Leopard Warthog Kill in Botswana
By Kay Trotman
My latest adventure was Botswana, Africa in July 2009 on a fam with Fazendin Portfolio. A fam is a familiarization trip for travel agents. It’s so you get to know a place and accommodations so you can recommend it to your clients. What an adventure! I’ll be anxious to return and escort a group to this country.
After my first visit back in 2003, I knew I would return and return I did. Botswana is a game rich country with the ever unique Okavango Delta contrasted with the Kalahari Desert. There is no doubt a first visit or a subsequent visit would be fantastic.
The Delta was filled with inlets and islets throughout the country, making travel by roads impossible. So, our journey was by bush plane between camps, and traveling through water on Land Cruisers within the camps. It was quite an experience. The Magadikgadi Pans were incredible, something I missed on my previous visit, so this was a highlight for me.
Our first stop was Delta Camp in the Okavango Delta, situated on the South Western edge of Chief’s Island in the heart of the Okavango Delta. Transportation to this camp is by mokoro. Then, onward to Meno a Kwena, an Out of Africa type camp and experience, situated on the edge of Boteti River, which forms the western boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.
This year, just two weeks prior to our visit, this river flowed for the first time in twenty years. There was huge excitement here. It had been dry and animals roamed for miles in search of water. Now, the water finally flowed down from Angola after twenty years to fill this river. It was the most amazing thing and everyone was all abuzz, including the elephants.
We flew from Meno to Xakanaxa Mobile in the heart of the Moremi Game Reserve, The highlight about this camp experience was the Cheetah on the hunt as we left camp the following morning. Then it was on to Santawani which is situated on the southern boundary of the Moremi Game Reserve on our own exclusive private area.
The highlight of this experience here was the Leopard Warthog kill and the hyena below the tree waiting for scraps and the pride of ten lions having taken down a giraffe. We’d just driven past and seen another vehicle leaving the area. As we rounded the bend in the road, we heard crunching, but wasn’t exactly sure which direction to focus our untrained eye.
The driver immediately told us to look up in the tree. Before we could look up, we noticed two hyenas coming out of the bush, one almost under the tree, the other holding back a bit. This was going to be interesting, we could feel it in the air. As we glanced up in the tree, we saw the leopard gnawing on something we could finally discern as a warthog by the tusks.
It was quite a large warthog and we wished we could have seen the leopard scurry up the tree with it. Leopards are so strong they can carry almost twice their weight, and this had to be a challenge, this huge male warthog.
The leopard never let up, he was tearing his kill to pieces, all the while one of the hyena kept circling under the tree, no doubt, waiting for a piece or scraps to fall as the leopard ate. He didn’t have to wait long. Suddenly a huge hind leg fell to the ground; the hyena scooped it up without thought of sharing it with the other hyena, a short distance away. He grabbed the piece of meat and quickly took it to another area and started tearing at the meat.
We watched as he ate, it took all of ten minutes to devour every piece of meat, including the bone. Meanwhile, the other hyena was not so lucky, as he now wandered under the tree for his share, but in the forty minutes or so that we were there, the leopard was careful not to drop any more scraps.
As the night was getting dark, we had to leave, but watching the interaction between leopard and hyena, and hyena and hyena was one of the great experiences of seeing nature at work. This is the cycle in the bush, and it goes on every day between predators and prey. It takes some good luck to be able to see it in action. I’m glad we were on this day’s safari.
It was then on to Mapula Lodge, our last accommodation, which is situated in the northern area of the Okavango Delta, just outside the Moremi Game Reserve. This was a great place to end our safari, relaxing on the mokoro cruising through the Delta, and our fabulous game drives.
This was a great experience! If you ever get a chance to go on an African Safari be sure to consider Botswana, Africa for your first or next safari. For a similar safari in Botswana or other more popular safari areas contact Safari Kay, a travel consultant with Destined to Travel in Corona, CA.