Page 2 of 2
Page 1 Updates
Wilderness Safaris News -
Info and updates from Wilderness Safaris
North Island Dive Report from
Kwando Safaris game reports.
Update on the 2006 Okavango
Monthly update from Mombo Camp in
Monthly update from Savuti Camp in
Monthly update from Kings Pool Camp in
Monthly update from DumaTau Camp in
Page 2 Updates
Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in
Monthly update from Jao Camp in
Monthly update from Kwetsani Camp in
Monthly update from Duba Plains Camp in
Monthly update from Jack's Camp in
Monthly update from Palmwag Rhino Camp in
Monthly update from Serra Cafema Camp in
Monthly update from Little Ongava in
Monthly update from Doro Nawas Camp in
report from Rocktail Bay in South
Monthly update from Pafuri Camp in
Tubu Tree Camp update
- June 06 Jump
to Tubu Tree Camp
Elephant sightings at Tubu over June were great; our sightings were
mostly of breeding herds with plenty of young calves. Our guests have
been fortunate to experience close encounters with these elephants on
a regular basis, occasionally with a whole herd around the vehicle playing
in the mud or having dust baths. There is a very young calf within one
of these herds that is only a couple of weeks old and has already become
accustomed to the vehicle. He has trouble using his trunk for normal
elephant activities such as picking up branches or bringing water to
his mouth - it flops around as if it has a life of its own. Fortunately
he drinks milk from his mother using his mouth and not his trunk. There
are also many bulls in the area that are often seen shaking the Mokolwane
palm trees for the palm nuts which fall down. Inside these palm nuts
is a hard substance known as vegetable ivory, which is traditionally
used to carve necklaces and trinkets.
There have been several sightings of Cape buffalo on the fringes of
the wooded areas where fair grazing can still be found. The buffalo can
be spotted with the ubiquitous Cattle Egrets perched on their backs or
in between the many hooves of the herd. These white egrets benefit from
the buffalo by catching the insects which are disturbed in the grass
while the buffalo graze.
group of guests were fortunate to see a relaxed aardwolf in
the late afternoon, with still enough light to take some photographs.
These shy, striped members of the hyaena family are seldom seen.
Weis' note: It was our Eyes on Africa Digital
Photography Group who were at this aardwolf sighting;
the best aardwolf viewing I've ever had. See
photo at left. Image © 2006 James Weis.
One could say the same for the
prickly porcupine who was spotted on a night drive closely followed
by her two babies. Another rare sighting was that of an aardvark,
seen on a night drive after dinner. This is one of the most difficult
species to see due to their nocturnal nature, however our guests
had a very good sighting of it digging into the side of a large
There is plenty of floodwater around
(it is still rising) so we have therefore moved our mokoros very
close to camp. Our guests can hop straight into them and enjoy
their ride through the floodplains. The extended floodplains
harbour numerous red lechwe, tsessebe, reedbuck, elephant and
many bird species but there are also smaller interesting things
to be seen like the tiny painted reed frogs that perch on the
reeds. Some guests who have tried their hand at fishing have
had successful catches of catfish, thinface bream and nembwe.
There are many small pools in the backwaters that hold schools
of bream and can be very productive in the late afternoon. Here
at Tubu, we practice 'catch and release' fishing with barbless
hooks, so one will not find local fish on the menu!
Surprisingly there are still a few big snakes around camp; guests have
also seen python, snouted cobra and black mamba whilst out on game drives.
Due to the good rains we had this season, there are many rodents in the
vicinity feeding on the grass seeds, hence the larger snakes are enjoying
a feast. The smaller snakes are less active although we had a decent
sized, very venomous vine snake drop into the office one afternoon -
fortunately he made a quick exit via the curio shop.
The leopards have been very accommodating over the last month and the
guides have seen them many times. Some guests even managed to capture
some exciting photos of one female crossing a water channel. The 'Boat
Station' female has been seen often with her young male cub, resting
up on the big trees along the tree line close to the old mokoro station.
We have also spotted another female leopard in the area, who made an
impressive kill of a large baboon at the airstrip. Baboons are usually
very alert so are difficult to stalk successfully, particularly in areas
where there is little or no cover available - such as the airstrip. The
mature male baboons have very large canines and are very brave, especially
when it comes to defending their troop. It was therefore a surprise to
find the female leopard weighing only perhaps 40kg, taking on a large
male baboon weighing approximately the same. We have named this female
the 'Moselesele' female; Moselesele is the Setswana name for Sickle-Bush,
which is a small spiky shrub found in abundance around the airstrip.
She also has a notable marking over her right eye, in the shape of a
It has been quite chilly recently with temperatures
ranging from a minimum of 6°C to a maximum of 27°C with no
rain and clear skies - perfect for star gazing!
Hope to see you soon!
Anton, Carrie, Moa, Salani and the team
Jao Camp update
- June 06 Jump
to Jao Camp
This month has been cold but exciting as the temperatures have dropped
and the game viewing increased twofold. It has been a breeze in every
sense of the word as happy and excited guests arrived back from their
game drives with word of sightings of leopard on a daily basis and lions
in between; seeing them either making a kill or just after the kill was
This last month has definitely been the windiest of the year so far
and this is an element that always surprises visitors to Botswana at
this time of year. The rush of elephant bulls onto the Jao Island has
been both exciting and frustrating as we sometimes take up to forty minutes
to get guests from their room to the main area but then we also manage
to squeeze in a great elephant behavioural session before breakfast.
A leopard has been sighted on the Island very often as well and then
there are the resident impala, warthog and huge group of banded mongoose
that cover the Island from corner to corner visiting guests at their
rooms. The elephants have been feeding on the fan palms making so much
noise at night and keeping guests up through the evening.
The Jao concession has been getting more and more
water by the day as the floods have come in and the waters are still
rising. The majority of our drives are through the water but with good
sightings of larger bird species. The grasses are drying very fast
but in general the area around Jao Island is nice and green compared
to other areas at the moment, making it a little paradise in the delta.
The Jackalberry trees and the Sycamore Figs are dropping fruit at the
moment and this brings us an array of smaller birds into the camp environment.
The temperatures for June have been a low 10°C and a high of 29°C.
No rain for June as expected (although we had reports of rain in the
Moremi during the middle of the month).
Our highlights of the month have revolved around the resident leopard
and cub ('Beauty' and 'Tumo'). We were lucky enough to have almost daily
sightings of this pair, sometimes without even leaving the lodge.
The territorial lionesses have also provided much interest: One female
('Broken Nose', a lioness without a pride) lost all her cubs this month
- two drowned when the mother tried to cross a deep channel while being
watched by guests and the remaining cub simply disappeared.
Elephants have also been a large part of game viewing as they have remained
in the area around camp for much of the month, sometimes being so close
to the walkway that guests had to wait quite a while to get to breakfast.
We have four bull elephants residing on the Island at the moment and
were thrilled when a male leopard spent three days devouring his steenbok
kill on the island close to one of the manager's houses. We have had
some regular sightings of a warthog in and around the camp, even being
spotted by guests at night sleeping in the downstairs library!
We had several sightings of Western Banded Snake-eagle around Jao Island
this month and the shallows on the island fringe have played host to
species like Saddle-billed Stork, Wattled Crane, Spurwing Goose and Yellow-billed
A honeymoon couple, while lying on their deck one day, heard a rustle
on the ground and there was a young leopard sniffing through the leaves;
luckily our rooms are high above the ground. Another couple from the
US and first time on safari, were driving into Jao over the bridge and
saw a male leopard carrying his kill in his mouth coming into camp -
what a start to an African safari!
"The whole experience was great, but especially the attention given
to us by the staff adds to it." - KG
"The staff make the entire stay superior as they cared for our kids!" -
Mr. & Mrs. H
"Wonderful experience. Awesome, keep it up. Best day at work cannot
match a bad day at Jao!" - JD
"We cannot wait to come back again and again. We will miss you.
Thank you." - L&MD
Kwetsani Camp update
- June 06 Jump
to Kwetsani Camp
is its own worst enemy"
June has been a really great month. The floodwaters have not yet reached
their peak but the flood is a good one, a little above the average. Each
day you see the water creeping a little further into the floodplains.
This wonderful water also plays its part in the story that unfolds daily.
A lioness has returned to some of her old and familiar hunting grounds
here on the floodplains but unfortunately not at the right season. The
cries were heard from a long distance by the guide, who rushed off to
go and see the wonderful sighting of a lioness swimming through the water
with her 2 new cubs following in hot pursuit but not really enjoying
the water. All of a sudden the cubs were getting further and further
behind. The cries from the cubs then made the mother turn around from
the small dry island. Then silence, the little bodies not even moving
any more, they had drowned. Everybody was thinking that she had gone
all the way back to help them. What was she doing? Was she trying to
revive them or pick them up? No she slowly tears into one of the cubs
and takes it across to the island where there is a noise of another cub
which has obviously made the dangerous crossing. She gives it to the
wet and cold cub and it immediately starts to feed on the remains. The
mother returns to the other drowned cub and does exactly the same thing
and moves off onto the island where the other cub is busy feeding. We
have seen the lioness but there has not been another glimpse of the last
cub since the afternoon of that fateful day.
As the animals are busy with the new waters so too is the lodge as the
high season really comes into its own. Many visitors from all over the
world: some for the first time and others with the African dust still
on their shoes from the last time they visited Botswana. It has been
a month of many 'newlyweds' as well, congratulations!
The evenings are filled with the sounds of lions
calling the night away. The night skies are just breathtaking. Winter
is here to stay but each day is different and is definitely the time
of layers. So bring the warm cloths so that you can put them on and
then take them off from the icy fingers of winter, reaching as low
as 10°C in the evenings. The days
are great but only reach the lower 20's°C, so find your spot in the
The 3 cubs from the resident pride of lions have also been reduced to
2. No one knows exactly what happened but the water has played a role,
as the last time the little one was seen she was very wet and shivering.
The other 2 cub have survived and are doing fantastically well, both
providing great fun around the mother and even with the father. They
have even been seen by our taking some meat for the first time with a
kill that was made right in front of camp. The males were so busy fighting
over the small red lechwe that pieces were left all over the place and
therefore safe for the young ones to eat the scraps. The pride has made
the Kwetsani floodplains their home and we see them around the camp as
well as the nearby area.
The leopardess with her 2 cubs we have not seen recently (due possibly
to the presence of the lions) but presume that they are doing well. The
Jao leopard cub however is getting bigger by the day. The cub and his
mother are doing really well and seem to be able to stay out of trouble.
We have not seen them on so many kills but maybe the mother is catching
smaller prey so that the cub is able to learn the skills necessary for
its future. Both can be seen often in the trees together in the classic
leopard position draped on a branch. There are not so many elephant bulls
in the camp area but we have been seeing more breeding herds around the
Hope that we will see you in this amazing water paradise!
In general birdlife has been fantastic and we have been able to get out
on the motor boats. Driving has been almost as wet and sometimes we forget
that a 4.5 engine is not as good as the 60 horse power in the water...
the water flowing over the land river bonnet soon reminding us of this
Camp update - June 06 Jump
to Duba Plains
The past week has been another great period at Duba. The Tsaro Pride
has been seen almost every day. The pride remains fragmented however,
as at least two females are lactating and we believe that they have newly
born cubs that have not yet been introduced to the rest of the pride.
Two weeks ago, we found some of the pride feeding on a dead elephant
bull that had died of old age.
The young male, sole survivor of 53 cubs produced by
the Tsaro Pride over the last few years, is doing well and at 7 months
should make it to adulthood if his fathers, the dominant male 'Duba Boys',
are not evicted before the end of this year. Although we have not witnessed
any male intruders into the Duba Boys' territory, both Boys have been
heard making territorial calls to the east of the concession in the early
morning. We know that a Pantry male, now 4 years old, uses this area
together with two surviving lionesses and there is also a possibility
that the Kwedi Pride (13 strong) are interested in obtaining access to
the ~1000 strong buffalo herd that comprises the bulk of the territorial
The Skimmer Pride has not been seen this week, though we hear calls
to the north of camp in the early morning. Perhaps this is the Skimmer
Pride or the remnants of the Pantry Pride.
The buffalo herd have split into three kinship groups. This is to be
expected at this time of year, especially as the flood is high and available
grazing is limited.
Elephants are returning in numbers.
During winter Duba hosts some of the most phenomenal elephant sightings
in Southern Africa, as vast numbers of elephant graze the Couch grass
on the open plains - an amazing sight. This week has been no exception
and last Tuesday we saw a baby elephant, so small that it was still
pink; probably no more than two weeks old.
Duba rocks! Come and visit soon!
by Paul de Thierry
Jack's Camp update
- June 06 Jump
to Jack's Camp
ADD WATER AND STIR!
I have just returned from completing my annual stint of Guide Training
in the Makgadikgadi.
One afternoon, Glyn Maude (the Brown Hyaena Researcher) came over with
his laptop to show us a download that he had just received from a GPS
collar of the main breeding female. On the screen, we could see where
the female had been visiting the same spot for the last ten days. I know
the area well and it is virtually impenetrable as it is a thicket of
acacia - the perfect place to hide something...
We set out on foot with the Bushmen Trackers to recce the area. It was
absolutely incredible. In the middle of the thicket, we found a huge
disused aardvark burrow system. The surrounding area was strewn with
bones, feathers and porcupine quills. At the entrance of one of the many
holes, were the tell-tale miniature tracks of brown hyaena cubs! Thank
The only "problem" with the den site
was that due to it being located in such a dense stand of acacia, it
was completely inaccessible for game viewing purposes. We have therefore
had to be patient because in our experience, the brown hyaena will
then after a month or two move the cubs out to an abandoned aardvark
den right on the edge of the salt pans which is obviously fantastic
for all of us to visit.
Two weeks ago the female made the move and now after almost a year of
absence, the browns are back in their main den site just a short drive
from the camps.
They have two cubs that are rapidly becoming totally habituated to us
and the great thing about the browns is that the cubs will remain at
the den site for fifteen to seventeen months. The den site becomes the
focal meeting place for the entire clan. Over the next few months, we
will be able to observe the comings and goings of all the individuals
which will really help us work out who is who in the zoo.
This year, rains have been exceptionally good in the area. We have recorded
the second highest rainfall experienced in my lifetime. Visiting Jack's
and San Camp is more like being in the Okavango Delta during the annual
The pan in front of Jack's Camp is still wall to wall with water and
we expect the water to remain until well into September. This is the
most magical time in the Kalahari and it only occurs once every five
or six years where it is dry enough to go out on the quad bikes and experience
the enormity of the pans and, at the same time, to have the privilege
of witnessing the last substantial migration to occur in Southern Africa:
Tens of thousands of zebra and wildebeest and their attendant predators.
One can drive for hours constantly surrounded by a 360-degree view of
zebra extending all the way to the horizon and no sign of any other human
life. And, if one averts one's gaze from this awe-inspiring annual wildlife
spectacle, one will witness the extraordinary sight of the pans surrounding
the camp filled with water and flocks of unusual migratory waterbirds
and pockets of preening pink flamingo that arrive by the hundreds of
thousands to gorge on the fleeting feast of brine shrimps and red algae.
The Mowana troop of meerkats is really happy to
have once more have some dry land underfoot! During the rains, we actually
saw them swimming - the first time that this has ever been observed.
Not that they really wanted to but they had no choice in the matter!
The alpha female is again pregnant and is as round as a little furry
barrel. We'll keep you posted on her developments - our very own 24:7 "Meerkat Manor"!
One of the highlights of anybody's visits to the
area is learning about the Kalahari from the true experts. A walk through
the bush with the Joan/hoasi San Bushmen is a real privilege. There
is absolutely nothing that they don't know about this primeval environment.
This is "Survivor" but
the authentic and ancient version thereof...
After the great summer rains, the Kalahari grasslands are reverting to
their classic winter shades of gold and silver.
Typical desert conditions of lovely sunny days and crisp nights. Minimums
have been as low as 3°C during the nights and a maximum of 30°C
during the day.
This month has had great with consistent sightings of aardvark, caracal
and aardwolf. The brown hyaena are back at their den site. The zebra
and wildebeest migration is still out in full force and will be until
well into August/September. A lot of lion activity - particularly with
regard to the heavy concentrations of zebra and wildebeest. Meerkats
all performing well and the alpha female pregnant.
Birdlife has been fantastic. We had the Botswana rarities expert come
in to have a look at all the birds that were attracted by the huge
amounts of standing water in the area. There is exceptional nesting
of waterbirds including White-backed and Maccoa Ducks, Great Crested
Grebe etc, too many to mention and of course, hundreds of thousands
Palmwag Rhino Camp Newsletter - June 06 Jump
to Palmwag Rhino Camp
After a week of running the Children in the Wilderness programme at
the end of May it took us a day or two to get camp ready for the first
guests. We still pick up the odd forgotten bead or piece of string around
camp and are instantly transported back to the fun-filled camps and exceptional
children that we hosted.
The east wind also started early in June, it usually
starts very early in the morning - blows the whole day and dies down
at night, making for pleasant evenings. It can be unpleasant at times
and taxing on guests, guides and animals alike. As soon as the east
wind stops and the west wind blows in from the coast it gets very cold
again - resulting in temperatures as low as 3°C. This windy weather
(which makes tracking animals difficult) and the fact that the very
good summer rains have dispersed all the game away from their normal
permanent springs, have meant that rhino sightings have been difficult
to come by. We did however get good sightings in the eastern hills
of the Agab River valley of Tina and calf. Ben the dominant bull was
occasionally seen. Des and her four month old calf were also seen along
the Agab-Uniab confluence. Takamitha, Diana's previous calf was seen
wandering with Ben in close proximity. The highlight of the month,
of course, was seeing Diana with her new calf, less that a week old.
After that sighting we stopped tracking Diana so that no unnecessary
stress was put on her and her calf. The bull, known as Speedy, seems
to have moved east through the veterinary fence after a radio transmitter
was implanted in his horn in April.
We also had good lion sightings. Two male lions were seen at Abba Agab
Spring while two females were seen on the plains to the south-east of
camp. A lioness with 3 cubs was also seen between Salvadora Spring and
Groot Agab spring. An old lone elephant bull was frequently seen moving
up the Agab River while a breeding herd of five elephants including two
adult females was once seen in the Uniab close to the Aub junction. The
area around Wereldsend Spring and Zebra Spring is abounding with plains
game: hundreds of zebra, thousands of springbok and plenty of gemsbok.
There is also a herd of nine kudu around camp and we were excited to
flush an aardwolf while tracking the elephant breeding herd on foot.
Hundreds of Sandgrouse chicks, some as small as the circle
your thumb and 2nd finger makes are seen often along the road, very well
disguised. Small horned adders were also seen on a frequent basis.
Our staff village and kitchen has been upgraded. The kitchen is slightly
bigger and also on a deck now so we will be safe next year from rivers
through the kitchen. There are also proper doors now, whereas previously
we had a meru-style tent with only the normal flaps - so the doors will
now keep out the small spotted genet, favouring the breakfast muffins.
We are also in the process of building a guides unit and another store
We also had the privilege of hosting the Minister of Environment and
Tourism and his party for one night in Camp. We were lucky to find old
Ben on the way out so we could show the Minister what we do and how we
Cafema Camp Newsletter - June 06 Jump
winter has really only started now. Night time temperatures
are around 13ºC while the warmth of the sun brings day
time temperatures up to 30ºC. The mornings are truly
spectacular now, with the most amazing sight of mist covering
our whole valley. As the sun starts to break through, the
mist looks like steam coming off the Kunene River.
We have built an additional room, overlooking the river
and situated just next to the rapids, and have converted
two of our other rooms into a family unit. The unit consists
of two rooms in close proximity with connecting balconies,
which now allows us to accommodate families with ease. We
are also giving the camp a facelift by re-sanding and re-varnishing
the wooden decks. The greenness of the vegetation into which
Serra Cafema has been built gives the whole camp the atmosphere
of an oasis.
The area around Serra Cafema is looking spectacular. On
the Namibian side, red dunes, covered with the annual golden
grass and on the Angolan side, dark brown mountain tops covered
with the same grass make the combination of colours a phenomenal
sight. This year's seemingly never-ending rainy season did
wonders for our environment.
Increasing numbers of healthy, well-fed animals, such as
springbok and gemsbok, can be seen in the area, a herd of
springbok being generally the first sighting guests are treated
to on their way from the airfield to the lodge. A phenomenal
experience is waking up to baboons shouting and moving noisily
along the dunes just above the camp, with the juveniles playing
like kids in the dunes.
Some of the regular activities by guests
over June yielded the following:
· Good bird watching
on the Kunene River boat cruises including sightings of White-breasted
Cormorant, White-browed Coucal and Goliath Herons.
· Scattered herds of oryx and springbok in the relatively
verdant Hartmann's Valley.
· Klipspringer at Bogenfels and the waterfall on the
· Good raptor viewing including a Tawny Eagle and
pair of Black (Verreauxs') Eagles at Lion River canyon.
· And of course, a constant reminder why we do not
engage in a refreshing bath in the river, the ever-present,
dark green shapes, floating just under the surface or resting
on the banks, our Nile crocodiles, which you will be able
to observe on one of our lazy sundowner boat trips, with
our newly upgraded alu-boat.
We have recently added 2 new game drive vehicles and 12
fully automatic quad bikes to our fleet and continued to
host a series of guests during their life-changing journey
with Wilderness Safaris.
Some comments form our guests:
is like Serra Cafema, it's worthwhile getting there."
"Wow! Paradise - heaven - extraordinary."
"I have never experienced anything so incredible."
"Serra Cafema is truly the 'Gem' of Namibia."
"Wonderful, exceptional, awesome, simply a superb stay."
"We have had one of the most exciting experiences."
Ongava update - June 06 Jump
has been fantastic with winter just arriving now. In the mornings
the weather is great, dropping to about 9-10°C
in the early hours but then warming up in the sunshine. During
the evenings, temperatures drop again to about 15°C.
In this drier time of the year, game viewing at Ongava has
been outstanding and we have given our guests a unique experience
in enjoying a truly wild destination in one of the finest
and well managed private game reserves in the country. Most
of the rain-filled ponds are drying up and this has led to
huge concentrations of game at waterholes. The most noticeable
one is the waterhole in front of the camp, where large numbers
of eland, kudu, gemsbok, waterbuck, black-faced impala, plains
zebra, red hartebeest, blue wildebeest and many more are
being viewed every day. Black rhino are back almost every
single night at the waterhole and the hide is providing a
closer look at this rare species.
A highlight in this regard was viewing the territorial fight
between two dominant bulls, 'Lloyd' and 'Etosha', which happened
just before dinner and it took almost 20 minutes before the
loud grunting, squirming and blood spilling stopped. Guests
were amazed and gained a new respect and understanding of
the intensity of territorial conflicts in this huge species
that can lead to death. Good news though, is that both rhinos
are okay and the wounds they got are not life threatening.
Lions sightings have been great, with the 'Etosha Pride'
still controlling the Sonop and Alan Dam area and 'Stompie's
Pride' the area between Ongava Tented Camp and Little Ongava.
We suspect that one of the young lionesses in the latter
pride has given birth to cubs in the Talcum Powder area and
the competition is on to see which guide and his guests will
be the lucky first viewers of the new arrivals.
White rhino are still viewed frequently
in the Sonop area but the drying of water points has meant
that some have moved into the Alan Dam area with some still
living at Baboon Dam. Etosha is also thriving at the moment
with large concentrations of game at the water points and
the return of the huge breeding herds of elephant. From
an environmental point of view "there
is nothing better than combining Ongava and Etosha wildlife's
For birdwatchers, thousands of Red-billed Queleas covering
the whole sky has probably been the highlight of the month.
Ongava Research Centre has also now officially opened. It
is headed by Dr. Ken Stratford and we are all excited that
it will support us with important and valuable information.
Finally I would like to leave you with
the quote of the month from some of our American guests: "We
cannot believe that the rest of Africa will be as beautiful
as this. Your lodge is beautiful and comfortable and the
staff is beyond compare."
Management, Guide and Staff of Little Ongava
Nawas Camp update - June 06 Jump
As of July, we've been open for one year, and as a proud
team of Doro Nawas, we have the following to share about
our camp, the newest Wilderness Safaris camp in Namibia.
Over the past few months, we had received quite heavy rainfall
by the area's standards, and the result is that the vegetation
surrounding the low rugged knoll on which the camp is situated
is good: the grass has grown so tall that you hardly see
the baby ostriches at their mothers' heels, the middle of
the plain is characterised by the abundant yellow flowers
of the devil's thorn and interspersed with vast mats of Zygophlum
simplex and an as yet unidentified greeny-yellow succulent.
This vegetation and the change in season
(winter has started now and the wind blows during the day
while night-time temperatures have dropped and on some
mornings mist is visible) have meant that the desert-adapted
elephants have moved back into the area and are being seen
on a regular basis. We estimate that we see these animals
on 85% of our game drive activities. There is even an animal
among them that carries a radio transmitter and has moved
into the area from further north. Other species seen on
the game drive excursions lately have been springbok, gemsbok,
ostrich, brown hyaena, black-backed jackal and bat-eared
fox. It is Namibia's endemic birds that attract some of our
guests of course and we're proud to boast the following regularly
seen endemic species: Rüppell's Korhaan, Monteiro's
Hornbill and Benquela Long-billed Lark.
Aside from game drives out onto the plains and into the
Huab and Ab-Huab Riverbeds, and the outings to Twyfelfontein,
we have also developed a short walking trail. The Sandstone
Ridge trail has started well and guests enjoy the trail,
especially in the afternoon when the weather is pleasant.
It is a moderately strenuous guided walk, which encourages
guests to stop frequently and enjoy the endless vistas of
the desert wilderness in a truly remote part of Namibia.
Other exciting news is that the mountain biking activities
will be starting quite soon; all the guides are thrilled
about this activity. Doro Nawas and our neighbouring Damaraland
Camp are the only camps within Wilderness Safaris Namibia
that can explore their unique areas by bike.
Some other news from Doro Nawas concerns our guides. Rosalia
Haraes, the head guide here, has been a guide with Wilderness
for the past ten years. She is motivated, always passionate
about nature and loves her work. She is a great example to
all Namibian women and has recently been employed as an Explorations
guide to be based in Windhoek. Well done! Rosie, all the
best for your new job, and for your future.
Rosta Janik has replaced Rosie in her position as a guide
and will be helping out through the high season at our Camp.
Welcome on board, Rosta!
As the busy season is starting now, we will, as a team put
in our outmost best to fulfil the values and principles of
Wilderness Safaris and provide the best service possible
for our guests.
Cheers from the heart of Damaraland,
Doro Nawas Camp
Rocktail Bay Dive Newsletter - June 06 Jump
to Rocktail Bay Lodge
June began wonderfully
with water temperatures at 24° Celsius,
warm, sunny days and great sea conditions. Sightings of humpback
whales increased and bottlenose and spinner dolphins were seen.
Then the weather seemed to fall out of sync with the divers
- just as the divers arrived at the lodge, so did the cold fronts from
the Cape. These cold fronts lasted between two to three days each time
they arrived and played havoc with the sea, causing big swells which resulted
in sand being churned up on most of the dives. Then as the divers left,
the fair weather returned, until the next group of divers and
cold fronts arrived simultaneously. This pattern unfortunately persisted
right throughout the month. One diver who didn't seem to be bothered in
the least was 14-year-old Charlotte Stewart, who recently qualified here
as a PADI Junior Open Water diver and was back to see more
fish. Diving in 2.5-metre swells, with lots of surge for the first time,
Charlotte was a great dive buddy to her dad and made sure to stay with
Clive who was divemaster for the dive. She even had the longest dive time
of the group! Well done Charlotte, keep up the good diving!
"Thanks to the dive team, I had a great time. I swam in the wonderland
that is known as the sea. It was great to be back. When I get home everyone
will hear about my adventures!" - Charlotte Stewart, Johannesburg,
We have seen quite a lot of rays at the surface this month: A graceful
manta ray, turning from side to side, sticking first his left wing out
of the water, then his right; groups of devil rays have been entertaining
us with their backward summersaults, jumping clear out of the water,
as they often do. Quite surprisingly, Darryl saw a spotted eagle ray
jumping out of the waves and belly-flopping back down. These rays are
normally seen gliding along the reef, not jumping out of the water. Perhaps,
as with the humpback whales, it could be a mating ritual or a way to
tickle one's belly, or just plain jumping for joy!
This time of year everyone is listening out for news regarding the Sardine
Run - dubbed the 'greatest shoal on earth' and rightly so. Millions of
sardines travel northwards from the Hout Bay area in the Cape, as far
up as Durban, during their annual spawning ritual. There are so many
of them that if viewed from the sky it literally looks as if a black
river is winding its way through the sea. This is an easy feast for many
creatures, including dolphins, whales, sharks, game fish, seals, various
birds and humans of course. Although the sardine run does not stretch
as far up as where we are, we have certainly noticed a lot of juvenile
and adult Cape Gannets around our area, looking for food. Reports so
far are not positive as to whether the sardine run will happen this year
or not, one reason they say could be that the water temperatures are
still too high for these fish and that this will hold them back.
Can't win them all, looking forward to getting Neptune on our side next
month for some better diving conditions!
Darryl, Clive, Michelle
The Rocktail Bay Dive Team
Camp (northern Kruger) Newsletter - June 06 Jump
It seems as though the mid-winter rains have brought a small
bit of greenery back onto the concession, although the area
has been pretty dry in places so I am not sure how long it
will last. On the 8th June we had 4mm; 21 June we had 10mm
and on the 30th of the month 8mm. Unusual for this time of
the year but at least the grazers may have a little more food
before the main dry season hits us. This however has not dampened
our game viewing.
Here are some of our special sightings for the month of June.
4 June - no fewer than 28 crocodiles seen on a sandbank in
the drying Limpopo River.
16 June - a medium-sized crocodile was seen feeding on a python
from main deck (the python had tried to swim across the Luvuvhu
River and was caught by the croc)
22 June - a Martial Eagle was seen pursuing and catching a
Crested Guineafowl along the riverbank opposite the main deck.
25 June - 2 sable bulls were seen crossing the Pafuri main
road by Simon. We are not yet sure of the total population
of this antelope species in the concession area, but numbers
in Kruger have dwindled in recent years and any sighting is
27 June - a Pel's Fishing Owl was seen on a stump in the river
from the main deck during dinner.
Elephant sightings almost daily across the concession - the
herds have definitely moved back into the area. Six elephant
bulls are frequently around camp during the warmer parts of
Three aardvark sightings, two from the boardwalk in camp which
passes above a currently occupied burrow.
26 June - Another interesting one was a group of Great White
Pelicans flying east along the Luvuvhu River.
We recorded a total of 129 species this month. They included:
Pel's Fishing Owl, Malachite Kingfisher, Horus Swift, Great
White Pelican, Groundscraper Thrush, Crimson-breasted Shrike,
Mocking Cliff Chat and Striped Pipit. Just to whet your appetite!
It is great once again to be having regular sightings of elephant
and one of the best ways of viewing them, for me anyway,
is watching them from our main deck as they drink from or
bathe in the Luvuvhu River. They can entertain you for hours.
We are still seeing large herds of buffalo with many of the
herds seen this month consisting of 100+ individuals.
Other sightings during the month of June include: Aardvark,
aardwolf, honey badger, spotted hyaena, black-backed jackal,
bush pig, sable, eland, porcupine, as well as some of our regulars
such as impala, nyala, kudu, bushbuck, warthog, waterbuck,
chacma baboon, just to name a few. Leopard and lion sightings
were surprisingly fewer than during May with the Pafuri lion
pride seen approximately every third day and leopard on a weekly
Rainfall for the month, unseasonal as it was, was measured
as 22mm. Our minimum temperature was 11.4°C, while the
maximum temperature recorded was 29.7°C.
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