Okavango Khwai River Safari: Following Alarm Calls to … Success!
Brendon Cremer Reports:
We left at first light again – in cool, overcast weather.
Although we waited for the expected rain, the clouds soon parted and ended up a hot, clear day.
We tracked lions again, but as they did not materialise we went to our favourite Mogotlo area to see if we could find any action there. Other than general game grazing peacefully in that beautiful section of the swamps there was nothing – no predator at all.
We headed back towards the Khwai River area where we had seen leopard prints. Along the way we stopped frequently to photograph the herds of giraffe, large herds of zebra, numerous tsessebe … and the fabulous birds. We were particularly lucky to photograph a Broad-billed Roller. We were delighted to have such a good sighting of this lovely, beautifully coloured, rare bird.
We heard Guinea Fowl alarm calling a few times, and soon thereafter, Francolin alarm calls alerted us, but when we went to investigate we didn’t see anything. A second group of Francolin started to alarm call, joined by other birds – and this time when we went to investigate we were thrilled to see an African Wild Cat. That was a wonderful surprise and a treat to watch and to photograph as it stalked the birds, even though the bush and grass obscured our vision from time to time. Everyone was particularly pleased that following up on alarm calls really does pay off!
In the afternoon there was a tremendous thunderstorm that delayed us at the Lodge for some time. We headed out a little later than usual. Once again we followed up on the lion and then the leopard tracks.
The lion tracks drew a blank again, but when we were tracking the leopard spoor we heard a huge commotion from another flock of Guinea Fowl. Of course we went in to investigate and found the birds sitting in a number of trees, alarm calling and creating quite a fuss. We searched around … what was there? We searched some more – and more – and then spotted it … a Serval! It was lying in the grass and again, although the grass obscured our vision a bit, it was a fantastic sighting. We captured some record shots before we decided to move on.
We called in at a nearby hyena den, where we found that our luck was in.
About 8 or 9 adults plus a number of pups ranging in age from 2 to about 7 months old. We had a great time with them before heading back to the Lodge.
On the way back we had a final stroke of luck – actually two – when we spotted a Barred Owlet and soon after a handsome Giant Eagle Owl.
Our delicious dinner was served in a boma a short distance from the Lodge. Our laughter, jokes, and scrumptious food were cut short by yet another thunderstorm that sent us scampering back to shelter.
It was a perfect way to end our safari. The world is so green and lush here, the animals are plentiful, and many are already planning another safari …