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Page 1 Updates
News - Info and updates from Wilderness Safaris
North Island Dive Report from
Linyanti Explorations updates
Kwando Safaris game reports.
Update on the 2006 Okavango
Monthly update from Mombo Camp in
Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in
update from Jao Camp in
Monthly update from Kwetsani Camp in
Monthly update from Duba Plains
Camp in Botswana.
Monthly update from Vumbura
Plains Camp in Botswana.
Monthly update from Little Vumbura
Camp in Botswana.
Monthly update from DumaTau
Camp in Botswana.
Monthly update from Doro Nawas
Camp in Namibia.
Monthly update from Pafuri Camp in
Safaris Updates - August 2006
IN THE WILDERNESS NEWS
Earlier this year,
Children in the Wilderness Botswana hosted
its first follow-up program in Maun. The
pilot session got off to a bright and cheery
start with the children that visited Jacana
Camp in December 2005. These children were
selected by the North West District Council,
Social and community development office in
The bi-monthly follow-up
visits build on the learning experience
of the initial camp session; providing
mentoring and support through regular
contact; and allowing us to evaluate
the impact of the program. Each follow-up
visit has a theme, the first one being “Who
Am I?” The culmination of the day’s
activities involved focusing on the children’s
vision of their own future and the attainment
of their personal goals.
In May, Children in the
Wilderness Namibia hosted a Follow-up
Camp for 30 youngsters in Palmwag Rhino
Camp. The program was aimed at older
participants, as it focused on job opportunities
and preparing for the challenges that
they will face when they leave school.
- NORTH ISLAND NEWS
North Island environmental
program is beginning to bear
fruit. It has been eight months
since the successful eradication
of invasive European rats and
the results can already be
seen. Sightings of endemic
bird species like the Seychelles
Blue Pigeon are becoming regular,
vegetation rehabilitation is
proceeding apace and North
Island is contributing to more
and more environmental projects
throughout the Seychelles,
such as a new shark research
program. Another recent landmark
is the imminent reintroduction
of a small population of Seychelles
White-Eyes, an endangered endemic
North Island has long
been recognized for its exceptional
hospitality and luxury, but was recently
praised for its contribution to conservation
at the launch of the national plant
conservation strategy when a member
of the organisation implementing the
plan singled North Island out for its
role in combining conservation and
Kapinga (image at left) and
Shumba Camps are now open and
look amazing! The first visitors
are already praising the camp
and the wildlife that they
have seen – from puku
and buffalo to lion and cheetah.
The Moshi airstrip is
also complete, and the two-hour transfer
from the airstrip to Kapinga, Shumba
and Busanga camps makes for a great
drive up the Lafupa River to the camps,
with good game en route. Lunga airstrip
is now used mainly for Lunga River
Game viewing at Busanga
Bush Camp has also been good over the
last month, with good lion sightings
in and around camp, as well as relaxed
roan antelope, 300 buffalo and a cheetah!
Nawas Head Guide Rosalia
Haraes has recently been employed
as an Explorations guide to
be based in Windhoek. Rosie
began as a member of Damaraland
Camp’s cleaning staff
and worked her way through
the ranks to become a guide
with Wilderness for the past
ten years, finally becoming
head guide at Doro Nawas. She
is motivated, always passionate
about nature and loves her
work. She is a great example
of how Wilderness Safaris Namibia
is changing the face of the
workforce in that country and
we wish Rosie all the best
in her new job and in her future.
Mombo and main Mombo Camps
will be undergoing renovations from
8th of January to end March 2007.
Only a few rooms will be renovated
at a time and only during hours that
guests are on activities, thus having
no impact on guests at all. However,
during this time, whether guests
will be accommodated at Little Mombo
or main Mombo will depend on which
rooms are being refurbished at the
Savuti and DumaTau are
also closing for refurbishments next
year as follows: Savuti - 11 Jan 7 to
14 February inclusive and DumaTau - 18
January to 3 February inclusive.
A reminder about Abu
Camp elephant activities: As a
result of Abu's elephant release policy
there are currently only four elephants
that are able to be ridden. Two people
can ride each elephant at a time, meaning
that only eight people can ride at
any one time. The remaining guests
walk along next to the elephants and
enjoy the experience from that point
of view or do something entirely different
on that day such as mokoro or game
drives. Every guest does get the opportunity
to ride the elephants during their
stay and the experience is not compromised
in any way.
Those elephants that have
been released into the wild are currently
the focus of a PhD study based out of
Camp with the guests here able to
be gain exposure to an in-depth and cutting-edge
research project and the principal researcher.
One of the released cows, Nandipa, was
recently discovered with a newborn calf,
indicating the success of this project.
Linyanti Wild Dogs
the Linyanti Pack of five wild dogs
and the DumaTau Pack of sixteen have
been visibly active. The dominant
female of the latter group when last
seen was heavily pregnant, and is
now thought to have given birth.
In an incredible sighting
at the beginning of the month, one
of our guides recorded how he watched
with guests as the dogs killed an impala,
only to have it snatched from them
by an opportunistic spotted hyena.
Not to be deprived of their hard-earned
prey for long, the dogs promptly hassled
the scavenger until it surrendered
the impala back to them!
was a very exciting sighting at Doro
Nawas recently when two cheetah made
their way up the plain towards the small
hill on which the camp is situated. The two
animals walked past Rooms 16 and 17 before
passing the staff accommodation and continuing
on their way. As new guide Rosta Janik said: “Oh
my goodness… I am happy to be here!”
Rhino Camp has also been enjoying
good cheetah sightings lately. The
good summer rains have meant a sea
of grass across the Concession and
an abundance of plains game “hundreds
of mountain zebra, thousands of springbok
and plenty of gemsbok” and
occasional sightings of lions which
have colonized the area. Desert specials
like the horned adder have been seen.
/ North Island
North Island Dive Report
- August 06 Jump
August has seen quite a bit of
unseasonal rain; on one particular day we had a downpour of 50mm
within a short space of time. Not that we are complaining as
it has been exceptionally dry in Seychelles, with parts of the
mainland Mahé on water restrictions.
Fishing has been relatively quiet for us with
catch records low. Ocean conditions have ranged from calm,
unsettled, choppy to rough over the month. Visibility has ranged
between 7m - 15m and this variance has had very little to do
with ocean conditions but more to do with currents and then
reverse currents where the wind has been blowing from the south-east
and the bottom current has been going in a reverse fashion
heading south. What has remained a constant is the water temperature,
which has remained at 25°C. The changes in wind speed have
been largely attributed to spring tides and the full and new
moon. We have noticed that over the full and new moon phases,
the weather has turned sour with rain squalls coming through,
which in turn has seen an increase in wind speed and ocean
chop all linked together. Once the rain has passed, the wind
dies down and the chop decreases. Within a short period of
time the sun is out and it becomes a beautiful day once more.
We have also experienced a lot of overcast weather during the
month without rainfall. In a nutshell it can be said that the
weather has been unpredictable!
From a sighting point of view, we have really
enjoyed everything about 'Sprat City' dive site, yet again. We
have unashamedly taken the bulk of our dive trips to Sprat because
there has been a guarantee of seeing good sightings with loads
of action. The baby sprats are no longer that small and some
spectacular fish chases have taken place, with the blue spot
kingfish and fulvie kingfish almost appearing to hug the reef
so as not to be detected but at the same time using spectacular
speed at the last minute to totally unnerve these "bait
balls" of young fish. Divers have been totally ignored in
this hunting game and have floated in one spot, taking in all
of this incredible hunting action and predatory behaviour. Fish
have circled us or dashed past and through us in an effort to
hunt or to hide from being hunted and we have felt almost invisible
to them as they have not blinked an eye at our presence (even
if they could). Even the trumpetfish have been hovering upside
down, waiting to prey on these little fish, also totally ignoring
our presence. The spectacular lionfish have been hovering above
the reef, often in groups of 4 to 5 in one place and no doubt
these fish have also been waiting for an easy meal on the sprats.
So as you can see, everything that can hunt has been preying
on the sprat "bait balls". We were even graced with
the presence of a good size guitar shark moving purposefully
across the sand.
Eastern tuna have darted about mid-water at such
speed that unless you are looking around for things mid-water,
you will not even catch a glimpse of these speedy little game
fish. Why would we be looking around mid-water you may ask? Well
first off, you often miss out on amazing sightings if you do
not look around constantly and secondly, it is whale shark season
at the moment in Seychelles, so you just never know what you
may see mid-water or on the surface. We have not seen any whale
sharks around the island, but it would appear that there has
been a bit of activity between Praslin and La Digue islands.
At the time of this report, the people that do
the annual whale shark tagging and research have had their microlight
pilot on the ground most of the time as there has been little
action on Mahe. In the last week however, many have been spotted
in the southern regions of Mahe. An exciting find has been that
of several 8-metre female whale sharks, which is apparently unusual
as the area traditionally gets visits by the 3.5m males. All
of these sightings have produced untagged whale sharks. The researcher
that usually does the tagging on Mahe has been able to identify
at least two animals of late by previous identifying marks taken.
This is a healthy signal that these animals have returned to
the same area as 2005. The season is still relatively young and
we are still expecting sightings. As you know, we are involved
in the whale shark research programme and the chance of spending
time with this gentle giant of the ocean is always an exciting
thought. We are also encouraging the adoption of whale sharks
for the season as these funds are used to purchase tagging equipment
and pay for microlight fees. The cost of adopting a whale shark
for the season is SCR 250.00 per animal.
We mentioned that we had started to work on shark
research, together with the authorities on Mahe and members of
the Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles. In a nutshell,
what has transpired here is that the government has been informed
by independent researchers about shark stock depletions here
in Seychelles, about overfishing of sharks for meat and fin export.
The Seychelles has traditionally (since the early 1900s and prior)
had a very healthy shark stock in their waters. In addition,
they have also enjoyed a healthy swordfish population, which
was an important export. Upon testing the swordfish exports internationally,
it was found that the cadmium levels in these swordfish were
high and the demand dropped substantially. As the local fishermen
had government grants to purchase their fishing outfits and to
pay wages, they were forced to turn to an industry where supply
was as good as the demand, i.e. sharks. There are two types of
operators here at the moment, the first being those that take
the entire shark, use the fins and export the meat. The second
is those that take the fins and dump the shark, which clearly
dies. One of the main elements behind this new research is that
dive centres, researchers and officials are talking to the fishing
communities in an effort to assist to bring stocks back to Seychelles.
This is a new project for the Seychelles and we requested to
be fully involved from the start. Our involvement is both photographic
identification of individual species/animals, and documenting
sightings of the various species. We have been submitting our
monthly sighting reports and have been focusing on trying to
identify individual sharks whilst on a dive, if we can. We managed
to single out two white tip reef sharks, both females, on Sprat
City. No easy feat I can tell you because they rest on the sand
and appear to be sleeping until you approach closer and then
they move off. We subsequently took a group of divers to "Sprat
City" a few days after the identifying dive with the purpose
of trying to see if these females were still around. Right at
the end of the dive and further away from where they were first
spotted, we found one of the two females again. This time she
was not resting on the bottom but was swimming around, agitatedly,
as a remora was trying to attach itself to her and she was not
that interested in it! She is larger than the others sighted
and upon surfacing I asked the two guest divers that had accompanied
me to give her a name and "Domino" was chosen: the
identifying features on her are two large black spots that no
other individual appears to have. One is below the dorsal fin
and slightly to the right and the other is below the 2nd dorsal
fin; whether these prove to be ongoing identifying marks remains
to be seen. A good identifying feature would be if the tail fin
or dorsal fin are chopped or deformed or less than perfect, but
these specimens appear to be in a healthy state and it has been
hard to single out something different.
Due to the "bait ball" sprats, we have
had no fewer than five whitetip reef sharks sighted on a single
dive, which has been exciting for the divers. The giant sleepy
sharks have disappeared and we have not had a single sighting
throughout the entire month of August.
We are thus fully involved in the three research
programmes: Coral Reef monitoring, Whale Shark research and now
Shark research. We are committed to the ocean and to educating
our guests on the importance of all of these animals remaining
there so as not to upset the fragile equilibrium in the ocean
realm. All of these animals have a role to play in the ecosystem
and if we can pass this message on to but one person, a difference
will have been made. It is through education, conservation and
research that we can understand the role that everything has
to play in the ocean and thus ensure that it remains intact for
Not forgetting the small critters, we have spotted
our first rockmover wrasse, which is highly camouflaged in colour,
almost resembling seaweed. Quite a few nudibranches have also
been sighted and many raggy scorpionfish have been spotted on
each dive. The resident regal angelfish have been swimming about
on Coral Gardens as well as some very colourful emperor angel
fish, adults and juveniles alike.
Explorations Update - August 06 Jump
• The western
spillway (fed from the Okavango) has now flooded
so far along its length that it is less than
26km from the headwaters of the eastern spillway
(fed from the Kwando). The eastern spillway has
also started to creep west again as the lower
reaches of the Kwando River swell from the Angolan
• The wild dogs have been extremely active this
month and we have almost lost count of the number
of kills they've made. One particular happy story
is the survival of a kudu cow. She had been hounded
and bitten by the pack in a protracted chase before
seeking refuge outside the CMU office. Visibly shaken & tired,
she managed to avoid further harassment and after
recovering wandered off back into the woodland.
• Although we await confirmation,
it seems that at long last Amber, our star
leopard, has had her first litter of cubs.
A very relaxed female was seen with two little
cubs in tow right in the middle of Amber's
core territory. She was seen again on an impala
kill with a fleeting glimpse of a cub.
• On the subject of cubs,
it looks like there may be more lion cubs in
hiding. Two lactating lionesses of the Selinda
pride seem to be confined to an area between
Zibalianja Camp and the airstrip. We suspect
they have their charges safely tucked away somewhere
in the area.
• We are more than happy
to announce that, after all the delays and hiccups,
our "Phase 1" revamp of Selinda Camp
is complete. A skeleton crew of builders will
remain behind to iron out the last few gremlins. "Phase
2" will commence in January and the camp
will close for this from 10-Jan to 28-Feb 2007.
• How's this for an hour's
night drive? A fight between a Jackal and an
African Wild Cat as she defended the lives of
her three kittens; an Aardwolf sauntering along;
an Aardvark diving for cover in its burrow and
finally, a half hour with a male leopard as he
called and marked territory.
• One of our maintenance
crew had a problem fixing a puncture recently
whilst on an airstrip errand. He was about to
get out of the vehicle to attend to the flat
when a lioness came charging out the sage bush
in hot pursuit of a zebra! She caught and killed
it right in front of the vehicle!
• Of all the rarer animal
species on The Selinda, the most sought after
by guides is the "giant artichoke" or
pangolin. A fine specimen was seen twice recently
- once as it casually walked through Zib camp!
Camps Update - August 06
Lagoon camp Jump
• The Lagoon
pride was found finishing off the remain
of an impala, and later were seen feeding
on a buffalo in the upper Kwando area – they
crossed north into the Caprivi for a
while and were found again on an island
in the Kwando river last week.
• 2 lionesses (one with the APCRO
collar) were found feeding on a buffalo,
and were seen regularly subsequently.
They were later seen pulling down a
• A new pride, the Masalela pride,
was found just north of the camp – very
exciting for the Lagoon guides.
• 2 very shy adult male lions
were found, and seen from a distance
before they ran off, another male lion
was seen pulling down a buffalo bull
one morning, while an adult male lion
and lioness pair were seen mating.
• Several leopard sightings including
an adult male leopard with a full belly
was followed marking his territory
for some time, a female was found and
followed hunting for a while – she
did not make a kill, a relaxed male
was also followed through the mopane
for some time.
• A pair of male cheetah were
found resting in the shade on top of
a termite mound – they were seen
regularly over the last period favoring
the open floodplains of the Water-Cut
• The Lagoon pack of dogs was
seen regularly – initially without
the Alpha female – and later
with her showing signs of lactating
- they killed an impala, and ate for
a short while before being robbed by
hyenas. The guides saw them kill again
several times, and then finally about
10 days ago they saw 3 puppies moving
with the adults close to the camp – they
killed another impala right next to
the camp. They were seen hunting around
the Broken Baobab area (killed another
impala), and were last seen a couple
of days ago chasing tsessebe.
• Big numbers of elephants in
the Lagoon area, both breeding herds
and bachelor herds providing excellent
sightings all day long.
• Excellent buffalo sightings
both north and south of the camp – the
largest herd est.2000 strong – most
herds between 500 and 1000 – fighting
and mating witnessed as well.
• General game good – zebra,
giraffe, impala, tsessebe, kudu, reedbuck
as well as sable and roan antelope.
• Night sightings include hyenas,
porcupines, 2 sightings of pangolin,
African wild cats – one with
4 kittens, side-striped and black backed
jackals (including a pair of black-backed
jackals chasing and fighting with a
side-striped jackal), servals, genets
and one incredible sighting of 5 honey-badgers
together! Also a caracal seen regularly
close to the camp and chameleons seen
most nights as well.
Kwara camp Jump
• A pride
of 3 lionesses were found accompanied
by an adult male as well as a sub-adult
male – they were well fed.
• A mating pair of lions were
seen romancing for 4 days, while
2 old male lions were seen feeding
on an elephant carcass.
• 3 lionesses were found with
3 four-month old cubs.
• A pride of 3 males and 7 lionesses
pulled down a buffalo.
• Another pride made up of an
adult male, a sub-adult male, 4 lionesses
and 2 cubs were twice seen killing
• An adult female leopard (lactating)
and her 6 week old cub were seen
regularly, she was seen hunting reedbuck
without initial success but was later
found feeding on reedbuck. More recently
she was found feeding on an impala
with her cub.
• Another adult female leopard
with 2 eight-week old cubs – they
were found feeding on a young reedbuck.
• A female cheetah with 3 cubs
was found feeding on impala on three
• A coalition of 3 male cheetah
was found resting in the shade on
a termite mound.
• A pack of 3 adult wild dogs
was followed hunting – there
was no sign of the 8 puppies seen
earlier in the season.
• Elephant sightings mostly
consist of individual bulls and bachelor
herds often seen in the vicinity
of the camp – a few bulls were
seen swimming across the new extensive
lagoon in front of the camp. Also
several sightings of bulls swimming
across the channels seen while guests
were out on the delta channels.
• A couple breeding herds that
came south out of the mopane woodland
was seen as well.
• Several herds of buffalo were
seen – often with lions nearly – the
largest herd was c.500 strong – most
of them numbering about 200.
• General game including warthogs,
zebra, tsessebe, impala, kudu, sable,
wildebeest, red lechwe, giraffe,
baboons, vervet monkeys, and various
• Night sightings include African
wild cats, servals (one with its
kitten), Selous mongoose, civets,
genets, an aardvark, honey badgers,
lots of springhares and one Aardwolf!
• Other interesting sightings
include various frog and snake species
including mole snake and a mamba,
yellow-billed storks, marabou’s
and sacred ibis @ the heronry, a
long-crested eagle, martial eagle,
wattled cranes, ground hornbills,
slaty and black egrets, pelicans
and 3 different Ibis species.
Lebala camp Jump
• A pair
of male lions and 2 lionesses were
found feeding on a wildebeest. Another
pride was found feeding on an impala.
• The four lionesses with Lebala
at the core of their territory were
seen killing a buffalo calf on Lechwe
• A pair of lionesses (one with
a collar) found on Tsessebe Island
managed to isolate and kill a buffalo
calf – they later lost their
kill to hyenas.
• A single lioness was followed
hunting on her own – she also
managed to kill a buffalo calf and
ended up sharing her kill feeding
at the same time as a couple of hyenas.
She was followed for several days
hunting, tailed by a male lion. She
chased after some warthogs but was
• A nomadic pair of adult male
lions were seen ranging all over
the concession – they were
found sharing a wildebeest kill with
• A young male lion was followed
hunting buffalo for 3 days with no
• An adult male and and adult
female leopard were sighted in camp
while the guests were having dinner – guests
hopped on the vehicle and followed
them for a while.
• A large male leopard was seen
swimming across a channel onto an
• A shy leopard was sighted
trying to hunt impala from the top
of a termite mound, a couple of other
leopards were seen and followed hunting
and patrolling their territories.
• An adult female cheetah was
followed for a few days before guests
saw her stalk and kill an impala.
• A pair of male cheetah have
been seen regularly north of the
camp over the last couple of weeks.
• An adult female cheetah was
found on a termite mound in the early
morning – as it warmed up she
started hunting and killed an adult
male impala but was robbed by hyenas.
• A pair of wild dogs were followed
hunting for a whole day without success.
• Large breeding herds of elephants
have been seen throughout the Lebala
concession both day and night – seen
daily crossing the floodplains to
the river – very young calves
in attendance as well as small bachelor
herds following females in oestrus.
• Large herds of buffalo spread
all over the concession – largest
estimated @ 1500 strong – moving
between the river and the floodplains
• General game has been good
with good numbers of Red lechwe,
impala, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe
and tsessebe. Also seen were reedbuck,
kudu, steenbuck as well as roan antelope.
• Night sightings include good
serval viewing, hyenas which relieved
a pair of lionesses of their kill,
both jackal species, caracal, aardvark,
civets, African wild cat and honey
• Various snakes were seen including
a large python at a water-hole, also
mambas, cobras, a grass snake.
• Bird sightings have also been
good – huge flocks of queleas
seen moving to and from water morning
and late afternoon – the carmine
bee-eater colony is active.
Little Kwara camp
• Two lionesses
and a sub-adult lion were found resting – they
were joined by a pair of adult male
lions that chased the youngster off,
one of the males then mated with
one of the lioness! Another pair
of male lions was found harassing
a buffalo herd – they were
later seen pulling down a buffalo
• A pride of 8 lions were
found stalking a herd of buffalo,
a young male lion and two lionesses
killed a buffalo calf while another
pride was found hunting impala
in the camp.
• Three black-maned lions
were found feeding on a buffalo
together with six lionesses.
• Guests watched a pride of
6 hunts and kill a buffalo. A lioness
was found feeding on a tsessebe,
and a male lions were found feeding
on a lechwe they had presumably
robbed from a lioness who was still
trying to snatch a few bites.
• A couple of different leopard
sightings including a female with
her 2 one-month old cubs – she
was later found with just one cub
and the guides found plenty of
hyena tracks in the area – she
later killed an impala and had
dragged it into some thick brush
to feed – this pair are seen
• A coalition of three male
cheetah were found hunting but
were not seen making a kill – they
were found later resting in the
shade with full bellies.
• Guides found a female cheetah
with 3 very young cubs – they
later saw her feeding on an impala.
• Guests had a short sighting
of a pack of 3 wild dogs hunting
in the Splash Hippo pools area.
• Most elephant sightings
are single and bachelor herds – bull
often seen in and around the camp
as well as seen crossing the channels
by guests out on the boats – one
breeding herd was seen feeding
on the floodplains.
• Several herds of buffalo
were seen – averaging at
around 300ea – guests witnesses
both fighting and mating activity
in the herds.
• Other interesting sightings
include puff-adders, (one removed
from the camp area), a couple of
python sightings as well as many
excellent bird sightings including
plenty of storks and egrets – the
heronry is active and providing
excellent photographic opportunities,
and a flock of “thousands” of
white-faced ducks inhabiting the
lagoon in front of the camp.
• The general game good especially
on the recently burnt floodplains,
and include giraffe, impala, tsessebe,
kudu, lechwe, some zebra, warthogs
as well a troops of baboons with
• Night sightings include
both jackal species, hyenas, African
wild cats, servals, small-spotted
genets, porcupines, aardvarks,
lots of springhares, honey-badger,
bat-eared foxes, civets.
Flood update - July 30, 2006
After the heavy rains,
which occured throughout northern Botswana in 2006, the water
levels in the Delta are presently far above average. This
is because the flood water arriving from Angola has supplemented
the above average rains over the Delta. The result
is that pans and channels which would typically have dried
by now, still have water.
As always, the Okavango
Delta is truly a dynamic ecosystem and this year's rains
have made it a very interesting place indeed. The
Savuti Channel actually "flowed" for the first
time in over 20 years (over 6 kilometers down the channel).
This is the last flood
update until next year.
Camp update - August 06 Jump
One by one, species by species,
initiated by the arrival of summer the migrant birds are returning.
These arrivals include Whalbergs eagles, yellow-billed kites,
Ruffs, who come as far a field as Siberia (18,000 kms), sandpipers
and common redshanks to name a few. It seems that the volume
of the morning chorus has been turned up three notches as birds
compete for nesting sights, display for mates and compete for
The acacia trees now bloom with scent and life,
a magnet to both insects and birds. At first the smell of knob-thorns
dominated the Okavango, but now their scent mixes with the
remainder of the acacia species. Among the flowering trees
is the sausage trees, Kegila Africana, who create a carpet
of red beneath their canopies. These nectar rich flowers fall
onto the ground due the nightly activities of the fruit bats,
the trees pollinators. Every morning impala investigate each
tree licking at the sweet nutrients the flowers provide, but
they need be aware of the ever opportunistic leopards that
wait within the trees' foliage.
Impala feed on the sausage flowers as the leopard waits above
in a Marula tree
Leopard launches herself out of the Marula tree
Rhino sightings are up; it’s always a special treat to see
these prehistoric beasts amongst the palms of the Okavango delta.
A black rhino bull has been successfully relocated
to the Khama Rhino sanctuary in central Botswana from Zimbabwe.
We a wait with some urgency of the relocation of more black
rhino from Zimbabwe, these rhinos are threatened by poaching
and are under serious pressure. Once we have established a
viable breeding population of black rhino within Botswana,
the population will increase naturally. Did you know that there
was an estimated population of 1 million black rhino in South
Africa 80 years ago and that by 1992, the world-wide population
of black rhino had crashed to 2,200…
August has seen some interesting changes within
our leopard population. Our territorial male leopards reign seems
to have come to an end due to both age and an injured paw. His
injury has become infected making hunting and protecting his
territory against nomadic males very difficult. We sighted a
large nomadic male leopard a few weeks back and have not seen
the Burnt Ebony Male leopard since.
Notice his front left paw.
Pan female and her cub.
Bad news about the Mombo wilddogs, the alpha female has given birth
but none of the pups have survived. We had not seen the dogs
for about a week; this is when she had obviously given birth.
When having pups the alpha female will stay back at the den
in order to protect the pups and not move around with the pack,
her teats also seemed that they had not been suckled on. We
are not sure what happened to the pups but can only guess that
they may have succumbed to hyenas.
The Mattata pride are missing two of their cubs from the pride, its
unknown what happened to the first that disappeared but the
second I found wandering around on his own miles away from
the pride. He may have lost the pride whilst finishing off
a meal, not knowing that the pride had started moving again.
Two new males have established themselves, between
the territory of the Mattata pride and the Moporota pride.
These males have been present at Mombo previously and may again
head back out west again as the water levels drop.
Other highlights and happenings at Mombo this
month included this very light colored bull giraffe, who seemed
to be a favorite with the cows.
An elephant died of natural causes a few miles
west of Mombo camp, this feast provided us and our guests with
some interesting predator interactions. Within a week only the
bones remained thanks to the help of hundreds of vultures and
We look forward to another great month at Mombo
in September, and hope to see you all again soon in this perfect
Greetings from the Mombo Team
Tubu Tree Camp update
- August 06 Jump
to Tubu Tree Camp
Spring has sprung! The
Knobthorn and Sausage trees are in full flower with the Wild
Sage starting to follow suit. The floodwater is starting
to recede on the floodplains so things are slowly changing
in our part of the delta. We are still able to do the mokoro
(dug-out canoe) and boat trips around Tubu but our game drive
areas are increasing again as the roads dry up.
As the waters recede
the red lechwe are beginning to move out of the floodplains
back towards the main channel. We have seen a couple of
old buffalo bulls ('dagga boys') in the papyrus beds in
front of camp, along with numerous bull elephants in the
The zebra herds are moving
onto Hunda Island in great numbers, bringing with them several
tiny stripy foals - which seem to have endless amounts of
energy, running in and out of the herds as they move.
Bird sightings have been
great as the weather begins to warm up; the insects are becoming
more active and providing an increasing food source for many
The African Snipe is a
prominent visitor on the edge of small pools. According to
the camp elders, the increased presence of this bird is a
definitive sign that the water is receding. They feed on
insects, worms, molluscs and crustaceans in the drying puddles.
A pair of Little Bitterns was spotted while out on mokoro,
as well as flocks of up to forty Wattle Cranes. Other highlights
were an African Hawk Eagle attacking and eating a Cape Turtle
Dove, as well as sightings of Common Greenshank, Pied Avocet,
Greater Painted Snipe, Lesser Moorhen and Fulvous Duck.
There are huge flocks of
White-faced Ducks along the water channel and also hundreds
of African Openbills (Open-billed Stork) which cash in on
the freshwater snails being exposed by the receding water.
We saw one bold Fish Eagle fly into a big flock of feeding
Openbills and grab one by the wing, but the stork managed
to break free and take off with the Fish Eagle in hot pursuit.
This aerial chase went on in circles as the Stork had received
serious damage to the one wing but eventually the Stork flew
into a dense reed bed and hid out of sight of the Eagle,
who went in search of easier prey.
Another interesting bird
sighting was a Lilac-breasted Roller that caught a rather
large mouse. The mouse was not dead, so the Roller proceeded
to beat the mouse repeatedly against a branch before finally
dropping it in dense undergrowth and flying off.
The specialist rodent hunters,
our African wildcats, have been seen regularly on the night
drives. The most seen in one night drive was eight wildcats,
six of which were actively hunting gerbils and mice on the
edge of the airstrip.
Aardvark was again spotted
this month; we think this one may have been a female as she
was smaller than the one seen last month; she was quite skittish
and dashed off into the bushes after a brief view. Aardwolf,
honey badger and civet have also all been seen on the night
drives as well as the regular genets and bushbabies.
A large troop of banded
mongoose have moved into the camp area and are occasionally
seen digging noisily in the undergrowth for grubs and insects.
Guests were again fortunate
to see leopard from mokoro one afternoon in front of camp!
A young female leopard was resting in a big fig tree outside
Tent 3; on closer inspection the guides were able to see
a carcass of a big impala ram on the ground next to the tree.
She remained on her branch and watched them with mutual interest,
seemingly unconcerned about her spectators. We saw her again
the following day, joined by her mother, the Mopane Ridge
female and her sister. These sub-adult cubs must now be about
18mths old and will soon be completely independent of their
mother. We had several sightings of her from the pool deck
and from Tent 3, and even saw her walking out to the floodplain
to drink water at night.
The guides came across
a leopard feeding on a zebra carcass one evening. The adult
zebra was really too large for the leopard to have killed
it, so it is likely that it had may have died of natural
causes and the leopard found a free meal. The leopard's good
fortune was short-lived however, as a lone lioness came across
the carcass and chased the leopard off before settling down
for her share of the prize. By morning there was little left
of the zebra and the lioness had moved on, leaving the Vultures
to fight over the scraps.
One night while sitting
around the fire on our "beach" after an evening
of traditional singing and dancing we were treated to a very
special experience. A big male lion roared from less than
a hundred metres away on the floodplain, taking us all by
surprise. We sat very quietly and listened as he approached
the camp. Using a flashlight we were able to watch breathlessly,
as he walked passed the dinner table, about fifteen metres
from where we were all sitting. He was clearly on a mission
and walked purposely past; calling again once he had passed
camp. This was the highlight of the trip for all those guests
around the fire and for the staff present!
Looking forward to some
warmer weather, Regards Anton, Carrie, Moa, Moyo, Salani
and the Tubu Team
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