Game Report: Vumbura Plains

February 27, 2012  By: Gretchen

This interesting game report comes from our friends at Wilderness Safaris’ Vumbura Camp in Botswana.

The month of January has been a really productive month in terms of game viewing, one of the reasons being Vumbura has had a lot of rainfall. This has lead to most of the floodplains being filled with water, resulting in many animals moving to the Kalahari apple leaf and mopane woodland areas.

Seeing more than two huge male lions in a coalition is a rare sighting and we have been very spoiled as Vumbura currently has two male coalitions scouting the area. One of the coalitions has three members (Kubu Boys) while the other has four – all of these males are in their prime, and boy, are they big! On one occasion the group of four walked straight through camp. The two groups have not had a direct confrontation yet, but this is bound to happen soon!

There is also one lioness that has been seen around a couple of times with three very young cubs and it is always a worry to us as we are not sure which of the two coalitions would be the fathers.

The month of January has been a lion month at Vumbura. Apart from the new coalitions we have found, the Eastern Pride, which consists of three males and three subadults, has been making a presence in the area too. We found this pride feeding on a giraffe carcass close to Dagga Pan, and as expected, there was quite a number of hungry hyaena on the periphery – a great sighting indeed!

The Golden Pack of wild dogs has also been present in and around camp, and as we all know, the dogs are effective and successful hunters. We have seen them on a couple of occasions killing and feeding on impala and kudu. They have also been seen around the water pans and out in the floodplains, bounding through the shallow water.

We have also been very lucky as we continue to see a number of different leopards in the area. We recently found Selonyana and her cub walking along Masanga Road, this was a top-notch sighting which produced many great photo opportunities as the mother and her cub affectionately started to play with each other. Mosetsana is one of the leopards that we see regularly at Vumbura and she is usually seen around the airstrip, which could be a great welcome or good bye if you see her on your way into or out of camp.

General plains game is always a winner at Vumbura Plains, as there is always some kind of animal activity anywhere one looks. Jackie’s Pan in particular has been very productive, with big numbers of zebra, wildebeest, tsessebe, giraffe, kudu and impala congregating.

Birding has also been very rewarding this month, as we have been blessed with many raptor sightings. The summer birdlife has also added a wealth of colour to the environment, especially with all the bee-eaters, rollers and kingfishers present.

On the reptilian side of things, we got to witness a very exciting and unusual kill unfold in front of our very eyes. A boomslang caught a large flap-necked chameleon, and before its haemotoxic venom could act, the chameleon put up a formidable fight, but eventually succumbed to the toxic cocktail of venom. This however, was not the end of the fight for the snake. The arboreal snake now battled to swallow its meal and took around 45 minutes to get it right.

Photos and game report courtesy Wilderness Safaris