This blog post is a trip report on our visit to the 22 000ha Limpopo-Lipadi private Game Reserve in the Tuli block of Botswana. We really love this place :-)
This trip will be remembered for for 3 things.
1. The hot and dry conditions (luckily there is a swimming pool, and air conditioners in the room
2. 9 leopard sightings!
3. logging 29 mammal species on 1 day (excluding mice and bats)
The week we spent at the reserve was really hot... The average daytime temperatures we experienced ranged between 42 - 45 degrees celsius. And it was bone dry, the driest I have seen the reserve. The dry conditions had it advantages, as wildlife frequented the waterholes - with the predators never far behind.
I remember a blog post by Walt Tingle a few years back, when they had 9 leopard sightings in their 30 days at the reserve. (hope I remember correctly). That was amazing I thought, as leopards are so elusive. Having leopard sightings everyday at famous reserves such as the Sabi Sands is not unusual - but, there is one big difference: there are a lot of lodges, a lot of vehicles, and everybody is in radio contact with each other. At Limpopo-Lipadi the policy is different. There are only 4 vehicles traversing the whole >20 000ha! You have to find the leopards (and everything else) yourself, and that is awesome, the thrill is in the unexpected and the chase!
We had 9 leopard sightings this week, and 8 of the sightings we found ourself! And no it was not the same leopard 9 times...we saw 5 different individuals!
We keep a daily count of mammals seen (excluding mice and bats), and usually we end around 23 species per day at Limpopo-Lipadi. This time saw us breaking our record! We saw 29 species in one day. Ironically, that was the only day we didn't see a leopard, and we also did't see lion or cheetah that day! Haha! So, 30 is the target!
The list was as follow: Brown Hyena, African wild dog, Grey duiker, Impala, Baboon, Kudu, Plains Zebra, Blue wildebeest, Giraffe, Warthog, Steenbok, Tree squirrel, Banded mongoose, Gemsbok/Oryx, Waterbuck, Hippo, Vervet monkey, Bushbuck, Slender mongoose,Spotted hyena, Spring hare, Scrub hare, Elephant, Porcupine, Bat-eared fox, Eland, Lesser-spotted Genet, Black-backed jackal, Lesser bushbaby!
Our last morning saw us driving up the Mogorosi River to Mogorosi waterhole, where we came across 3 lions, where they were feeding on an eland kill.
Due to the hot and dry conditions, there were only a few pools of water left in front of the lodge in the Limpopo River. All kinds of animals came for a drink, but the stars of the show were the birds. We had the following birds coming in for a drink, while we spent hours alongside the pool of water: Greater honeyguide, African Hawk Eagle, Little Sparrowhawk, Shikra, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Ashy Flycatcher, Grey Tit-flycatcher, Black-headed Oriole, Pearl-spotted Owlet etc etc.... Other good birds in the reserve included Kori Bustard and Retz's Helmetshrike!
We absolutely love this place...and can't wait for our next visit!
If you would like to become part of the Limpopo-Lipadi family, feel free to visit their website at www.limpopo-lipadi.org
Anton and Renate
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