent through this amazing clip of a lioness feeling comfortable and confident enough to strut straight past the game viewer. Although seeing a lion in the wild might not be considered a “rarest of the rare” sighting, it’s certainly deserves its space in the limelight because it provides an unparalleled close-up cat sighting.

Africa on Foot Witnesses a cheetah kill first thing in the morning

In recent weeks, Africa on Foot has witnessed a few mad moments with the killing cat machines of the Klaserie. Let’s unpack this a bit. A lone leopard was spotted snacking on a recent warthog meal…on the ground. Leopards usually hoist their meal up into the treetops to avoid theft from hyenas. If they choose to devour their latest takedown on terra firma, it means they perceive there isn’t much of a threat in the area. This particular leopard was seen swaggering around a full belly; which made it quite a rare sighting (leopards often look sleek and agile).

While lions and leopards hunt under the cover of darkness, cheetah are primarily diurnal cats. Cheetah require some kind of light for a hunt to take place – this also eliminates competition for prey against lions and leopards. Cheetah have speed, but they don’t have the strength to fight off the larger and stronger felines.

The Africa on Foot team were lucky enough to spot a male cheetah on a morning impala kill, and even observed him settling in to enjoy his hearty meal. From lions to leopards and cheetah, the Klaserie camps are certainly enjoying a plethora of cat sightings on their doorstep.

Male cheetah on an impala kill

nThambo Tree Camp and the hyena cub den site

The hyena den on the nThambo and Africa on Foot traverse is buzzing with activity. The alphas are protecting and feeding the cubs, while the rest of the clan is going out of their way to protect he youngsters from marauding predators. nThambo is enjoying the same sightings as Africa on Foot (mentioned above), but they’re also loving their consistent sightings of elephants drinking the swimming pool at camp.