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Kwando Lagoon/Lebala June/July 2014


madaboutcheetah

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madaboutcheetah

Hello,

 

Greetings!!!! Just back to Joburg and back to the real world again after a rocking safari in the Kwando concession. Lebala is rocking at the moment!!!!!

 

Quick update from the triple den situation .............. Initially there was a lot of apprehension from the three mothers who gave birth to the puppies, but, now things seem to be settling down. One of the mums seem to have adopted all pups into her den and the other two mums are off hunting with the other 5 in the pack. The 3 intruding males from Muvumbi seem to be absolutely useless at hunting. Could not even count the number of puppies - that many! well over 20! ............... they also started eating meat. Good times for anyone visiting Lebala.

 

Cheetah wise - had some amazing viewing of the two new young males that pop in and out of the concession. They certainly are show stoppers - they pose and perform brilliantly. One particular day - we had them perform from sun up to sun down ................. could not break for morning coffee or lunch. Had to eat lunch in the car.............. serving lunch from the tupper ware boxes. Brilliant!!! They are better at posing than hunting - yet, we were the first to have ever witnessed a hunt of them in view of the game drives (a warthog piglet). Alas, no sighting of the 3 old brothers - who seem to perfer the Muvumbi valley (I was almost in tears having missed them) ........... Oh well - I think they are slow with age and can't quite cover the huge grounds anymore.

 

Lions - what can I say? ............. best Lion viewing on the concession since atleast 2007 ................

 

Leopard and cub at lagoon.

 

Good plains game. Elephants and buffalo not in their massive numbers yet ............... Some awesome Tssesebe sightings ( I dig Topi/Tssesebe these days) .......... One 45 minute sighting of Sable in Lagoon.

 

Travelled with 3 others - it was the first visit for two others ............. They loved every minute of it - the people, the experience and just about everything .......

 

As always, a HUGE Thank You to Spencer and Mr.Moe ........... Another great experience! Thanks to Leso for his wonderful camp management at Lebala - a truly awesome time!!!

 

P.S - my trip started with pangolin on my first game drive (my second ever!) ........... at 4 PM - I hadn't seen impala or kudu at that point in my trip. That elusive Aardvark will have to wait another trip.

 

Now the low point ........... I packed my camera gear at sunset and left the lions last night ............... what happens next? literally 5 minutes later - they kill two wildebeest. Oh well!!!

 

Trust everyone is doing well and chat soon!

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Driving through the woodland (wanting to find Roan/Sable/kudu) ...... we stumbled upon this Fab Four ..... they posed for just one second before they went back to their feeding.

Lions sleep or stay idle for too long (for my liking) ......... Yet, this keeps my brain working in terms of possible composition ideas.

Now for pictures of those puppies from the Lebala triple wild dog den ....... Details already mentioned in some of the previous posts. About the location of the den - it's right behind the BDF camp o

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madaboutcheetah

P.S - news from Kwara - My friends just came back to Joburg from kwara today .............. Dog den there has 16 adults with 15 puppies (Phew!!!). Otherwise, game viewing there pretty slow - The 4 Marsh Lions have disrupted the pride dynamics there and Lion viewing currently very ify - they stil had a super time. They loved Lebala the best.

 

I've always been of the opinion that Lebala tops my book - now it's way better than Lagoon in just about every aspect .............. Game viewing, sightings, camp management, staff, well - even the wild dogs. The pack that dens just across in Selinda is often hunting Lebala Way. Yet - there is so much happening that some drives there isn't any vehicles going to the Lebala den. There are wild dog tracks all over the Lagoon area too (nothing located last two weeks, unfortunately - no one knows which pack). Due to the sensitive nature of the den site - and to minimize impact, only Lebala vehicles have access (only two on any drive) ............ Yet, as I say - there is so much happening that some days no one ever heads up there.

 

Kwando concession in general seems to be drying up again - no flood surge this year and some of the eastern section of the concession is slowly drying up again. Not sure if it's less rain in the Angolan highlands or a change in the techtonic plates. In a couple of years, one could well see a nice dry concession which will enable the game viewing to be absolutely rocking............

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SafariChick

WOW WOW WOW Hari! I look forward to more details and photos! That poor mother taking care of 20+ babies - is she alone nursing them all? I know you said they started eating meat but I'd think they'd still be nursing too? I wonder if the other two Moms nurse some too when they come back from hunting? Well I'm glad they are all working it out - nature sure is amazing!

 

I was so worried when you said the low point was when you packed your camera gear ... thought you were going to say your camera was lost or stolen - was afraid we'd have no photos - but yay, at least that was not what happened! Safe travels home!

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graceland

Wow...what a great beginning. I absolutely love your enthusiasm....perhaps one day I will give Kwando camps "another chance" hahaha...

 

I can't wait to see your pics....you always have such awesome safaris...I need to tag along. :)

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madaboutcheetah

WOW WOW WOW Hari! I look forward to more details and photos! That poor mother taking care of 20+ babies - is she alone nursing them all? I know you said they started eating meat but I'd think they'd still be nursing too? I wonder if the other two Moms nurse some too when they come back from hunting? Well I'm glad they are all working it out - nature sure is amazing!

 

I was so worried when you said the low point was when you packed your camera gear ... thought you were going to say your camera was lost or stolen - was afraid we'd have no photos - but yay, at least that was not what happened! Safe travels home!

Hi! The mums have been fighting- the dominant female seems to have taken over all the pups now and the other mums are not allowed near the puppies. Two of the females have had several skirmishes prior to the takeover. Edited by madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

Lions - plenty of lions at both the lagoon and lebala ends. Plenty of nomadic lion coalitions too- so no idea what the future holds. Currently all cubs doing well and providing great photo ops.

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twaffle

A pangolin! Your second???? What can I say, just greedy really. :)

 

All sounds fabulous, can't wait to see some photos.

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SafariChick

oh yeah, I forgot to comment upon the PANGOLIN! Lucky!! I've yet to see my first but then I've got to get a few more safaris under my belt before I'd expect that!

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michael-ibk

Fantastic news about the dogs, really the best outcome of this unusual situation one could have hoped for. Is the golden dog the alpha male now?

 

And good to hear the lion cubs are still well.

 

Glad you got your cheetah action, even if not with your old friends.

 

And PANGOLIN!

 

Really looking forward to all your pics here. :)

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madaboutcheetah

Those male dogs are pretty useless ...... No established alpha male it seems. Also, the greeting ritual before they set off on a hunt is the most mundane half attempt ever seen. Not as loud and bonded as normal packs. Maybe they are still getting established?

 

Apparently, the den in Kwara is awesome ........

 

Yes Lion cubs doing well at Lagoon - lioness with three cubs still with another lioness and the two Males (Blackie and Blondie). The third lioness has still not introduced her two cubs to the pride (they seemed a little more skittish to me and not very photogenic).

 

Other Lions seen - at Lagoon. The 3 young males seen last year a lot in the dry season around Lebala. We tracked them all morning way north of Kwena Lagoon and found them. They seemed a little skittish at first having probably not seen vehicles in several months.

 

Around Lebala. A pride of 9 - 3 lionesses with 6 cubs (varying ages).

 

The big male that holds Lebala grounds (King Booker) ...... not related to the above pride.

 

Another coalition of two young males feeding on a baby elephant (not seen much - no one knows where they came from). They seemed very relaxed around vehicles so who knows ..........

 

Also saw a really ugly floater male Lion not far from the dog den.

 

Overall .......... after several years with scrappy looking Mohican Lions. The Kwando concession is filled with truly good looking ones. I probably haven't had a good Lion sighting in the concession since perhaps 2007 when the then Selinda pride spent most of their time in Kwando.

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

I was fortunate enough to bump into Hobbs and Charles at the Kwara airstrip yesterday when my flight landed briefly to drop some guests off ........... Hobbs mentioned that the remaining two cheetah boys are still doing good - not seen last few days as they were chasing after one of the females. My friends had a super 4 days with him.

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madaboutcheetah

A pangolin! Your second???? What can I say, just greedy really. :)

 

All sounds fabulous, can't wait to see some photos.

 

I landed in Maun on a sunday. Immigration had one officer on duty .......... eventually I was extremely delayed to get to Lagoon. The afternoon drives had already gotten under way. Whilst I was getting organized to get on game drive (bean bags, clamps, etc etc.,) ....... the manager asked me what I was still doing in camp and to get to the Pangolin already found ..... Hence my first sighting of the trip. I felt lucky right away! ;)

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Soukous

You're really buzzing Hari. can't wait to see some photos.

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penolva

Did you see the lioness with the spot on her flank? I live in hope! Pen

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Marks

oh yeah, I forgot to comment upon the PANGOLIN! Lucky!! I've yet to see my first but then I've got to get a few more safaris under my belt before I'd expect that!

 

I'm in the same boat (call it the HMS Jealousy, haha).

 

@@madaboutcheetah In all seriousness, this sounds really exciting. Can't wait to read and see more.

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Sangeeta

Love your enthusiasm, Hari :)

 

Pangolins and puppies and cheetah - your cup overflows!

 

But it's your two first time companions I'm thinking about the most - wow! they began their safari career with a pangolin sighting??!!? I wonder what they'll say about this later in their safari careers!

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks, All ........ will definitely get to the photo editing when I get some time to do it and catch up with work. Back to reality, I suppose........

 

No, Sangeeta - they were at Tau Pan when I started my trip at Lagoon. They saw male Lions fighting during their stay at Tau Pan, though ........... They are cheetah addicted now, though! Loved the experience of tracking them down every day and following them while they were in the concession.

 

Pen, no we didn't see that particular lioness. Maybe she migrated into the woodland areas?

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FlyTraveler

@@madaboutcheetah, all this sounds nothing short of fantastic! Can't wait to read the rest and see photos!

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AKR1

Waiting to see your pictures, Hari. Seems like a fantastic trip. A Pangolin!!!! Wow.

 

Was interested in your comment that the lion viewing was better than anything you had seen except in the old days (2007 :)). I had some fantastic lion sightings at Kwara two years with the magnificent seven.

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madaboutcheetah

@@AKR1 - My reference point re the Lions was specific to the Kwando concession - I.e., Lebala/Lagoon.

 

 

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madaboutcheetah

First image on popular request .......... My new obsession with silhouettes after my trip to the Mara.

post-308-0-45995600-1404805431_thumb.jpg

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FlyTraveler

Great introductory photo Hari! Looking forward for more...

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Safaridude

Will be at Lagoon/Lebala in September. Glad to have you scout it out for me, Hari! :D

 

If you spent 45 minutes with a certain ebony, curved-horned creature, you surely could post one photo of it?

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Soukous

Come on Hari, 1 photo? Now you're just toying with us.

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madaboutcheetah

@@Safaridude - September things should be absolutely rocking ......... Missed Benson by a few hours - he left Lagoon the day i started my trip.

 

Haha - sure will find some of the sable images ....... have tons of pics to sort out.

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