Wildlife Sightings - October 2020
Average Temperature: 36 - 48˚C
Although the wind has stopped and the air is dry and still at Ingwe Pan, on the odd occasion the wind comes through at about midnight and cools the temperature down until the sun rises.
Almost 90% of the vegetation is bone-dry and leafless, and just waiting for the rains to arrive. When this happens the landscape will be transformed into a meadow of 100 shades of beautiful greens and splashes of colour from wildflowers. The puddles of water that will remain will be a hive of activity with happy visits from our ducks and water birds. Let’s hope this happens soon!
I had been thinking about our big cat sighting all morning on the drive after our walk. As we drove past a nice shady sausage tree there was a smell of decaying meat, the guests also noticed it.
I put the vehicle in reverse and we backed up slowly, and I whispered, “look up at the trees and keep still.” Seconds later someone shouted, “there! LEOPARD, and hyena!” There, right beside us, was the most beautiful sighting.
The leopard was up the sausage tree feeding on an impala with this hungry hyena circling, waiting, and hoping for scraps to fall out of the tree. Next morning he was still there, lying on the ground in the clear, posing to be photographed.
One evening we heard the sound of two lions roaring away on the top of their lungs. There is no greater sound in the African bush than the sound of animals communicating at night while you are sleeping in a tent with just a thin layer of material between you and the animals.
Earlier at dinner, I had discussed with guests that it would be fun to try to track the lions on foot from camp since they sounded so close. Everyone agreed and we were all very excited about our upcoming adventure the next day!
We were up bright and early and ready to leave at 05:30. After a good cup of coffee, we set off with Liberty who is our learner guide. A short distance out of camp we were, and on the tracks of two big male lions. The terrain was rough and tracking was slow. After about an hour we knew we were getting close and noticed disturbed sand, as well as urine stains which were still wet from where the lions had laid down for a rest. I had just reminded the guests about the safety talk I had given earlier, telling them not to run no matter what happened when about 100-meters away, there they were... two BIG adult male lions, fast asleep in the shade! We all took a good look through our binoculars and everyone got even more excited. We quietly snuck around the lions, using the wind’s direction to get closer without being detected by the cats.
Suddenly one lion got up to stretch. I told everyone to stand still and not to
move a muscle, but he had seen us and got such a fright that we were so
close, he just ran away as fast as he could! The other lion heard the commotion
and got up too, but he was facing the other way and didn’t have a clue we were right behind him. He looked left and right and saw nothing, then he looked back only to see 12-sets of eyes staring at him! He took off as fast as he could to catch up with his buddy, and gave an all mighty growl when he caught up as if to say, “thanks for the heads up and for just leaving me behind!” We all had a good giggle and returned to camp to enjoy a champagne breakfast.
Wild Dog, Hyena and Leopard
We had just got back into camp after an amazing day filled with great sightings. All the guests were getting ready for dinner and I had gone off to have a quick shower when we all heard a loud distressed “gurgling” sound combined with rustling in the leaves behind Tent 6, right in camp.
I rushed out of my tent still pulling my socks up, trying to hop into my shoes and yank my shirt over my head at the same time. I shone my torch around, cautiously in case it was a pride of lions trying to pull down a buffalo, but there was no growling just whimpers and squeaks then silence.
Suddenly a hyena ran past me and more torches were flickering just in front of me behind Tent 6. Our guests were way ahead of me watching the action already! It was the pack of three wild dogs fighting off a large hyena who was trying to steal their kill.
I was worried all the commotion would attract the lions so I snuck around to get a vehicle for us to all climb onto to watch the tug-of-war and dinner feast before we enjoyed our dinner. The good news was the hyena lost the battle and the three wild dogs enjoyed their well-earned meal. When we all got to the dinner table we were treated with another surprise, which was a leopard drinking at the pan!
On most of our visits down to the floodplain, we see the odd eland hanging around in the open. Sometimes there will be another one hiding behind a termite mound or under a mahogany tree, happily browsing away.
On this particular day, we were in for a surprise when what I thought was a decent-size herd of a dozen eland, actually turned out to be over 120! What an amazing sighting, especially because for one of our guests, this was the first time they had seen eland.
Dinner With A Show
Lion, hyena, elephant, impala, common duiker, leopard, buffalo, genet, civet, scrub hare and a SERVAL!
This unbelievable sighting took place from the comfort of the dinner table one evening. It was like watching a variety show with a spotlight, trying to spot how many different species of animals we could see in one go. It felt unreal and looked amazing!
Well, folks, that’s it for another month. We are looking forward to our next sightings report, you never know what awaits in the African bush!