A portrait of the predators at Wilderness Chitabe


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Photographic safari

Chitabe is well known for its wild dog population, which inspired the camp’s logo design. However, 2023 has been a bumper season for the cats in the area – from feisty caracals to a remarkable cheetah supermom. Dave Hamman, co-owner of Chitabe, elaborates on these photogenic wild residents and how they have come to call Chitabe their home.


Chitabe's male lions


The current dominant male lions in the Chitabe area are two brothers, also known as the Chitabe Boys. These brothers are very distinctive, as one of them, also known as Rraleoto (Setswana for the one with the broken leg), has a very distinctive limp. However, the injury does not seem to deter this particular lion at all, and between him and his brother, they have held the Chitabe Concession for the past six years. 


Lions of Botswana, an organisation which monitors lions in Botswana, is very familiar with the Chitabe Boys and Rraleoto, because of his distinctive limp and also due to the fact that they have been around for so long. Rraleoto and his brother are quickly becoming two of the most famous lions in Botswana and according to Lions of Botswana, Rraleoto is one of the largest. 



They arrived in Chitabe in 2017 and together took over the territory. The average life expectancy of a lion in the wild is about 10 years and these two brothers were probably about five years old when they arrived at Chitabe and have been here for six years, so they are already past their average life expectancy.


It appears that Chitabe is a highly sought-after territory from a predator point of view, and we have seen countless territorial battles between the Chitabe Boys and other male lions. Once there was even a battle with a coalition of four males and these two brothers still came out on top. 


Chitabe’s lion population is high and there are still a number of males that are the offspring of these brothers roaming within the Chitabe Concession. Traditionally these sub-adults would have been chased away.

Feisty felines

However, the two brothers seem to be very tolerant of their male progeny . They have even been seen feeding on the same carcass with their mature sons who, in normal circumstances, should have been kicked out of the territory. The core of their territory is literally within 100 metres of Wilderness Chitabe.
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Supermom of cheetahs


Supermom, as the name aptly describes, is a cheetah mother who has raised a number of successful litters. What’s more impressive is that she has raised all her cubs to adulthood, quite the feat in an area which is so densely populated with other predators.  


She is an exceptional mother and in the last two months she has been seen often around the airstrip, which is ideal territory for her with its open spaces and ample supply of water and prey. She clearly avoids areas where there are lots of lions, so that she can protect her young cubs. Supermom is a brilliant hunter and her success rate is excellent. 

Supermom of Chitabe

With six hungry mouths to feed, she is hunting literally every day in order to satisfy the growing cubs. Chitabe is a prime cheetah area and the last few years the cheetah sightings have been superb. What makes Chitabe special is that often guests are not just able to view cheetah, but actually see them hunting. Supermom is just one of approximately 15 different cheetahs in the area.
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Mosadinyana, meaning the small female, is a leopard who has been in the area for a number of years. She delivers fantastic sightings – such as last year, when she had both of her adult cubs with her. It gave us the opportunity to see three adult leopards together, which is quite unusual. Currently, she has the newest leopard cub in the area, while her two cubs from last year are incredibly relaxed and are seen regularly from drives. Their names are Mogotho and Mapula. 



Mapula is the leopard that featured in the video on Frame a Day, walking on the fire deck railing at Chitabe Lediba. She is frequently in Lediba camp and is often seen on the walkways.



Wild Dogs


The Chaos Pack is named for a pack of 16 male wild dogs that came into the area. They seemed to have no respect for the natural boundaries of other wild dog packs, and would often be aggressive to other wild dog packs that they saw in their home ranges. This pack appeared and no one seemed to know where they came from, hence the name Chaos Pack.

16 male dogs
Arrived 22 August 2022 in the Chitabe Concession
Three females left the resident Chitabe Pack
These females abducted pups from the Chitabe Pack
To join the Chaos Pack
This pack has displaced the original Chitabe Pack
There are three, possibly four pregnant females

See them for yourself

at Wilderness Chitabe

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