Winter has brought with it an abundance of sightings in the bountiful Footsteps area! Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. Opie, specialist guide based at Footsteps and all round guru of the area has updated us on recent predator activity and with the update came excellent news that there are new additions to our resident families, read Opie's account below:
Wild Dogs Denning with Nine Puppies
We have been following this pack of five Wild Dogs for some time now and have seen a few failed hunting attempts but mostly successful ones. During one sighting I noticed the alpha female was heavily pregnant in June and I kept my fingers crossed that they would decide to find a den within the Footsteps area. My prayers were answered recently when we were on a drive looking for lions but happened to stumble upon three members of the pack, they were mobile so we decided to follow them.
In the distance I noticed the rest of the pack and as we approached I saw the den and counted nine puppies! The puppies are about one and a half months old. We watched them for a long time interacting and playing with one another, everyone in the game drive vehicle was speechless, it was a truly fantastic sighting!
Click here for a link to a video of the puppies playing at the den site
Just when we thought it couldn't get better having Wild Dog puppies denning nearby, our resident lionesses have blessed the Footsteps area with these lion cubs! One day I noticed vultures circling around an island so I decided to go and investigate, on arrival I saw the pride including the three cubs, all with very full bellies! There are two male cubs and one female and they are getting stronger and bigger by the day and hopefully they make it to adulthood without being harassed by the wild dogs, hyenas or the leopards.
Blog story and pictures by Omphile Kaluluka (Specialist Guide)
It was an early Thursday morning at Shinde and there was lots of excitement filling the air as we left for a walking safari with Kenny (professional Guide at Shinde), myself (Lucas, assistant guide at Shinde) and our guests. The bush was so silent as we started to walk, the quietness along with a cool winter morning added a very peaceful atmosphere to the start of our walk. Ten minutes into walk, we received a radio call from Bonolo (Shinde guide), He was calling in a hyena sighting at Hippo Pools, about a seven minute drive from where we were.
Kenny informed everyone of the sighting and gave the guests the option of cutting short the walking safari to drive to the Hyena. Without hesitation, we were all back in the vehicle and on our way to Hippo Pools. Upon arrival, we found two hyenas, while we were observing them we noticed them sniffing up the wind, this is usually a signal that there is a kill in the area. The both of them started heading off in a south easterly direction. The two other vehicles drove away as they had been viewing the Hyenas since the start of the morning activity but our vehicle continued tracking them as we felt they would lead us to something interesting.
Our perseverance paid off when we saw the spectacular sight of two new young male lions which we believe to be brothers. They were on the other side of the flood plain, sitting on elevated ground, probably an abandoned termite mound.
We drove past them to have a closer look at this majestic beauty before us. From appearance, they were so skinny and looked like they were starving. These lions were nomads in this area and they will stay silent so as to alert the residents of their presence. This was really why we were taken aback by these two lions, they surprised us being here.
Towards the end of last month, these same two unmistakable lions came and tried to invade this area but failed to make it as their dreams were abolished by Boutu, Shinde’s famous ghost lion who is also the dominate male here. Even though Boutu was badly injured on his fore limbs, he managed to push these two young intruders out.
The brothers are back again… We are eagerly looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this pair in this area. “Wow.” These words were on our lips the whole morning. It was a fantastic Thursday morning indeed and had no regrets at all for having postponed our safari walk to the next day.
Furthermore, after sighting these lions we decided that we would track the same lions tomorrow to see what had passed during the night. We did. The following day the surprising thing was that they were full bellied which means that they did successfully manage to scavenge a steal and fed.
I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a little more action from this regal tag team.
Blog story and images by Lucas (Assistant guide at Shinde)
The increased Leopard activity at Kanana over the past few months has really made for some exciting game viewing and it just got a whole lot better! We have seen a few new individuals moving into, and inhabiting, the concession resulting in a change of dynamics within the leopard population
Moses Teko, Ker & Downey Botswana Guide Liason, has recently been guiding at Kanana. He was on a morning drive with his guests when they decided to track one of the resident female leopards whom he suspected had cubs.
He was driving in an area close to camp when he saw the female sitting at the bottom of a large sausage tree, the cubs must have been very close by as she was extremely alert. All of a sudden, she leaped up into the sausage tree and maneuvered her way through a narrow crevice in the tree trunk.
Moses caught a glimpse of the cubs as he looked through the narrow gap in the tree but they were so well hidden, if he hadn’t come across the female they would have never noticed where she was hiding them!
A few minutes later, the female made her way down the tree and sniffed around the vehicle before walking off into the thick bush where they left her!
This is exciting news for Kanana and we look forward to updating you as these little creatures begin their life on the concession.
Photos taken by Moses Teko