Wildlife Sightings Report - May 2021
It's been a great month at Machaba Camp and we were thrilled to welcome guests back to Little Machaba!
The dry season has arrived and winter has shown its chilly claws. Although early mornings and late afternoons are much cooler, it is still pretty warm in the middle of the day.
The rivers and floodplains remain full although a slight dip in the water levels reveals previously unusable river crossings and grants access to more safari locations.
Very early one morning, we heard the characteristic raspy call of a leopard around Machaba Camp. We searched everywhere, even seeing its tracks near the camp’s kitchen, but had no luck finding him.
Later that same day we finally spotted him! The leopard could possibly have been Zaphod, a male that often roams the area. He was coming out of the bushes and walking on one of the roads around camp. We followed him for a while as he casually made his way away from camp.
Eventually, he left the road and made for the thickets where we could still hear him calling. Soon the dense vegetation made it too difficult for us to follow but the sighting was a real treat for us and our guests.
Our guests didn't need to go far to see some amazing animals in May. At night you could tell that there were lions close to camp by how close their roars sounded.
Then one day we were treated to an amazing sighting. Three lionesses and two cubs passed our camp and killed a waterbuck behind our Little Machaba solar panels. They happily spent the morning enjoying their meal and hung around camp for two more days.
On a separate occasion, our guests came across two resting lionesses and five playful little cubs. The cubs jumped on one another and tried to climb a small stump. It was one of the cutest things we’ve ever seen!
The elephants are back in full force. Every winter the elephant activity around camp increases because of the clean flowing river water and green foliage surrounding it.
This gives us an even better chance to spot these wonderful creatures. The elephants sip the water, splash around or just stand in the cool water while eating green grass.
Herds of elephants are a pleasure to watch. Especially the little ones who always manage to make us all smile.
It's so exciting to have our clan of hyenas back! They moved away during lockdown (maybe due to their den flooding during the rainy season).
However, last month some of our hyenas came back, and this month the rest of the clan came back too. We checked on them with our guests and found 18 hyenas ranging from adults to cubs. They all seemed glad to be back.
Our guests normally frequent the den to see the little ones play. This time the cubs tried to play with a porcupine. A cute and rare sight indeed!
Our pack of three wild dogs is still standing strong! Over the last few years, the pack has been divided, leaving one female and two males. The female seems pregnant, so we might be seeing a fourth member of the pack soon.
After spotting the pack we tailed them for a while. They were on the hunt but weren’t able to catch anything. However, our guests did get to see the female frantically dig into an abandoned warthog burrow. Here’s hoping she uses it as a future den site!
Wild dog sightings are relatively frequent. The pack walks in big loops that pass Machaba Camp and they stay in a certain place for a few days before moving off again.
Other Wildlife Sightings
May also saw our 13 resident banded mongooses constantly scurrying across camp in search of food. The colony’s young ones are growing incredibly fast, although we wish they could wait so we can enjoy their cute little faces a little while longer.
We spotted so many red-billed spurfowls during our game drives. The little ones are so tiny and precious. It's up to our guides to spot them ahead of time because when they feel threatened, they crouch down and stay completely still and are difficult to spot.