15th to 21st May 2022
Polentswa campsite is only an hour’s drive north of Nossob. There are only 3 campsites – each taking a maximum of 3 couples. It is located in the Botswana side of the Park and each site has a separate shower, long drop but no water nor power. Take rubbish bags.
Campsite fire and braai.
One of the major benefits of Polentswa is that there are only 3 campsites and it is a good hour’s drive from Nossob. Hence little traffic till later in the morning.
On our previous visit we had playful lions passing through our camp. This time they were nearby too. And another large male staked his claim on the main road to Nossob.
On one occasion we took a drive to Unions End at the far north of the Park on the South African side. Much to our surprise at the Unions End waterhole we observed a Barn Swallow flying around us.
On the journey north we also came across a large herd of Red Hartebeest. Beasts we had not seen elsewhere in the Park.
Just north of Polentswa – about 12 kms – is a picnic site – Lijersdraai. It has a waterhole nearby..
The Burchell’s Sandgrouse were the predominant Sandgrouse that we observed at waterholes. They could be heard and seen swirling around above then take a dive for the waterhole only for one to decide to head back into the sky and they all followed. Once at the waterhole they did not stay long and any nervousness sent them all back into the air. Their antics were fun to watch – especially when the raptors were about.
Once landed it is a case of absorbing as much water under their breasts and wings to take back for their young. A sip or two for themselves and then they were off. Ever watchful for marauding Lanners and Goshawks.
We saw a good selection of raptors while staying in Polentswa – Eagles, Goshawks, Snake-Eagles and Falcons and a lone White-backed Vulture.
Then there other species of birds and animals that we saw during our time driving around the area.
Much of our time was spent at the Polenswa Porontsoab waterhole – some 2 kms from camp. There always seemed to be some sort of activity present every time we visited. Jackals catching Sandgrouses, Lanners trying to catch Sandgrouse, Jackals befriending raptors, raptors befriending other raptors, raptors bombing other raptors and the usual influx of thirsty animals.
Here are some photos of Black-backed Jackals and their interaction with each other. And they are very successful at catching Sandgrouse especially compared to the antics of the Lanner falcons. Having caught a bird one Jackal would come very close to the car and scoff down its meal.
The Lanner Falcons – sometimes six in a tree – would watch the jackals and wait to make their move. however, it seemed that by the time they reached the waterhole they had been spotted and their prey had already taken flight. For some strange reason the Sandgrouses were not so intimidated by the close presence of the Jackals – much to their demise.
And there was obvious friendship at times between animals and birds; and raptors and raptors.
And animosity between raptors for no apparent reason. As this Lanner Falcon attacks a Pale Chanting Goshawk.
Others that appeared for a drink.
After six nights at Polentswa it was time to leave and head for our last three nights in Twee Rivieren. Meanwhile we had recorded 51 bird species during our time in Polentswa. Full list shown in Part 4 Twee Rivieren.
We hope you have enjoyed the read so far.
Paul and Sally Bartho