I collected the Hingst group from the airstrip in Khwai after their stay at Oddballs Camp in the Okavango Delta. We spent the first four nights of our mobile safari adventure in the Khwai region adjoining the south-western boundary of the Chobe National Park. Just 400 metres from the airstrip we were already in luck with a great sighting of a female cheetah with her eight-month old cub.
We were also very fortunate to witness the interaction between two lionesses on one side of the Khwai river watching three wild dogs feeding on an impala which they had killed on the other side of the river! The wild dogs were very active in around the Mogothlo area in Khwai and we saw them attempt to kill but fail almost every morning. We also caught up with the dogs pretty much every night when we headed out on our night drives.
Lions were also plentiful and our lion highlight was definitely a pride of nine feeding on a young elephant carcass in Savuti where we were fortunate to be able to watch the interactions between the individuals as they fed. It was interesting to note that the Savuti channel is still flowing but will definitely be a lot lower than last year. With a bit of luck the water on the marsh will easily last until the first rains fall towards the end of October and beginning of November. There should be some fantastic birding again this year when the migratory species pass overhead and see this food-rich wetland below them.
We had more great leopard sightings on this safari, it seems that the leopards are getting more and more co-operative as we move further into the dry season. Our sighting of a female near our campsite in Khwai was excellent but it was well beaten by another sighting of a female leopard up a tree in Savuti.
Khwai is usually an excellent area for bull elephants but on this safari we were treated to numerous sightings of large breeding herds which was unusual. One of the herds which we came across had a four-month old youngster which seemed to have some type of birth defect which had affected the growth of it’s trunk. Because baby elephants don’t use their trunks to feed and drink milk from their mothers with their mouth, this youngster seemed to be in good health. We will have to wait and see how this deformity affects him in later life.
I look forward to reporting back on more sightings from my next safari which will be starting in Moremi Game Reserve and going through Khwai, Savuti and up to Kasane where the safari will finish with a boat cruise on the Chobe River.
Until then you can find updates on our Facebook Page.
– Ben (July 2012)