As 2022 comes to a close, we welcome not only the new year ahead but the beginning of the rainy season here in Botswana. As the flood waters of the dry season recede, we now see an expansive landscape of open plains across the Delta. With the new rainfall, however, comes a sprinkling of life that invites the return of new buds and shoots across the plains. 

With plenty of greens to graze from, the antelope and herd species here on the Okavango have welcomed numerous young calves; and as the herds move freely across the reserve, their buoyant attitudes are infectious. 

Herd animals amidst grasslands

Lechwe calf and mother

The big cats of Xigera are also continuing to thrive as we enter the new year. Across December’s safari tours, we counted a total of 29 lions in the area and eight leopards – one of whom can be seen basking in the morning sun below.

leopard in a tree

leopard in a tree

Our night safaris have also provided some spellbinding moments. As the glow of the Botswanan sun withdraws, the plains conjure a transcendental quiet that commands your attention. The sound of crickets and creatures in the undergrowth is enchanting if not mystical, and the glow of a predator’s eyes amidst the plains, unforgettable. One tour was granted such a moment as the glow of our vehicle’s lights illuminated the silhouette of a lioness, creating a ribbon of gold against the dusk backdrop.

lion in the dark

The enduring residency of our lions and leopards at Xigera makes these sightings even more special, as we continue to pass on the wealth of stories gathered over the years. Alongside their presence were an array of wild dog, serval, cheetah, and hyena sightings, each reminding us of the rich variety of wildlife that makes this magical corner of Botswana their home, and our privilege in seeing them each month.