March News – Selinda Camp, Botswana


In life there are so many situations that may be defined as the mundane, they happen once, twice, one hundred times.  Even some beautiful sights like a picture by the masters can be viewed over and over.  A discovery is a moment that will never happen again. You are the privileged individuals to see that once in an eternity event.  We are a place of discoveries, you don’t even have to open your mind to it as it will envelop in front of you.  You may think the days of discovery are over, Livingstone, Stanley and Baines had the day – not true, we truly discover new sights every day:

Mots was driving with four lucky guests in the southern part of the concession one early morning.  Quite close the airstrip they heard a mellow calling from a lion.  It is hard to describe such a call but it is almost an anguished resonance. The mother as it turns out was calling for her two newly born cubs.  We estimated that they were maybe one week old, one of the cubs eyes were just opening. She had placed them in an acacia bush to keep them hidden and protected as they are extremely vulnerable.  Mots gave the guests a few minutes with the cubs before retreating.  Such a sighting is so sensitive becuase our presence can attract the danger of other predator particularly Hyena. Mots reported the sighting immediately so the concession manger could put in place our sensitive sighting policy.  This would mean only one vehicle could visit the cubs at anyone time and only two throughout the day.  We will give you further updates about the cubs over the coming months.

24-02-2013 Selinda Lioncups 07 - Willem Bakhuys Roozeboom

The mother was calling for the cubs alerting Mots

24-02-2013 Selinda Lioncups 05 - Willem Bakhuys Roozeboom

24-02-2013 Selinda Lioncups 03 - Willem Bakhuys Roozeboom

 

Mots’ Diary

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Motsami – Mots our veteran guide at Selinda

Mots has been employed by Great Plains for well over the years. A real success story Mots used to be our truck driver before he studied hard to become a guide.  Mots is from Shakawe in the north of the Okavango Delta but now lives near Kasane in the Chobe District.

“In Selinda Camp this month many elephants have been stopping by most days, at around tea time at 3pm, to have a browse of the fresh water lilies next to the main deck.  The older bulls just love the soft lilies because they are so soft.  Elephants only have six sets of teeth and as they get older they become more careful in what they east.  Once they run out of teeth it is time up.  Out of camp has been just very busy also. I had quite a few first timer guests this month and the bush has been generous for all of us so if what we have seen doesn’t make you fall in love with Botswana I don’t know what will. 

Last week we found the  female leopard that lives very close to camp waiting on her kill of an impala.   She had poached the Impala from a loan hyena which is quite unusual.   Once she had taken her fill she quickly removed it from the spot and dragged it up a tree which is impressive to watch. Once she had ensured it wouldn’t slip she waited and surveyed the area. Out from the denser canopy came a very young female leopard, clearly her daughter which was a treat to see as we hadn’t seen her in a few weeks so we were worried she had died. It was a relief to see her and she was looking very healthy, hopefully she will pick up the same skills at hunting her mother possesses. I have managed to spot them a few times around Selinda so Im hoping they will stick around and let us introduce them to more guests after that perfect photo to hang on the wall.  The mother and daughter will tend to stay together for maybe eighteen months as she shows her all the tricks of the trade, it is some skill hunting alone.

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Mots had first time guests to Africa when they saw this Leopard

 Hyenas are being spotted up to mischief but also hunting. We found about 9 hyenas feeding on a baby giraffe they had recently brought down which shows that they are having some good success.  Many people think that Hyenas are the scavengers of Africa but in fact Lions steal more food from them than the other way around.

The Wild dogs have been doing well and are frequently seen relaxing around the Mara pools area in between hunts. Guests have been lucky enough to see them hunting and playing almost every day while they stay in the region.  More hunts which havnt been particularly successful include the lions that have tried their luck at digging out warthogs from their burrows but it has just left them all hot and frustrated from what we saw.  Lions have a poor success rate or only 30% attempts per kill, Wild dogs are closer to 90%.  We are very excited now looking for the Wild dogs to begin breeding.  We have seen both the Explorers pack of five and Selinda pack this month, we will keep you posted Go Siame Mots”.

 

Mokopi – Kops

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Kops is another success story.  Originally working at our sister camp Duba as a mechanic Lops used to burn the midnight oil studying for his comprehensive guides exam.  Kops is from Seronga, one of the local villages that our outreach project supports.  Duba employs community members from Seronga and he harnessed the opportunity to progress and studies to be a progressional guide.

“There has been lots of action around the bridge near camp this month with 2 young male lions that seem to have come into the area recently. We haven’t thought up names for them yet but let’s hope they stick around and maybe venture over our side soon because they have been fun to watch playing together. The young female leopard Lesego has been showing off her skills at hunting with a new kill every time we see her. She has been gradually working her way through the concession and sometimes a 10 minute drive out of camp will give us a good chance of seeing her relaxing in the tree canopies during the heat of the day.

Lots of snakes have been spotted sunning themselves on the roads in the mornings. Notable sightings have included snouted cobras, pythons and some sizable black mambas. Looks like it’s taking them a bit longer to warm up every day as the nights are getting colder moving into winter.

Using the boat this time of year on the spillway is giving some of the best sunsets I’ve seen in a long time especially with the abundance of bird life serenading us every evening. This has been the perfect place to relax and reflect on the day and how many more things we still have to see, as long as those naughty hippos are behaving themselves – sela sentle Kops”. 

Thanks Mots and Kops for your diaries.  We have had lots of fun elsewhere in the concession with some great sleep outs at the hide.

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The hide is 5 minutes boat cruise from Selinda Camp, it provides a real wilderness experience enabling guests sleep under the stars for the night.  One evening there were Lions nearby roaring most of the evening heightening the experience somewhat.  Nothing to fear though as guide is posted to the rear of the hide with a rifle.

We look to an exciting few months watching our leopard Lesogo, blessed in Setswana, grow into an adult.  We were worried as we had not seen her for a while. The Wild dog season is also a head of us.  We will post all updates on the Great Plains Facebook page as they occur.

 

 

 

 

 

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