Safari Notes: Khwai Leadwood Bush Camp, Bush Walk – Botswana
Lucky us, we had a bit of a drive to get to our bush walk spot so we had a bit of a morning game drive snuck in, no complaints here!
On our drive to the bush walk:
- Fires spotted in the distance – since we had noted a few of these are various points of the trip we asked if these were spontaneous wildfires but we learned they are almost always man made.
- Honey badger tracks were spotted and we shared Kevin’s spot with these guys at Linyanti.
- We left the morning with the hyena still an open check box for our ugly five. And as if it heard us talking, a hyena comes strolling down the dirt road minutes outside the camp. It walked right up to the vehicle, then right around it like it was nothing and continued back on the road to journey on. We all laughed as it felt like the most unnatural hyena encounter just on a casual walk – amazing! And with that the ugly five is complete!
- Giraffe, elephants, zebra, antelope of all kinds out this morning.
- Waterbuck – these antelope have white patches around eyes to help night vision (true of all antelope) and a white ring around the butt (toilet seat) which is classic for the waterbuck. This is so that when they move in a group, they go in a single file line and can follow each other.
- Wild dog tracks, no dogs to be found though since last night’s spotting.
- Twanny eagle
- Elephants of course!
- Roan antelope – rare to see as it spends most of the time inland and only comes out this direction during dry season. This antelope has long ears, known as hippo antelope. The stable antelope is very close in relation and is the black version of the roan antelope. The roan antelope is the second largest antelope.
- Elephant breeding herd spotted, complaining birds which can be a good way to suspect predator spotted.
- Two male lion – once again, Banda just looks around, sees lion tracks and finds lions – he is just amazing! He suspected that the males from the elephant carcass had left the pride and he was right.
- Hippo out of water and this one was running, hilarious!
- Distressed squirrel which could again be an indicator a predator is nearby.
- Lots of impala
- Banded and slender mongoose – slender one being attacked by a bird (likes to eat bird eggs).
- Giraffe mating – large male, very small female, as we pulled up we spotted them mate but it was extremely fast, followed the two for a while but they did not mate again. Honestly it felt wrong to be watching as it looked like an underage female and an old male so we couldn’t stop making up stories on how they met, how he must be so wealthy, and how she is making all the other females so jealous.
- Tsessebe antelope
- Yellow billed hornbill
Once again, we thought our morning was just a walk but we saw so many animals on the drive! This is why Botswana is so amazing and I am so grateful to have found this spot. With Banda and Nelson, we were ready for our walk.
- Harvest termite mound (small)
- Hyena poo – white, mostly bone, other animals will eat for calcium
- Elephant spotted, single male. We moved our position down wind to avoid having him smell us. When he crossed and found our track, stopped and smelled us – so amazing. We observed the elephant from afar.
- Acacia tree
- Many red-billed hornbills / Zazu’s
- Fungus termite mound
- The operate a 24/7 business.
- There are three jobs – the workers, the soldiers, and then the royalty (one king and one queen). The queen plays ten thousand eggs a day and depending on the need can delegate which type of worker they become.
- Queen termite has the longest life span of any insect with up to 50 years!
- Microfungus termite – termites cannot digest their own food and use fungus to assist to make the food digestible.
- The hill itself is built from soil and secretions. Only 1/3 of the hill is visualized above ground. Other animals and birds perch to view surroundings and often poop on the termite mounds which can excrete seeds and then plants grow on top.
- Giraffe spotted, followed us for a bit.
- Blue bush / kalahari star apple tree – roots used as toothbrush.
- Kudo spotted – antelope that has large twisted horns (four twists signals an adult male) and a camel hump.
- Vultures spotted but it was getting too late in the morning to follow.
- Found elephant tracks and measured how big the elephant was based on the track – the measurement is two times the circumference of the track.
- Elephant dung review – many uses, some take out the medicinal components that were not digested (like tree), some use as a fire source, some use as mosquito repellent and for headache relief.
With our walk complete, we took a short drive for our morning snack while we enjoyed the view.
Drive back to camp
- Visited the female lions and cubs, the elephant they were eating yesterday had gone bad so pride moved away.
- Yellow billed kite
- Impala, wort hog, water buffalo, hippos with baby, kudo