Wildlife Sightings Report - May 2021
Winter has arrived and we are starting to feel it. The days have become shorter with sunrise starting at around 06:50 and sunset at about 18:00. This change in weather signals the beginning of the dry season. The vegetation in the delta is turning brown and trees are starting to lose their leaves.
Seasonal floodplains are starting to shrink providing favourable grazing ground to different herbivores. Afternoon temperatures average around 29°C/84°F, making the days feel very warm and the nights and early mornings rather chilly. However, there is still plenty of sunshine throughout the country.
Game viewing at Gomoti has been incredible this May. The thinning vegetation made it easier to spot the elusive cats who have been a challenge to pinpoint while game such as zebras, impala and wildebeest have been seen in big herds on the floodplains. What’s more, large journeys of giraffes are frequently spotted close to Gomoti Plains Camp.
Mid-month we experienced the impala rut. At the beginning of winter impala rams’ testosterone levels start to skyrocket. The male impala will begin to fight for territory and dominance over female herds. The dominant males will then chase away the weaker males, ensuring a stronger gene pool.
The floodplains in front of Gomoti Camp are great for wildlife spotting. Large breeding herds of elephants are seen frequently swimming and wallowing in the mud providing an incredible viewing experience from the camp’s main area.
With the “ilala plums” starting to ripen in the area around camp, peckish elephants are a frequent sighting for our guests.
One night after dinner a pride of lions was seen swimming across the river into camp. This incredible sighting was illuminated by the full moon and our guests enjoyed watching from the balconies of their rooms.
The following morning, we picked up the pride’s tracks and found them in the middle of a zebra hunt. The attempt was unsuccessful, however, it was still an unforgettable moment for us and our guests to see.
The two mothers appeared heavily pregnant and spent a lot of time away from their inexperienced subadult cubs. This a good sign that we might be seeing some new cubs soon.
At dusk one evening a female leopard was spotted stalking a herd of impala. Full of anticipation, our guests and their guides waited to see what was about to occur. After what seemed like a very long 15 minutes, the wait paid off.
The young mother claimed her kill mere meters from our vehicles. The following morning we headed back to the location of the leopard’s kill. The impala was gone. Probably stolen by the hyenas.
However, the trip was not in vain. As the guides waited, the young leopard appeared on a termite mound close by with her cub. An amazing photo-op for both our guests and the family of leopards!
Birding has been incredible this month. The water in front of Gomoti Plains Camp makes for great bird spotting from the comfort of one’s seat. Birders will be amazed to hear that we have a very rare lesser jacana that has taken up residence right in front of camp.
May also brought us sightings that included:
- Herds of buffalo numbering up to 300 roaming the floodplains
- The return of a solitary female cheetah on the west and a band of brothers on the east and side of Gomoti Plains Camp
- The not-so-common bat eared fox