YES INDEED, IT'S SPRING HERE IN BOTSWANA
As we flew over the Okavango Delta, quite a lot of trees had lost their leaves.This is a characteristic of spring.
On the drive to the camp, we were treated warmly by the sighting of two male lions resting in shade of a mopane tree. When we approached them, one of the males stood up and went to urinate. Upon returning, he lay flat again on the ground. Thereafter we continued with the journey to the camp, which was interrupted by the sighting of two elephant bulls shaking the real fan palm trees to get the fruits. It's amazing to deduce from the sighting that elephants are conservationists at heart. Instead of breaking the tree, they rather opted to push the tree a little bit so that only the palm fruits could fall and pick them up.Obviously, palm trees occur all over the delta, and the elephants might have recognised that the fruits rippen once around spring time.
When we crossed the last wooden bridge to the camp we watched spotted necked otters swimming and diving as they sought food. The main highlight of the trip was at Nxabega where we viewed four lionesses and seven cubs hunting the red lechwe antelopes the following morning. One lioness stalked and chased, but the lechwes managed to escape by dashing into the river. However, it was amazing to see the lioness running in water as it attempted to catch its prey even though she missed. Thereafter, the lions chose a spot to lie down because it was already warm. In the evening, we went back to the same spot where the lions were with the hope of seeing them continue with the hunt. Three kudu antelopes came really close to where the lions were sleeping. The lions quickly picked up on their presence and they fled for safety.
We enjoyed seeing the lions socialise before setting out on a serious hunt. The lions spotted a herd of impalas and started stalking them. Within a short time they chased and caught an impala ram next to us. We could hear the distressed call ignited by the impala. However, as soon as we approached closer, the lions tore into the impala as they all scrambled to get a share. They ate everything including the stomach contents and within 15 minutes there was nothing left. We could clearly see that the lions were still hungry because the kill was not sufficient to satisfy all of them.
At Khwai, for two consecutive nights we had two male lions calling within a 100m radius from our campsite all night long before crossing the river onto an island. The birdlife between these two camps was excellent as we managed to view endangered icon species like slaty egret, wattled cranes, southern ground hornbills etc. On the way to Savute, we saw wild dogs (8 adults) moving on the road and lay down next to a mud hole. They had very full bellies and blood on their faces which gave me the impression that they had just finished eating a kill. There were also lots of widlife sightings on the way like zebras, kudus, giraffes, elephants etc.
At Mababe depression, we saw one male lion and three lionesses moving and using termite hills as vantage points. It was clear that they were hunting, although it was hot. At Savute, we saw two male lions sleeping in the shade provided by the mopane scrub. We also saw sable and roan antelopes. At Serondela, we viewed two lionesses and two cubs feeding on an elephant calve kill (+3 years). They feasted on it for two consecutive days.
The boating trip provided unparelleled experience as there were lots of different birds and animal species at close quarters. However, the elephant action is worth mentioning because its the emblem of Chobe National Park.
The last morning, before we left the park, we saw two lionesses and two cubs stalking impalas, who quickly spotted them and read their intention.The impalas panicked and scattered.
Posted: Botswana Expedition by Keiditsemang Jeremiah Gabogolelwe, Date: 4 September 2011