It has been another very
enjoyable month in our water paradise here at Jacana Camp. Occupancy
rates have been a little bit down on last year
due the war. Interesting is that there have only been three
Americans in camp all this month as we are a Vintage styled and
priced camp (i.e. cheaper than most other Okavango camps) and we have
profile of guest. [Even though we are a lot cheaper, we still include
all the activities and all the drinks in the price.] Europeans and
Brits have been our most been prominent guests.
Our long awaited, small guest curio shop is now open for business. Guests
are loving our new and much larger tents - as well as our new bathrooms.
All the hard work in summer has paid off.
On the game viewing side of things we have had some stellar sightings
and guests have been very happy.
Our resident elephant named Jack spent a good part of the last month
on the island. At one stage he was present right in camp for 10 days
straight alternatively thrilling and scaring guests. Occasionally we
will have other large bull elephants visit us and we have to be careful
to determine whether it is Jack or not. Jack is generally very placid
so we have to be a bit more careful if it is another elephant. Pel's
fishing owl sightings were on an absolute high nearing the end of the
month, with sightings every day (sometimes twice). We have also had regular
sitatungu antelope sightings, from both boat and mekoro. When guests
have been more interested in the bigger game, the Kwetsani flood plains
have been very productive with regard to lion and general game sightings.
The birding on surrounding islands has been fantastic as usual.
A highlight of many a guests stay has been our traditional dinners,
staff village tours and bush brunches. The staff village tours take guests
through the many traditions that are still carried out today by our staff
who mainly come from villages in the surrounding areas of the Delta.
We follow this up with a meal consisting of all the traditional foods,
eaten with hands while sitting on cushions on the ground around the camp
fire. This is then followed by ainging and dancing with the staff. The
bush brunches take place in the heart of a nearby small island only accessible
by water, under the shade of a large sycamore fig tree. We have plans
to also do dinners on this island next month.
The guests have all enjoyed themselves immensely this month, and we
have really enjoyed the fact that they have all embraced the water aspect
of the camp this month. There are many activities that take place at
Jacana Camp that are just not possible in many other places. The main
two are mekoro rides across these vast and open flooded plains, sometimes
to relax and other times to search for birds, sitatunga or Pel's fishing
owl as well as all the general game of the Okavango. Another very popular
activity is to mekoro to a large island in the area and take a walk amoungst
red lechwe, zebra (that are trapped on these islands for the season by
the rising floods), baboons, vervet monkeys and elephant to name a few.
We expect that the boating season will end rather earlier this year
due to the low floods. Currently there is plenty of water for all activities
but we expect that use of the motor boats will become more difficult
as time goes on. Fortunately mekoros are a good backup in the time between
boating and driving. Best regards,
Things are great here at Linyanti Tented Camp.
The staff are excellent and have all pulling their weight fantastically
over the last month. The atmosphere in camp is good. Meshak has been
a blessing, helping us with the daily running of the camp (we are
often guiding, doing pickups or doing freight runs). We have not
gotten round to do much more building or general maintenance whilst
Taps has been away, but the camp is looking good and is being kept
clean and tidy. We plan to do some more work with mopane poles when
we get back from leave (possibly building a luggage rack at the front).
The bush has thinned out considerably in the past weeks and we are
starting to see under the Knobbly Combretum shrubs. The leaves of
the Kalahari Sand Apple (Lonchocarpus nelsii) have started turning
yellow and much of the scrub mopane has started turning Brown. Autumn
colors are showing in the veld. Towards the end of April and the
first half of April the Purple Pod Terminalias were in full fruit
and were very beautiful to look at, competing with the rich golden
colors of the Kidney-shaped mopane seeds. Both hanging like Christmas
decorations in the woodlands. The grass is rapidly disappearing and
we can here the termites chewing away in the nights. The water in
the Linyanti River is getting lower and lower as the days go by,
and the elephants are starting to stream in. The Acrotomes and Vernonias
have finished flowering and there are fewer butterflies around. Towards
the end of May the Cat's Claws (Clerodendrum uncinatum) started showing
off their beautiful blood red blooms (the color warning one of what
your fingers will look like if you pick them - they have sharp thorns!
- hence the name). The leadwoods have finished throwing their seeds
all over the front area. The nights and early mornings are getting
chilly and the clouds seem to have disappeared towards the end of
May. The mopane pans are all rapidly drying up and the game is starting
to move in towards the river side.
The impala have been great to watch this month as they have been
rutting, and thus chasing each other all around, fighting and generally
making lots of noise. The rut is now ending and the males have lost
a lot of their former condition. Just out of interest - Chantelle
found, on gamedrive, a tiny baby impala of only a few weeks of age.
This is very unusual considering the time of the year. We have seen
it on numerous occasions afterwards and it seems healthy and doing
On the 18th of April one of the Chobe Boys (lions) was still seen
at the giraffe carcass, gnawing on the rotting remains. On the 9th
of May we witnessed one of the Chobe Boys mating with presumably
one of the Kings Pool lionesses). On the 18th of May we found the
2 boys sleeping near the turnaround point at Kings Pool Airstrip.
They paid no attention to us and carried on sleeping even though
there were planes landing nearby - typical lions - just lying around.
On the night of the 20th we found the two Chobe Boys walking along
the river road towards LTC. Just prior to seeing them we had bumped
into a breeding herd of buffalo in the riverine ahead of them. The
two boys looked thin and hungry and we were expecting that something
may happen when the lions found the buffalo, but as things happened
the lions carefully avoided the buffalos and carried on their way.
Whilst waiting for the lions to pitch up at the buffalos we sat for
a while with the lights off at the buffalos and stared at the African
night sky, while listening to the buffalos chewing and moo-ing all
around us - What an awesome evening.
Kings Pool Pride (4 adult females and 3 subadults) have been quite
active in the area during May and we have seen them on quite a few
occasions (usually between the BDF Camp and Kings Pool Airstrip).
They tend to frequent the area close to the river and riverine/floodplain
vegetation. On the night of the 8th of May we saw 1 Kings Pool Lioness
with two of the subadults. She had a bad wound on the tail and we
could even see the bone inside. On the 12th three females and 2 of
the subadults were seen in the thick riverine vegetation near the
BDF Camp. We did not notice the female with the wounded tail, maybe
she was lying somewhere in the thick vegetation with the other subadult.
On the 15th the four females and the three subadults were lying near
the river close to the airstrip. The wound on the tail of the female
was still clearly visible. The lions had obviously fed earlier as
some still had blood on their chins and chest. On the 28th the four
females and three subadults were seen sleeping in the floodplain
grass near Boscia Lagoon. They all looked well and quite content
(possibly a little hungry) and were seen lying close to each other,
rubbing against each other and licking each other.
The Linyanti Pride were not seen again during the period after they
left the giraffe carcass.
Unlike last month, this month we have seen
many buffalos. Almost every day we have come across either breeding
herds or "dagha
boys". We have also bumped into a few on the walks that
we have taken. Just adding that bit of excitement and reminding
around very carefully, listening often, reminding us that Africa
can be a dangerous place.
The elephants are definitely piling in and in the afternoons, in
particular, we are seeing numerous come down to the water to drink.
We often see elephants whilst on the canoes and have had a few cross
the river right in front us. It is amazing how big they look when
you are so close to the water level. On one canoe trip we saw over
70 elephants come down to drink. The elephants often swim across
the lagoon in front of camp, just showing the tops of their heads,
trunks and backs. They also go into the reeds on the other side of
the river and we are only given notice of their presence by the sounds
of breaking reeds and gurgling water (sounds like a scuba diver).
In one of the breeding herds seen this month we noticed a youngster
without a tail and with only half a trunk. We wondered what caused
this mishap and marvelled that this poor creature was still looking
in such good condition considering. On the 9th of May we saw a brreding
herd come down to the river to drink and play around. We noticed
that there was a very tiny calf with them. When they had all had
their fill of water the herd proceeded to cross the river to the
other side. We could see that the mother of the calf was quite concerned
and she kept on walking up and down the water testing it. Finally
she attempted to cross, with the baby following. Where the youngster
started struggling the mother and and another female assisted by
pusing the baby's backside with their trunks until they were all
over. It was great to see the motherly emotions and protection and
left us all in awe of the mother and the courage of the youngster.
The few guests that we have taken into Kings Pool Sunken Hide during
gamedrive have all been amazed at the close proximity that one gets
to the elephants. I am quite sure that these periods will remain
etched in their memories forever. On the 24th of April we came across
a group of elephants that were extremely agitated near the Chobe
Border. Then we noticed a male mount a female and proceed to attempt
to mate with her. She started to move away from him and then ran
away, with the male right at her heels. Suddenly the rest of the
herd charged us and we had to rush away and leave them behind.
The leopards have given us a great show all this month. On the night
of the 18th of April we heard the baboons barking loudly near camp.
I took the Land Rover out while the guests were all having supper
and discovered a female right near the managers tent. We tried to
gather all the guests on the other vehicle, but by the time they
managed to get themselves together and ready it had disappeared into
thick bush and we could not find it again. On the 27th of April we
were out early in the morning when we noticed that many impala were
staring in one direction. Upon looking round I surprised a young
female who ran away. Later on in the evening before coming to camp
we made a turn back to that place in the hopes of finding her again,
and got lucky. Whilst following her she led us to a site where there
were two other leopards. It was a mother and her two subadult cubs
at an impala kill. While we were watching them a hyena pitched up
and managed to steal the kill, which the leopards had left on the
ground. The next morning we came back to the spot, without really
any hopes of finding the leopards again when we came across the young
male, cornered up in a mopane tree with the hyena at the bottom.
The young female was also in the nearby vicinity. On the 30th we
again saw the LTC mother nearby camp. She was calling constantly
(presumably to find her youngsters). On the 5th of May, very close
to the spot where we had seen the young male in the tree with the
hyena below, we came across the LTC Female again. She had just killed
an impala and quickly moved away from the kill site as other impala
were all snorting at her. We returned later on in the afternoon to
find that she had dragged the kill under a fallen mopane. We had
great views of her, but the next morning when we returned to the
site we found only tracks of hyenas again.
On the 9th we managed to get some good views of the BDF leopard
Female near Ele Carcass Loop. On the 12th we saw her again near Mowana
Plains, stalking impala. On the 17th we again bumped into her near
the BDF on a night drive. We again saw her on the 22nd, stalking
impala. She was very relaxed and allowed both vehicles very good
views of her as she lay on a fallen tree trunk before getting up,
yawning and then getting on to stalk the nearby impala. This BDF
Female is definitely the most relaxed leopard in the area and has
allowed us some great views of her.
On the 28th of April I was following the tracks of a male lion when
I managed to spot a male leopard stalking impala. I quickly got the
guests and went in to view him. He was very skittish and only allowed
us a brief view before disappearing into thick vegetation. We think
that this was the Inkwe Hide Male. On the 24th of May we were going
to the airstrip to drop off guests when I noticed vultures dropping
down and landing in a nearby dead tree. I quickly got out of the
car and went to investigate. There I managed to surprise the Inkwe
Hide male, who was staring at a hyena who had just taken his impala
kill. He ran into thick bush and we couldnt find him again. After
dropping off the one set of guests we quickly came back to the area
and found him picking at the bones the hyena had left over. I then
took the second set of guests back to the airstrip for their transfer.
On the 28th of May Kenneth, from Kings Pool spotted an impala kill
in a large leadwood tree. When we arrived the leopard was not to
be seen, but later on in the evening the Inkwe Hide Male was observed
crunching on the head of the unfortunate impala.
On the 5th of May we bumped into 1 unknown male leopard near the
Chobe border. He was quite unconcerned with us and seemed to be waiting
for animals to come and drink at a nearby pan.
The Wild dogs have also been good to us this month. There are 2
distinct packs which move through the area. One pack consists of
between 14 and 16 dogs, while the other consists of 6 or 7. The pack
with 14-16 we assume is the same pack that frequents the Duma Tau
area. The other we have named the Linyanti Pack.
On the 21st of April we found the Duma Tau pack lying in the shade
nearby the airstrip, as we were picking up new guests. We then saw
them again on the 9th of May running through Kings Pool and also
on the 14th (halfway between Kings Pool and LTC). We noticed that
one of the younger dogs was limping. On of the adult males looks
extremely old with grey fur around his muzzle and tattered ears.
On the 16th, while we were having tea at the sunken Hide this group
of dogs came and joined us. They were quite unconcerned that we were
all standing around, to the delight of the guests and photographer
On the 26th of April we saw the Linyanti pack near Waterbuck Pan.
They were resting in the shade. The Alpha Male is very dark in color
and one of the females seems to have a slight case of mange on the
rear end. We then saw them again on the 2nd of May near the BDF Camp,
sleeping with full bellies. On the 6th they were seen hunting at
Ele Carcass Loop. On the 9thg they were again seen hunting in the
same vicinity. We were having sundowners when they ran past. They
took no notice of us and proceeded to disturb a female impala and
gave chase. They missed it, but the guests were all stoked by the
sighting. On the 24th whist transferring guests to the airstrip we
found this pack sleeping in the mopane near camp. The next morning
we bumped into them again, whilst on a walk in the BDF area. They
lay down nearby us and even waited so that we could call in some
of the Kings Pool guides who were on gamedrive.
On the 1st of May we were alerted of a single male cheetah resting
in the shade of a Blue Bush near Kings Pool Airstrip. On the 28th
Chantelle was taking new guests back to camp after picking them up
and found a dead impala just in the riverine nearby Lechwe Flats.
When she got out of the car to investigate a male cheetah sat up
and stared at her. She returned to the car and the guests had great
views of it feeding on the impala and dragging the prey into the
shade nearby. The cheetah was quite alert and was constantly looking
around for other predators.
We have had 3 sightings of Sitatunga this month. Twice from the
canoes and once from a vehicle. On the 22nd of May we were out on
the canoes when I saw the ear of a female sitatunga pearing out from
the papyrus beds. We approached carefully and she then came out into
the open giving us great views and even allowing some of the guests
to get photos of her. She was extremely relaxed and then slowly made
her way into the papyrus beds. We were all very excited at the views
she had given us.
On the 28th of May Chantelle was on her way to go and pick up guests
at the airstrip when she managed to see Roan Antelope halfway between
KPL and LTC. It was very skittish and ran away as soon as it saw
No Sable were seen this month.
The general game is great and we are seeing impala, kudu, baboons
and giraffe every drive. There are also a fair number of zebras around
and a group of +- 20 wildebeest have also arrived. One of these Wildebeest
has a radio telemetry collar around its neck. On the 22nd we had
great views of a couple of giraffes mating near camp. On the 24th
of April, on a night drive, we came across an African Wild Cat who
was spitting and snarling at something in the grass. After the cat
left we went in to investigate and found a python of approximately
1 and a half meters.
The migrant birds have now left us and we saw our last Paradise
flycatcher at the end of April. Gymnogene sightings have been great.
On the 5th of May we were all having tea at the main area when we
heard a thud in the grass nearby. There, in the grass we saw a large
chameleon fighting with a male boomslang. They had obviously fallen
out of the leadwood by the main area. The fight continued for almost
an hour, coming right up to the fire-place. We then left them and
went on drive. I was told by Meshak that the fight continued almost
As I say this month has been great and we have seen a lot. We are
almost sad to be going on leave now.
Peter Warrick was here at the beginning of the month and we enjoyed
a long walk from LTC to KPL. It took us 5 hours and we bumped into
12 different groups of elephant and 2 groups of buffalo en route.
Guest comments :
Doug Mercatoris - " Wonderful
people and place"
Terry Landers and Barry Bassett - " Fabulous
food. Incredible tracking. Wonderful elephants. Overall excellent
Isa Panzetta & Alessandro Lambrusciti - " See
you soon paradise - Thanks every body"
Simon and Angie Thomas - " Fantastic time
- my first experience of a safari and everything else has a lot
to live up to!! Great
food, lovely camp. Many thanks to Brian, Chantelle and all the
Ian McCallum - "Well done, you guys"
Guides In Camp: Christie, Dios, Gert & Justin
This Report will cover both March and April. With regards to
all aspects concerned, these have both been two fantastic months
in the Namib Desert.
March has been a month for clear sunny
days and extreme temperatures. Throughout the month, temperatures
have ranged upwards from
30*c. We also experienced a brief shower of rain early in the
This was nowhere near enough but was highly appreciated.
We thought this was the end of our rainy season and caused a
Then April came, bringing with it a belated rainy "season".
Just before the rain happened, hundreds of white butterflies
filled the air pollinating the surrounding shrubs. The blue
skies were then replace with dark, drape like, clouds. The
with rain causing a fruity / herbaceous scent lingering in
the air. This continued for 4-5 days dropping the temperatures
an average of 20*C. The rain did not affect any activities
and helped in creating the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
The day our guests arrive we introduce
them to the area by guiding them through the property until a
viewpoint is reached.
During this time the guides explain the adapted fauna and
flora of the desert. The guests then enjoy a drink of their choice,
watching the sunset over the dunes. On there return they
the chance to see some of the nocturnal carnivores. The sightings
we have had on several occasions are mainly Cape Fox, Bat-eared
Fox, Black-backed Jackal and less common the Spotted Hyena
and Aardwolf. The Spotted Eagle Owl is also sighted frequently.
The next day is an early start. We are now waking the guests
a 04h00 am to see the spectacular dunes. This is a full days
activity which includes walking, climbing of dunes - Big Daddy
is still a challenge for the fit, Great photographic opportunities
and a lovely picnic brunch is enjoyed in the shade of an Acacia
tree. After the brunch the guests have the choice to include
Sossusvlei is known to be one of the best areas for stargazing.
We are making very good use of our Telescope and are exploring
the heavens with our guest. This is always a great way for our
guests to spend their last night in the camp.
If our guests are staying for 3 nights we include Naukluft Mountains
hiking trail which is fantastic for bird watching. Kudu and Hartmanns
Mountain Zebra are also frequently seen while on the trails.
Tom Mangelson, who is a world famous photographer, visited
the dunes every day with Dios. They had the opportunity
a springbok giving birth to her foal. Another sighting,
which needs to be mention, is that some of our guest were
a balloon flight with Eric and saw a Cheetah in the riverbed.
Everyday is a highlight but these were special sightings.
In March we experienced a 20% a drop
in our occupancy rate if compared to last year. April has been
on par with last years
occupancy. A great thanks to the French market that has sent
us a lot of business this month. All in all we have had 100%
guest satisfaction with regards to Camp standards and Daily
activities. One recommendation that I could make is to sell SWC
as a three-night
destination rather than two. This is feedback from our guests.
We are making a few improvements
to our honeymoon suite to make the room more comfortable and
for honeymooners to feel more special.
In addition, we will be re-painting all the rooms to give
a new facelift.