Duba game drives still continued to amaze us during the peak summer rain season.
We’ve seen new water channels fill up presenting the classic Okavango Delta feel to the region, surrounding the dry island of the plains.
The weather, although unpredictable, has provided some stunning vistas of emerald grasslands and for the landscape photographer an opportunity to capture the moody skies punctuated by lightning.
The lions of Duba, as they do at this time of year, switch from hunting Buffalo to more varied game, such as warthog and lechwe. The buffalos are at their prime health due to the rich grass that is in its abundance. The
y can run further and faster so it becomes very dangerous for the lions to try and hunt them regularly; they will only dare go for the young and elderly. The upside of this is the lions must hunt more as their prey is now much smaller. It provides a new dynamic at this time of year, and allows the buffalo to have a rest.
The Tsaro pride still lives in separation away from any of the other lions of Duba. The new young alpha male, that has taken the territory, has been working hard to make his presence felt. As a result, most of the female lions are hiding in order to protect their still growing young males, and also the cubs. He is a real bully. The Tsaro alpha male is frequently found with the 2 females so they receive his protection, but he is well provided for by their hunting skills.
We live in a dynamic period of movement and settling of prides, this is what makes Duba so exciting, it is never the same.
For the past two weeks, a group of 3 females, a young male (3 years old) and a one and half years cub have been missing after confrontation with the territorial male. We suspect they have moved to Paradise Island temporarily – a distant part of the concession. The other group of 4 with 2 cubs, who are believed to be seven months old, are also avoiding the alpha male just to protect the young cubs.
We always cherish the sightings of leopards in Duba as this is one area where leopards are not common due the high levels of water and the number of lions roaming the area. The leopards that we see are usually very shy, preferring to move around without being noticed. This month has brought a handful of sightings to the great delight of our guests. They have an impressive ability to survive in such a region of hostility. To be surrounded by three prides of lions, all of who would attack you in an instant, must take stealth and courage. It can be the abundance of game that keeps the predator there. Please let us know if you have ever seen one at Duba.
Among the other interesting sightings we’ve seen this month is the Pel’s fishing owl which seems to dominate the Old mokoro station area.
The nocturnal aardwolf is also one of the animals that are hardly seen and it has been a great month for them as the guides would most of the time see them while driving back to camp in the evenings.
There is nothing that beats the beauty of seeing a hippo outside the water and this is very common in Duba with guaranteed hippo sightings during any stay – either from the vehicles or on our boats.
We’ve had a great combination of spectacular moments this month when I accompanied two guests on an afternoon gamedrive. Our guide Spike drove us through a deep channel of water to position us towards this beautiful sunset disappearing behind the horizons of the plains. In front of us there was a pond, home to a group of about 15 hippos whom were very inquisitive, making great sounds and displaying their amazing teeth. A glass of wine, amarula on the rocks and a ginger beer summed up this amazing afternoon.
The other general game that was seen would include;
Bat-eared fox, side stripped jackal, both of which are quite common here, giraffe, kudus, red lechwes and the amazing bird life of Duba Plains. In the summer Duba has some of the best birdlife in northern Botswana where populations increase by over 30% over the season.