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AFRICAN SAFARI CAMP UPDATES
January 2004

This Month:
• News on the 2004 Okavango Delta flood levels so far
• Summertime in Botswana's Linyanti region from Savuti Camp - WOW, this place rocks for animals!
• Snow is again mounting atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania


Botswana Camps
The 2004 Okavango Flood
Have a read of this email from Map Ives, Wilderness Safaris' resident ecologist / environmental watchdog / specialist guide. It looks like they are in for a HUGE flood this year in the Okavango which is making everyone very excited... except the logistical folks and Land Rover repairmen!

Here is Map's report from early January...


I have been closely monitoring the Okavango flood this year, as I always do, and we have some dramatic developements.

The flood figures of today, 10 February 2004 are 690 cusecs as measured at Mohembo on the Okavango River just as it enters Botswana. This is a figure last reached in 1984 on the 20 February 1994. In other words, the amount of water in the system is higher than on the same date in that benchmark year. This is incredibly exciting, and in fact Professor Spike McCarthy wants to rush up here to see it. The ecological implications are great, but I will not go into detail as you know most of the benefits anyway.

Suffice to say, you may want to consider letting your readers know that one of the world's great freshwater habitats is going to be resplendant this year. It will entail some logistical headaches, but I have been meeting with the concession managers and they realise that we must just plan ahead and equip ourselves for this. In fact, this will just mean some grand opportunities for our guests.

I am expecting a total flood input to peak above 1000 cusecs sometime in April or May, as we are recieving reports and data from Namwater that Rundu is at it's highest level for two decades and rising. Further is the report from the chief hydrologist Dept. of Water Affairs, Botswana from his colleague in Angola that "in excess of 1000 mm (1 meter) of rain fell at Huambo (catchment Cubango river) during the month of January, 2004. This water has not yet been measured at Rundu.

The input from the Cuito River is not measured, but usually only manifests itself on the Mohembo flood figure during April of any year. However, it appears that rainfall on the Bihe section of the highlands was very similar to that of Huambo and so the Cuito, Kwando and upper Zambezi rivers will rise rapidly over the next few weeks.

I will keep you informed...

End of January update: The waters within the Okavango this year are going to be VERY high indeed! The following graph shows the height of the Okavango River in the "pan-handle" of the Okavango River, just as the river enters Botswana from Namibia - and before it enters the Delta proper. The waters are already higher than the 1984 floods (the biggest in recent years) at the same time of year!

To see a chart of this year's flood compared to years in the past, go to 2004 Flood Chart.

Note that this should mean that mokoros are probably going to be operational at Duba Plains (and all the water activity camps) for most of the year.

Top


Summertime at Savuti Camp                Jump to Savuti Camp

It is mid-summer now and there is rain every two to three days. We have had a total of 81.5 mm at camp this month, although the rain is pretty scattered and we can often see it falling in other areas while we remain dry, or vice versa. The nightly temperatures average 16 degrees Celsius - quite cool and comfortable. The mornings are great. By midday the temperatures have soared to approximately 34 degrees Celsius and often at about 16h00 the clouds have gathered, darkening the skies. The winds start blowing and the temperatures drop a bit before the drops fall from the skies. The rain is often accompanied by thunder and great lightning shows.

The rain falls in isolated, scattered showers and often one can see the rain approaching down the channel. At first it appears slightly misty as the rain starts falling in the distant trees, then as you watch you can see a wall of rain approaching up the channel towards you. If you are lucky you can manage to get the ponchos on before you are wet. Sometimes the wind accompanies the rain driving the droplets with quite a force so that when you are driving it smarts quite a bit, and then suddenly it will stop and the rain will lift and blue patches appear in the sky and rays of light strike strategically placed dead trees and groups of animals and everything is fresh again.

In the evenings the sunsets are often glorious with the golden light brightening up small groups of clouds while the rest of the clouds glow with a pink shade against the dark-purple of the storm clouds. Some days we even have monkey’s weddings, where the sun is still shining while the rain falls on you.

There are many pools of water lying around and there are a lot of mud puddles in the channel and woodlands. As you drive mud splatters on the car and we are having to wash the cars 2-3 times a day now. The morning dew is heavy and blankets the grass with water droplets. We have also had some extremely beautiful misty mornings where the dead trees jut out from the grass and are silhouetted in various shades of purples and greys against the white haze. Mornings of the 13th, 16th and 22nd were marked by mist rolling down the channel in the early hours; only to dissipate as the rising sun burns it away. The morning of the 22nd was particularly memorable with the shadows of a breeding herd of elephants silently crossing the channel in the sunlit mist, with a scattering of zebras further dotting the grassland, all in a scene with dead trees and open plains.

With the rains over the month the Savuti Channel has changed drastically. At the beginning of the month the channel was covered in a short grass layer, like a newly mowed lawn, with small patches of sand sticking through. Wild Cucumber and Sand Jasmine covered much of the Savuti Channel. By the end of the month the grass has pushed through and shot up. In the last week most of the grass to the east of camp has come into flower. The dominant grass in the channel is Bushveld Signal Grass (Urochloa mossambicus), and with all the flower stalks standing upright the channel is now reminiscent of a large wheat field. It is particularly impressive to see all the stalks blowing in the wind, making it look like a huge moving carpet of millipede legs. One could easily imagine a lion stalking low in the tall grass, completely hidden from view. This grass has provided cover for smaller quails and crakes, and we are often seeing Harlequin Quails, Kurrichane Buttonquails and on a few occasions African Crake, usually flying away from us as we approach in the car. Sometimes we are lucky enough to see them standing in the open road with the thick grass to their sides. The bright rufous colouring of the male Harlequin Quail is very striking.

On the edges of the channel and in the woodlands the bushes have formed a dense wall. Visibility is seriously reduced now. In the scrub mopane areas one can barely see a meter or two into the bush. What a change from the winter months when everything is so stark and dry. The Cathedral Mopane areas are stunning now, with pools of water all around in a park-land of short green grass. In these areas one can often see numerous impala, zebra and warthogs. The bird-life here is incredible, with numerous eagles in the trees; ducks, geese and sandpipers at the pools; and hornbills, Arnots Chats & Woodlands Kingfishers in the forests.

In the sandy areas the Kalahari Apple Leaf and Knobbly Combretum are in full leaf and obscure one’s vision once again. There are many flowers in the sandy areas. Tall bright pink Lightning Bolt Flowers (Sesame flowers) are scattered amongst low-lying pale-pink Devils Claws (Harpagophytum procumbens), pinkish-white Boot Protectors (Dicerocaryum eriocarpum) deeper pink Indigopheras, yellow Crotalarias, purple Ruellias, White Acrotomes and orange Sidas. In the woodlands the Flame lily (Gloriosa Superba) is now starting to flower. This plant is a creeper and often makes it’s way into nearby bushes, where the bright red-and-yellow flame-like flowers hang like pixie lanterns in the greenery. It is amazing to think that this stunning plant could hold poisonous alkaloids. This is the national flower of Zimbabwe. In the moist vleis in the mopane-veld beautiful large, white, showy Crinums are poking through the sedges and water grasses. In the sandy and disturbed areas fields of yellow Devils Thorns (Tribulus terrestris) abound. It is beautiful to see an impala, elephant or giraffe standing in a field of buttercup-like devils-thorn flowers. These plants are beautiful at the moment, but their name reminds us that they will soon be sprouting small sharp thorns on their seeds, making areas difficult for the animals to walk in.

With all the water lying around and with the bushes all in leaf there are numerous insects now. During the day we see many, many butterflies, moths, dragonflies, beetles, millipedes and bugs. The Brown-veined whites are all moving north-east, butter-fluttering across the channel into the woodlands. At night we hear the frogs calling, reminding us that they are trying to lower the numbers of nocturnal bugs, and on the night drives we see many nightjars (particularly Mozambique Nightjars) hawking the nocturnal goggas.

If last month was marked by the emergence of millions of termites and the accompanying eagles, this month was particularly impressive because of the presence of grasshoppers in the channel. With the taller, thicker grass many small green grasshoppers have appeared. Along with the grasshoppers many birds, that feed upon them, have appeared as well. As one drives along the channel the land-rover disturbs these grasshoppers, which are caught by the carmine bee-eaters as they follow the vehicle through the open areas. It is quite amazing to see up to twenty of these beautiful pink and red birds swooping around the vehicle, hawking the grasshoppers as they are disturbed. We were astounded to watch the birds catch the insects only a meter or so from us, sitting in the vehicle. When they catch them they need to then swallow them and it is great to see them throw the now-dead grasshopper out of their beaks, while still in flight, and catch it so that it lands directly into their mouths. The view of all these beautiful birds, with their streamlined shapes, pointed wings and long central tail feathers have blown away many of the guests. Trying to capture the birds on film as they swoop around the car has proven to be very difficult and I think many a guest will have bright pink blurs in front of a vivid green background in many of their photographs. Trying to stop the vehicle to attempt to get pictures of the carmines tends to result in them perching on the dead tree stumps and branches a distance away, only to wait until we start moving once more and disturbing the grasshoppers again.

The Carmine Bee-eaters not only follow the vehicles, but also any large animal that could disturb the grasshoppers. They have also taken to following the Kori Bustards around and even go for short rides on their backs as they march around the open grasslands. It is quite an incredible sight to see such a large bird (the heaviest flying bird) with a beautiful pink passenger on it’s back. As there is only space for one bee-eater at a time it is not uncommon to see a few of them hovering above the Kori Bustard waiting for their time to get a bit of rest on his back. It appears that the Kori Bustard does not mind carrying the bee-eaters around, or perhaps there is not much he can do about it?

With the increase in numbers of grasshoppers we have also seen a multitude of storks and cattle egrets in the channel. On the 6th we were headed in a westerly direction up the channel when we turned the corner leading to Letsumo Sign and came across the most amazing sight! The channel in front of us was white with birds. They rose in waves, those at the back of the group moving to the front to spearhead their attack on the grasshoppers. It was as if we were watching the shore with white wave crest following wave crest, breaking on the beach. We estimated that there must be at least a thousand cattle egrets, over one hundred white storks, about thirty Abdims Storks, ten Wooly Necked Storks and one female ostrich feeding on the grasshoppers in that area of the channel. Imagine how many grasshoppers it would take to feed all these birds. Throughout the rest of the month we have seen groups of White Storks and Cattle Egrets moving up and down the channel gobbling up the grasshoppers.

With the growth of the grass in the channel the zebra have returned and are seen quite often. Many of the wildebeest babies have survived that dangerous period where they are easy prey and they are now starting to change colour from the lovely fawn to a darker brown-grey. The impala babies are also growing up quickly and it is quite amazing to think that they are only 10 weeks old. They are also now not easy prey any more, and have quickly learned how to use their legs to perform wonderful leaps and quick sprints. There are many giraffes in the channel now and we have seen them, on occasion, spreading their legs and bending low down to get to the Wild Cucumbers. The elephants are also returning to the channel to feed on the luxurious grass and Wild Cucumbers. We have witnessed them pulling up the cucumber creepers and shaking them all around to remove the sand adhering to the leaves before stuffing them into their mouths, hanging out like spaghetti trailing from their lips. Elephants are now seen on most drives. On the 23rd we were driving in the woodlands along the Transit Rd when we came across a herd of elephants that easily numbered 70 individuals – reminiscent of the winter months.

The numbers of small carnivore sightings has dropped considerably from last month. The grass is now tall and hides them well. Additionally, most of the pups of the Black-Backed Jackals, Bat-eared Foxes and Aardwolves have reached an age where they are not confined to their dens, but are following the adults or wandering about on their own, and are therefore more difficult to find. Last month we saw over 60 sightings of Black-backed Jackals, as opposed to only twenty or so sightings this month. Most of the pups seem to have survived and it is a pleasure when we see the family of Bat-eared Foxes, which denned south-east of camp, with the 2 Adults and five pups all running around and digging for insects. We have only seen two sightings of Aardwolf this month. On the night of the 16th one adult was seen to the northern side of Dish Pan Clearing. On the night of the 23rd, as we approaching camp, we came across two adult Aardwolves in the road. One was quite close to us and gave us excellent views of it. As we watched, it then raised its crest on it’s back and bushed out it’s tail. Quite impressive! We left them there close to the edge of the road and headed off to supper.

On the night of the 5th we were lucky enough to come across a large adult porcupine standing in the road. It raised it’s black-and-white quills and rattled them at us warning us not to come closer. We watched as it slowly headed into the darkness and then headed back to camp

The lions are calling from far to the south, in the dense woodland. We have had fewer sightings of lion this month. They have been of the Savuti Pride. In the middle of the month the 3 adult females, 2 sub-adult males and 1 juvenile male were in the area of the channel at Mopane Rd Junction. They were watching the impala and zebra in the area. They were quite lazy and a few were sleeping in the grass. We saw them again in the afternoon. In the late evening we watched as they headed west up the channel. We wondered if they were going to get lucky down there, as we had seen numerous zebra and impala up that way. Later in the month they were to the east of Letsumo Sign. We had just seen two spotted hyenas cleaning the bones of an adult male impala, with many vultures in the trees. After checking out the area, we had found tracks of wild dogs and because they were headed in a different direction to us, and because they move so rapidly once they set off, I decided to leave them and head back towards camp. Just as we went around the next corner we bumped into the lions. The lioness with the cleft-nose and another lioness from the Savuti Pride were with the juvenile male. All three of them were quite full. They lay in the open for a short while, rubbing heads with each other and yawning, before they went and climbed under a feverberry croton in the shade. The grass in front of the feverberry was very tall and they were then invisible to us. We left them and headed back towards camp.

We have had at least 15 sightings of spotted hyena this month, mainly in the early mornings, and hear them calling on most evenings. They wander about in the camp sniffing everything, investigating everything. Their haunting whooping call is so typically African and one can understand why there are so many superstitions about this creature. With their strange shape and sounds that they make, and with their habits of being associated with death they are often seen in a darker light. On the morning of the 5th we came across 5 adult hyenas following a pack of wild dogs in the vicinity of the camp. They were obviously looking to scavenge from the dogs should they make a kill, and one of the hyenas later got lucky when the dogs killed an adult female impala in front of camp. Once the dogs had finished off just about everything one female hyena managed to get the remaining scraps, while the dogs were playing with each other nearby the pan.

The leopards have been wonderful this month. We have had five particularly great sightings. On the night of the 5th Chantelle found a sub-adult male walking in the channel to the south-east of camp. He spotted some zebra nearby and started stalking towards them. As he approached them he obviously saw that they were a bit large and then lay in the grass and rolled around before deciding to get up and head towards the woodlands to the south. On the morning of the 7th I found tracks of a sub-adult male leopard on Giraffe Rd. I followed the tracks all along the road until it entered the channel. Here I lost the tracks as the grass was very thick. Upon returning to the vehicle I sat down and started scoping the opposite side of the channel with my binoculars and there he was! He was lying on the termite heap at the Boscia Tree. We approached and he was quite relaxed. We watched him as he lay and posed for the cameras. He sat up and looked curiously around and then lay down again, watching us. Suddenly he noticed something to the west and his eyes grew large. We turned and looked towards the direction he was facing and there, coming round the corner from Dish Pan Clearing, was a male cheetah (Charlie - one of the Savuti Boys). Charlie was headed straight towards the termite heap that the leopard was lying on. The leopard lay flat against the termite heap and it was a while before Charlie realised that there was something there. When he did realise the leopard was there he got a very serious expression on his face and continued towards the termite heap. The leopard then realised that the cheetah was still heading towards him and decided rather to charge towards the cheetah. He leapt off the heap and ran at the cheetah. At the last moment the leopard must have decided against fighting with the cheetah and decided instead to lie nearby and roll on his back, as if to say that he was just joking and hadn’t really intended to charge Charlie. Charlie just stared at the leopard with an indignant look on his face and carried on towards the termite heap where he continued to stare out for his Brothers. The leopard then slowly headed of in a northerly direction into the woodland, spraying the bushes

On the afternoon of the 10th we were heading east past Munchwe open area when we noticed two cats crossing the channel in front of us. When we approached we saw that it was an adult female leopard and her sub-adult male youngster. They were walking right next to each other in the open area, heading towards the northern bank. It was quite incredible to see two leopards walking together in a totally open area. We followed them as they headed into the woodland. They were quite relaxed with us. The female was constantly sniffing at objects that she came across. We left them before they crossed Ostrich Pan Rd. What a great afternoon.

On the night of the 15th I was driving to the south-east of camp when I bumped into a sub-adult male leopard in the road. We watched him for a short while when a female (possibly also a sub-adult) came bounding into the channel near the male. He immediately chased her and she headed to the top of a large tree on the side of the channel. He then walked around the base of the tree with her at the top, while he sniffed around and lifted his lips in the grimace of phlegmen, as he tested he scent for pheromones. She slowly moved from one tree to another, using the large branches, jumping from one to the other. We left them with the male at the bottom and the female at the top of the trees.

On the morning of the 22nd Chantelle was watching the three Savuti cheetah males when they noticed something to the south of the clearing. They were quite interested and were staring at the bushes. Chantelle, therefore, picked up her binoculars to take a look. On a termite heap far in the distance she spotted a sub-adult male leopard. Upon going to it she found it was quite relaxed and allowed them great viewing before heading off into the woodlands.

We have also had some awesome wild dog viewing this month. On the morning of the 4rth we came across the Duma Tau Pack (usually between 19 and twenty-one dogs = 14 adults & 7 Pups). They were running across the channel to the west of Rock Pan. We followed them into the woodlands near Forest Rd, where they killed and fed upon a baby impala. We left them playing with the scraps and chasing each other round the puddles.

On the morning of the 5th the dogs (Duma Tau Pack) were all around camp. We also saw 5 hyenas following them. The dogs were difficult to follow as they were chasing impala all around. As we approached the camp from the southern side we saw a female impala sprinting towards the camp. She was followed by two dogs. They were running really fast and as we came around the corner in front of camp they had just killed the female. Taps and Meshack were just waking up when the dogs came streaming past their tent. The kill was made just in front of the main area to the side of the pan. The whole pack (we counted 19) then came and joined in feeding from the carcass, pulling at the pieces to get them off the bones. Within a few minutes the impala was gone. We watched as they then headed to the pan for a drink and to play. One of the hyenas came and took the remains that were left at the kill site.

In the afternoon we followed the dog’s tracks in an easterly direction and at sundown as we were approaching Angus Pan we finally came across two of them as they sprinted out of the woodlands into the channel. They returned to the woodlands and we decided not to follow as the bush was thick and it was getting dark. After sundowners, during which we could hear the dogs calling in the woodlands behind us, we started heading back towards camp. On the way we bumped into two more dogs running up the channel towards the others.

On the morning of the 8th we were heading past Dish Pan in a westerly direction when, as we were going around the corner, a dog came running out of the woodlands towards us. His face was covered in blood. As he passed us the rest of the pack came racing into the woodlands from the other side of the channel. The dog with the blood all over his face then regurgitated meat for the pups, who devoured it eagerly. When they had finished the meat the adult dog then raced around causing a bit of a frenzy amongst the other dogs. They were all chittering away when the original dog started running back towards the direction he had come from. All the rest of the dogs followed on after him. We also followed and finally came to where the dog had killed an adult male impala. The dogs once again went into a frenzy and all piled into the carcass. It was stripped within minutes as they pulled and ripped at it. When it was only the head left over the adults all lay down and let the pups play with it. They soon lost interest as they were already full, and let it lie. The adults then came again to the head and started pulling the skin off when one of the pups came up to them begging again. The adults immediately left the head to the pups again, who continued to play with it. It was great to see all the social interaction between the dogs and it was amazing to see how quickly they finished off that adult male impala.

On the 9th we came across the dogs on the morning drive. They were in the floodplains near Kubu Lagoon. They were trotting in the grass when they all came up to a point where there was a strange scent. They all sniffed at the spot and then rolled in the grass at that point. The pups were all playing around, jumping up against each other. The group then headed towards the woodlands near the Transit Rd, where we left them.

On the 12th we had a guest on the vehicle who particularly wanted to see dogs. We had not seen any signs of them for the last two days, when Copper from Kings Pool called on the radio saying that the Duma Tau Pack had been sighted at Strangler Fig Rd near Kings Pool Airstrip. We decided to go and take a look at them and headed all the way through the mopane forests. Finally we got there and the dogs were exactly where Copper had said. We watched them for a while before they headed into the woodlands and we headed back to camp, with the guests grinning from ear to ear.

On the morning of the 15th we were headed towards Zibidianja Lagoon when we came across 5 adult dogs with blood all over their faces. They had obviously just finished feeding and we could see the kites swooping down between the bushes to pick up the remaining scraps. We followed the dogs to the transit Rd where they chased impala around and then settled at some pans where they had something to drink. At the same pans there were a few giraffes also drinking (with their legs spread wide open). The dogs paid scant attention to the giraffe who were only mildly interested in the dogs themselves.

On the afternoon of the 16th we came across the Duma Tau pack near Phuduhudu Loop. They started running into the woodlands and we had a difficult time following them.

On the 17th we were travelling back towards the camp when we came across the Duma Tau Pack in the channel. They were feeding on the remains of a baby impala that they had killed. Thuto was heading back to camp as his guests had an early departure and therefore could not come and see the dogs. His guests were unhappy that they could not go and see them, but understood that they needed to catch a flight. We, in the meantime, were following the dogs, who were teasing some Zebra to the south west of camp. The dogs left the zebras and headed towards the camp and I called the camp so that the guests could go to the front and see them running past. We were following the dogs when they picked up sight of impala ahead. The guests in the camp were down at the front when the dogs chased the female impala straight into the camp and killed it right in front of all there, very close to the curio shop. Because everyone was staring at the dogs they did not seem comfortable to start feeding and when I arrived back in camp I took Thuto with me and carried the carcass to the front of the camp, in the channel. The dogs were all looking at us curiously as we carried the still-warm impala past the swimming pool. After we dumped the carcass in the grass the dogs all came in and the feeding frenzy started. A few minutes later the carcass was finished and the bateleurs, tawny eagles and hooded vultures came to pick the bones clean. That afternoon the dogs rested nearby the pan in front of camp and in the afternoon the gamedrive followed them as they headed in an easterly direction. Just around the corner from the camp the dogs bumped into one of the Savuti male cheetahs. They harassed him for a short while before they left him and carried on in an easterly direction.

On the morning of the twentieth Taps was collecting freight at the airstrip when 3 male dogs ran past him and headed towards camp. They did not make it to camp though and later on in the day we found their tracks heading westward down Python Pan Rd, with numerous vultures and eagles sitting in the trees. Maybe they had managed to kill something there.

The Savuti Boys have proved to be wonders this month. We have seen these 3 adult male cheetahs (Alpha, Bravo & Charlie) almost every day, until we closed. In fact it would be easier to count which days we did not see a cheetah (1st, 2nd, 9th, 15thand the 20th). On the 4rth, in the afternoon, the 3 males were found at Ostrich Pan in an open area in the mopane woodlands. They were looking fit. Bravo was still limping with his injured foot, but they all headed towards the channel, obviously looking for impala. During the late morning of the 5th I was looking for the Savuti Boys, who had been spotted by Chantelle earlier on to the east of Munchwe Open Area, when I found them staring to the other side of the channel. There we saw a sub-adult male cheetah (Spot) in the grassland. The Boys then started stalking the sub-adult male, who ran into the woodland. The adults chased him and when we approached, the Spot was cowering and begging for mercy from the adult males. During the afternoon the 3 adult males were again seen east of Munchwe, this time Spot was nowhere to be seen.

On the morning of the 6th we came across the 3 boys to the south-east of camp. Later on in the morning we came across Charlie, this time on his own, calling for his brothers. He was further east from where we had seen him earlier; more towards Ostrich Pan Rd. Much earlier in the morning we had also come across a different adult male cheetah (not one of the Savuti Males) with a sub-adult female at Ostrich Pan itself. The female was very skittish and immediately headed towards the thicker bush.

On the 7th, first thing in the morning, as the sun was rising, we came across Bravo to the south-east of camp. He was alone and calling for his brothers with a high-pitched yap. Later on in the morning we came across Charlie who, whilst we were there, had the encounter with a sub-adult male leopard at the Boscia Tree, as described previously. At tea-time, whilst everyone was gathered at the front area, a single male cheetah came out from near tent 7, startling the impala. The cheetah, then headed back into the woodland near Python Pan Rd. During the afternoon gamedrive, later in the day we came across all three Savuti Brothers, together, west of Rock Pan (7 – 8 kilometres west of camp).

On the 8th, in the middle of the day, the boys were spotted on a termite heap just north of camp. Later on in the afternoon it was raining and we were travelling in the area south of Dish Pan when we came across 1sub-adult male (Spot) and a sub-adult female feeding on a baby impala. The female was particularly skittish and headed towards the woodland as soon as we arrived. Spot remained feeding on the impala and after a short while he called out to the female who came out to feed as well.

On the 10th one adult male was seen near Ostrich Pan. He was calling constantly. On the morning of the 11th The 3 brothers were seen, looking quite hungry, at Munchwe clearing. In the afternoon they were seen again to the south-east of camp, this time with full bellies.

Early in the morning of the 12th we came across Charlie to the South-east of camp. He was alone and calling the others. After drinking he climbed up a fallen Apple-leaf tree and continued to call, searching the horizons. In the early morning light it was an awesome sight. In the late afternoon of the 12th we came across a sub-adult male and a sub-adult female lying in an open area on Phuduhudu Loop (perhaps the same two that we saw on the 8th?). They both had full bellies. On the way home that night we came across 1 adult male cheetah walking in a westerly direction from Dish Pan Clearing. He was calling loudly.

During the morning of the 13th Bravo & Charlie were found in the middle of Dish Pan Clearing. In the afternoon when we arrived at the same place Alpha was sitting there, calling. We sat with him for a while when Bravo & Charlie came across and joined him from the eastern side of Dish Pan Clearing. On the morning of the 14th Bravo was found alone, calling, south of camp. During the night all three were seen passing by the Boscia Tree. On the 15th they were not seen, but on the 16th they lay in the middle of Dish Pan Clearing the whole day, with very full bellies. In fact they looked grossly over-weight for such streamlined creatures.

On the 17th 1 adult male was seen being harassed by dogs to the south-east of camp. On the morning of the 18th all three were seen lying underneath a blue bush to the south of camp. On the afternoon of the 19th Chantelle was out driving with an agent and they were headed east towards Rock Pan. It had been raining and just after the rain it appeared that suddenly all the animals had decided to head into the channel. There was a lot of general game to be seen including impala, zebra and giraffe. The sun was going down and the scene was special. Chantelle had just turned the corner near Rock Pan when she came across the three males feeding on an impala. On the 21st the three males were again seen with full bellies in the middle of Dish Pan Clearing. On the 22nd the three brothers were seen at night walking past the Boscia Tree, and the on the 23rd Taps saw them to the south of Dish Pan. On the morning of the 24th we again came across the brothers at the Boscia Tree. Bravo and Charlie were lying close to each other, while Alpha was sitting on a termite heap to the side. Later on in the morning we came back to the area and saw their tracks heading west towards Dish Pan

We have seen less Roan this month than last month. On the 6th we saw 1 Adult male on the eastern side of Jiga Jiga Rd, during the late morning. He was skittish and ran into the Woodlands as we approached. On the 15th Taps and Thuto came across another adult male at midday on the way back from the airstrip. On the afternoon of the 23rd we saw 2 different males. One was at Dish Pan Clearing and the other South of Dish Pan. The next day we saw both of these two again. The one who was at Dish Pan Clearing was still there whilst the other had moved to Phuduhudu Loop. The latter was quite relaxed and allowed us great views of him.

We have seen no buffalo this month.

And finally some comments from the Guest Comment Book:

Lisa and Nicolas Barthelemy – “Some of the most memorable drives happened here in Savuti. We’ll never forget the scene of the leopard attacking a cheetah!”

David and Gerd Martin – “Savuti is fabulous. We enjoyed it all. Thank you so much”

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East Africa
Slowly, snow mounts again on Mount Kilimanjaro

By Apolinari Tairo, eTurboNews - Tanzania

RECENT appearance of new glaciers on top of Mount Kilimanjaro has kept away fears among the mountain lovers that snow on this roof-top of Africa will totally disappear and leave mountain naked without its most attractive, eye-catching whitish cap .

Slowly, the snow is building up again to cover the peak, said Dr. James Wakibara, the Chief Ecologist with Mount Kilimanjaro. Piling up of glaciers was a result of weather changes in East Africa after two consecutive years of dry weather.

"There has been rain on the mountain's eco-system while slight changes on weather in East African highlands have all made a very significant development on snow build up," Dr. Wakibara said early this week.

Sad stories about Mount Kilimanjaro's disappearing snow had arose sympathies from mountain lovers all over the world after geologists and other scientists from America and Europe predicted the rapid melting of the mountain's snow, which makes it the most beautiful geographical feature in the whole of Africa.

If the snow melts, Mount Kilimanjaro would totally lose its glory and prominence, then drive away over 26,000 international climbers from Europe, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, America and Australia who fly to Tanzania every year to conquer this majestic peak in Africa.

A scientist from Bayreuth University in Germany Dr. Andrea Hemp said earlier in his report that the mountain has been losing its snow because of global warming effects, and the speed of melting snow has been higher in recent years.

Senior researcher from Bry Polar Research Center at the Ohio State University had predicted in 1999 that the mountain's snow could totally disappear in the next 30 years.

Scientific research made between 1999 and 2001 showed that, the mountain has lost its snow, deeper by one meter in few past years. Mount Kilimanjaro represent the only place in Africa where ice and glaciers exist.

Located some 330 kilometers south of Equator, Mt. Kilimanjaro, an awesome and magnificent mountain, is the highest mountain in Africa and one of the leading, single free standing mountains in the world.

It composed of three independent peaks--- Kibo (5,895 meters) is the highest and snowy, Mawenzi (5,149 meters) and Shira, an extinct volcano is 3,962 meters. The mountain regime occupies area of 4,000 kilometers.

Mount Kenya in Kenya and Mount Ruwenzori in Uganda are such beautiful peaks, less in height than Kilimanjaro, but lost their glaciers many years back.

Because of its height and soft glaciers on its peak, Mount Kilimanjaro is the leading tourist attraction in Tanzania with highest incomes from climbers. The mountain has been standing as Tanzania's pride in political, economic and environmental aspects, drawing big numbers of activists to apply the brand name of Kilimanjaro in creating public awareness.

Many business companies, apart from those engaged in tourism, use the name of "Kilimanjaro" to market heir new products. Kilimanjaro Beer, Kilimanjaro

Safari Club, Kilimanjaro Hotels, among others are such marketing brands using the mountain name to promote products and services.

Mount Kilimanjaro logo is Africa's premium tourism marketing and promotional brand mark to be applied soon by the newly formed African Unity (AU) as an optional trade mark to market Africa as the "Tourist Destination in the New Millennium", tourism observers said.

Senior park warden with Mount Kilimanjaro Mr. Lorivi Moirana said the mountain was formed some 750,000 years and the present features were completely formed in the past 500,000 years after a number of upheavals and tremors which also caused the formation of 250 volcanic hills and crater lakes including the magnificent Lake Chala on the eastern side.

The last volcanic activity occurred about 200 years ago and created a symmetrical cone of ash around Kibo peak, and since then, Mt. Kilimanjaro was at peace until today. But people who were living on the slopes and observed volcanic eruptions, fled away in panic from the slopes to avoid volcanic mysteries which they connected with devils, he added.

Not until 1848 when the Mountain became known for the first in the world when German missionary, Fr. Johannes Rebmann spotted this majestic peak, with surprise, to see the snow capped peak so closer to Equator.

Although mentioned in African legends and tales, the earliest written records of the Kilimanjaro dates back to the second century (2nd C) when a Greek geographer Ptolemy from Alexandria in Egypt wrote about the land beyond "Opone" and the great snow mountain in Rhapta.

"Opone", according to Ptolemy, is the coastal part of Somalia and northern coast of Kenya, and Rhapta is the big landmass or the great East African massif.

Prominent and world personalities have climbed the mountain including former United States Secretary of Interior Stuart Udall in 1963, and former US President Jimmy Carter in 1988, apart from other dignitaries.

Mount Kilimanjaro represents the world-wide image of Africa and its towering, snow capped symmetrical cone is synonymous with Africa. Internationally, the challenge of learning about, exploring and climbing this mysterious mountain has captured the imagination of people throughout the world. To many, the chance to climb this mountain is an adventure of a lifetime.

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