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AFRICAN SAFARI NEWS

October 2007

(Page 2 of 2)

Page 1 Updates
Wilderness Safaris News - Info and updates from Wilderness Safaris.
• North Island Dive Report from the Seychelles.
• Monthly update from Kalamu Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Shumba Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Busanga Bush Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Lunga River Lodge in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Kings Pool Camp in Botswana.
Kwando Safaris game reports.
• Monthly update from Mombo Camp in Botswana.

Page 2 Updates
• Monthly update from Kwetsani Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Jao Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Jacana Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Vumbura Plains in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Makalolo Plains in Zimbabwe.
• Monthly update from Mana Canoe Trail safari in Zimbabwe.
• Monthly update from Pafuri Camp in South Africa.
• Monthly update from Little Kulala Camp in Namibia.


Kwetsani update - October 07                Jump to Kwetsani Camp

61 days left in this year, with the sounds of the cicada (Christmas beetles) ringing in the trees. The horizons are changing, the clouds are building, and the rains are on the way, which will bring new life into the Delta.

Days have risen into 40°C, but the September winds have not blown away. We had 24mm of rain this month and the Delta with all its flora and insects has transformed into an amazing show of colour and fruits. The brown-veined white butterfly is the most widespread and abundant in the Okavango Delta. They are migratory butterflies and believe it or not, only fly in a north-easterly direction, en route for food; they also only feed off blue flowers in floodplains. The sausage tree is one of the most well known trees, apart from the baobab. Its large sausage-like fruits up to 5kg are eaten by the Meyers Parrots, baboon, buffalo and giraffe. The water levels have gone down and we only have the water marks around us to remind us what a full oasis of water it was just recently.

Kwetsani looks like a devastated war field with elephants - Earth's last remaining land giants - on the move looking for water. Kwetsani has had hundreds of elephant pass by and through over the last month. As they move with the receding water to maintain their daily intake of 160 litres. Guests have had a great time game viewing this month as the driving areas get larger.

The amount of dry land has grown as the water disappears and for the lions this comes with new challenges. A new pride of five lions have moved into the area. Buffalo are starting to make an appearance, as well as giraffe and zebra ahead of the rains. It is like a mini-migration in to the delta as the grazing area grows.

Woodland Kingfisher at Kwetsani

The birding has been mind-blowing with all different colours and calls making early morning and siesta time a choir of sound. Almost every migratory species is here including the Paradise Flycatcher and the Woodlands Kingfisher; these are two extraordinary birds.

The Woodlands Kingfisher is a summer visitor to the Delta, mainly found in woodland or dense riverine bush... calling all day long. Breeding takes place from November to March, in a hole in a tree. Despite their name, they tend to feed on lizards, insects and frogs.

The Paradise Flycatcher is so small yet fearless, as the male builds his nest from leaves, twigs and spiders webs for his babies and fights off even the largest owl to protect his new family.

Sundowners at Kwetsani camp

Mekoro have been a big favourite with all the guests now in October. Lowering water levels bring all the water birds, insects and frogs within close viewing, as they meander silently though the shallow floodplains and papyrus beds. Returning from the activity to a bush snack and sundowners as the sun sets in the west create memories forever.

For all those reading our page, please come visit us in our beautiful Okavango paradise. Thank you to those that did visit us this month and we hope to see you back very soon.

Regards from Kwetsani

 

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Jao Camp update - October 07               Jump to Jao Camp

October did not live up to its sultry, scorching reputation this year. The month started with some lovely showers and within days developed into impressive lightening shows with the sharp cracks and rumbles of a thundering sky. However, during the days it remained a pleasant average of 30-36°C. Towards the end of the month it heated up quickly to 40°C. The highs disappeared as quickly with the help of some more light rains and overcast clouds.

The water levels in the boat channels have diminished and we are nearing the time when we wrap up the motor boating for the year. It has been a great boating season this time around. This month our guests have been thrilled with hippo splashing about, and elephant wading through the waters.

The breeding herd of elephant has still been making their way around the area, pulling on high branches and redecorating our Delta gardens. Young ones, trying to keep up with their older siblings, have been entertaining as they climb over dead trees, which the long legs of older elephants easily overcome. A quick tumble and they're back on track.

Elephants at Jao Camp

Lots of the visiting fishermen and first-time fishermen have been especially delighted with the bathing elephants as they are casting their lines into the Delta. Catfish, tiger fish, bream and all sorts of interesting species have been pulled out of the waters for a quick snapshot before being released.

Our resident Martial Eagle female has been at it again, being caught on camera swiping another steenbok. This seems to be her prey of choice and has refined her technique so that a swift swoop is all it takes for a decent meal. Our guest Tate, a repeat visitor to Jao, was the lucky one to capture this moment.

Martial Eagle with Steenbok kill

A new lion pride has roared into the Jao concession to stir things up a little amongst the cats. Two adult females, two sub-adult females and one handsome sub-adult male took our guides by surprise as they roamed around our floodplains very relaxed and confident. One afternoon, a leopard tortoise became the element of entertainment for the fine-looking male as he tried to 'open' the hard, spotted-shelled creature. This seemed to amuse him for quite some time. The leopard tortoise was left unscathed but surely quite dazed; a lucky escape.

Our two resident male lion brothers have been lazing around the area lately. It seems they have been getting up to mischief when no-one is watching as they have often been found beaten, bloody and bruised. They are a tough pair and no doubt have been protecting their territory or fighting between themselves over the new females.

Lion attempting to eat a Leopard Tortoise

Jao Island has been grazed by three healthy buffalo that have weaved their way in and around Jao's raised walkways. Our guests have watched from a height as they rustled amongst the bushes. Our resident female leopard has finally been spotted after being very well camouflaged for the most of October. She was found crossing the Jao Bridge, otherwise known as 'the catwalk', strutting her way onto the island. Hopefully she will linger around for the upcoming months and pose gracefully for the paparazzi.

Lastly on wildlife, a quick note on our resident female Crested Francolin; two new chicks have delighted us behind the scenes at Jao. You will often find Francolins in the area and are commonly recognised by the way they run forward, desperately trying to escape the approaching game vehicles; they are always running in the wrong direction!

Crested Francolins

Our guests have been privileged to experience our staff randomly breaking into song from time to time. Ululating has become a common call around camp, and a little more practice from our visitors wouldn't go astray. And Jao has been privileged to have such wonderful people from over the world visiting us here. We would especially like to thank our three groups of repeat guests. This is truly a compliment and honour for us to have guests visit a second time around.

Here are some comments from our guest book that will hopefully convince you to come for your first, second or third time to Jao Camp:
"It was a wonderful stay with wonderful people and we'll ever forget it. Thank you for all!" -Kurt, Verena and Fritz, Switzerland

"A lifetime experience - Better than we could have imagined! The enthusiasm of everyone is fantastic!" -Bill and Scottie, USA
"Great to return to Jao. Great staff and as always special memories to take home." -Gene, USA
"Thank you so much for sharing our magic. We had a wonderful visit. À très bientôt." -Helen and Rick, UK
"This was our first trip to Africa and our first safari. It is truly magical! Thank you to 'ALL' for your graciousness and warm hospitality." -Kathy and Wally, USA

We are looking forward to the green season here at Jao. See you soon.
Kindest regards,
The Jao Team


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Tubu Tree Camp update - October 07               Jump to Tubu Tree Camp

October has once again emphasised the amazing seasonal changes in wildlife presence that is experienced in the Okavango Delta as a result of the ebb and flow of the massive yearly wave of floodwater. At Hunda Island (on which Tubu Tree Camp is situated) the peak of the flood season occurs during June / July (winter), with the water levels gradually going down until the start of the new flood season during March / April (end of summer). Although we have summer rainfall, the bulk of the floodwater is carried down to the Delta from Angola by the Okavango River.

The extensive land masses, in the form of floodplains that are inundated with water and then exposed again when the floods recede, produce vegetation in accordance with this cycle attracting different species of wildlife as the cycle progresses.

The month of October has brought hundreds of zebra to the floodplains bordering the western side of Hunda Island, and on the morning of writing this newsletter, in excess of two hundred zebra were counted on the floodplain in front of the main camp area. What an awesome sight! Intermingled with the zebra were numerous impala and wildebeest.

Buffalo have also made their way to the Island, and the herd of 70 plus that we quietly watched in the soft, rich light of sunset settling in for the night on a floodplain a couple of days ago has sent us all back to camp in awe of this amazing place on earth.

Because the fruits of the Ilala palms have all been consumed, the elephants have left the camp in peace this month. All of us are enjoying the breather of being able to move around freely again without encountering one of these huge giants around every corner in camp!

Most of the guests in camp recently however did get woken up early one morning by the loud roaring of two male lions walking through camp. When we arrived for breakfast they were feeding on a zebra at the big palm island in front of camp! On another occasion guests being escorted to their rooms by a guide after dinner one night were privileged enough to encounter a leopard next to their pathway! This is quite something to experience while on foot! We are still waiting for the cheetah to arrive, but as the floodplains continue to dry out and the plains game to gather this cannot be far away.

Despite all of these extraordinary experiences, the prize for animal of the month is going to our resident little group of bushbuck in camp. They are the closest real life resemblance of 'Bambi' that you're ever likely to find in Africa! With their tiny, fragile-looking, white-spotted, light brown bodies, they seem to be defenceless against predators. They make up for it with super sharp senses, the ability to move around with extreme stealth, and with a bark that reminds you of your neighbour's German shepherd! The original three females that we had a couple of months ago survived every predator that moved through camp and were joined by two handsome looking males, characterised by their little horns and darker coloration on their bodies.

Now we have two bushbuck babies entertaining us in camp!

Greetings from the Tubu Team


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Jacana Camp update - October 07               Jump to Jacana Camp

After three months, wow, what a change in scenery! We have always heard and seen photos of how it changes from wet season to dry season, but this was amazing, it was like a totally different world. It has changed from a camp completely surrounded by water where we mainly used boats to a camp where we are driving on dry land!

The most amazing experience about this is the changes in the animals and birds in the area. We now have red lechwe walking in front of the camp and some warthogs in camp. We were also amazed by the leopard and lion tracks in and around the camp. We still had our resident elephants moving through camp and leaving their marks on the environment. It was just unbelievable to hear the sounds of lion and hyaena at night.

On the birding side, the loud calls of the African Fish-Eagles have been interrupted by more and more of the lovely sounds of the Woodland Kingfishers making their way into the area.

With the water disappearing day by day, you can hear the hippos moaning and groaning as they all try and hold on to their little bit of paradise. We were also lucky enough to be graced by the presence of some buffalo in the area. Basically all the big boys were moving into town.

The month of October is also the start of our rainy season and it was a welcome sign to see the nice cloud build-up in the afternoons, we were lucky enough to have over 30mm of rain in the first week of the month and you could actually see the wildlife enjoying this welcome water from the heavens. Even though this camp was surrounded by water you can see the difference after a few drops of the precious liquid from the skies.

Once again we were blessed with some wonderful guests from all over the world that came and shared our bit of paradise. It is just amazing to see them all just stunned by this wonderful piece of paradise that we are lucky enough to share with them. It is wonderful to have all these people from all walks of life coming to the bush and just enjoy this wonderful world of ours!

Greetings from the JACANA TEAM


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Vumbura Plains update - October 07               Jump to Vumbura Plains Camp

The month of October brought the first rains of the season to the Delta, and with it, the first migratory birds. Waking up to the call of the Woodland Kingfisher early in the morning has been refreshing and the vegetation is already looking greener and more lush.

Game sightings in and around camp have also been plentiful and exciting, including buffalo, lion and leopard. The Kubu lion pride were seen at the beginning of the month feeding on a sable antelope. Even with their full bellies, the sub-adults proceeded to chase one another and play in the rain. A herd of approximately eight hundred buffalo also caught their interest and the lions half-heartedly followed them for an hour before losing interest.

Big Red's pride was much more successful with the buffalo one week later. After a great deal of stalking, hunting and chasing, they were seen finally taking down a buffalo calf. By mid-October, the Kubu pride was back on form and, rather conveniently, killed a buffalo right outside Vumbura North Camp. The guests didn't even have to leave their rooms for fantastic game viewing!

Our local male cheetah, Vuku, has been seen this month in a variety of different situations. The guests were lucky enough to observe him stalking and taking down a young female reedbuck. He began feeding, but was then shortly chased off the kill by a clan of hyena. Two days later he was found with an impala kill which he managed to retain long enough to eat himself. He was seen in the same area for the next 2 days looking very full and satisfied! He was then seen later in the month being chased in circles by a troop of baboons. It was an entertaining sight for the guests, but seemed very frustrating for poor Vuku.

Three different leopards have been seen in the area in the last month. A young male that was first observed about 5 months ago is now being seen more frequently, along with the resident adult male, Gorasen, and our local female, Selonyana. All of them were seen hunting independently, but only Selonyana made an observed kill - a terrapin, which she devoured swiftly.

An unidentified leopard was even seen making an entrance into a wild dog sighting at the end of the month! A pack of 21 dogs, including 9 pups, had come through the area two days prior and were first seen hunting and killing an impala. The guides kept a close eye on the dogs' movements for the next few days and were rewarded with the sight of a full pack hunt. Two baby tsessebe were the focus of the dogs' attention - they stood no chance with the dogs working as a team to hunt them down. As the kill was made, the pups were squealing for food and the noise and sight of the feeding frenzy was unbelievable. The young tsessebes clearly did not satisfy the dogs as they proceeded to chase an adult red lechwe into the nearby water. The dogs and lechwe all looked nervous as they raced through the water, clearly worried about the presence of crocodiles. As all this was happening, a leopard was observed climbing a nearby tree to get a better view of the events unfolding. It relaxed in the tree for a couple of hours, watching the dogs unsuccessfully chasing the lechwe.

Throughout the month we have had many elephant encounters on drives and within camp. The 'Vumbura' breeding herd has been seen every few days feeding close to the walkway and then drinking and bathing in front of North Camp. General game sightings have also been good with the water holes attracting large numbers of zebra, giraffe, warthog, wildebeest and sable. The hyena den close to camp has proved once again a great spot for close encounters with 9 young pups. They are extremely relaxed and very curious meaning great viewing and photo opportunities for guests.


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Zimbabwe camps
Makalolo Plains update - October 07               Jump to Makalolo Camps

Staff at Makalolo:
Guides: Dickson Dube, Hupu Dube, Lawrence Yohane, Godfrey Khunzi, Raymond Ndlovu.
Hostess and Host: Bekie Ncube and Nelly Chinyere
Management: Amon Johnson

We have had another busy month and we are proud to be part of a team that presents Africa's wildlife, and its environment. The pilots have worked tirelessly bringing in our guests, flying several shuttles a day.

Weather
The October weather has been unusual, with windy and cool days and fresh evenings; there has been a build-up of clouds but no rain to write about. We wait patiently for the rains. Temperatures this month were minimum 18°C and a maximum of 30°C; Rainfall 1.5mm.

Vegetation; Landscape and Water
The landscape has changed: the green leaves on the trees are a contrast to the dusty bare plains and brown grass. Water is still a precious resource, and elephants in their hundreds congregate at the waterholes, waiting their turn for a drink.

Wildlife News
Sightings for September included: white rhino, aardwolf, lesser bushbaby, dwarf mongoose, leopard, eland, slender mongoose, African wildcat, small spotted genet, white tailed mongoose, tree squirrel, banded mongoose, baboon, buffalo, giraffe, scrub hare, hippo, impala, black-backed jackal, lion, roan, sable, springhare, warthog, waterbuck, wildebeest, zebra, elephant, duiker.

Game viewing has been excellent. Leopard sightings have been extraordinary, with three different leopards seen in one night. At this time of the year the predators seem to be in their glory, as food is abundant and hunting it is easier. The herbivores are taking strain due to the depleted food and water resources. Animals approach waterholes nervously, not knowing what will pounce on them.

The sub-adult pride of lions has returned to Makalolo Plains. They are certainly behaving 'badly,' with six buffalo killed in two days. They stalk any animal that comes within their vicinity. There has been lots of action on the plains which have been renamed "the killing fields". A few days later the Ngamo Males announced their presence and the sub-adults abandoned their kills and disappeared into the bush. The area is now covered with vultures and a horde of smelly meat! The vultures were resident around the Somavundla Pan, so full they found it difficult to fly.

Birds and Birding
A total of 131 different bird species were recorded this month. The migratory birds - European Bee-eater, Broad-billed Roller, Lesser Spotted Eagle to mention a few - have been seen and some have started nesting. Some interesting sightings included: An African Fish Eagle was observed on an elephant carcass; a White-headed Vulture was seen feeding on an Egyptian Cobra; Red-headed Weavers have been seen building their nests; Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills have been seen taking food to their nests; An African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene) was seen preying on the nest of a Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill; the male hornbill was mobbing it.

Guest Highlights
"The whole Makalolo Plains experience has been superb. Very informative and attentive guides; excellent accommodation, delicious food. The proximity to the wildlife has been an unforgettable experience. All in all - excellent staff!" J&GR - England
"The elephants at the pool; warm friendly staff and welcoming environment. Very comfortable rooms and beds" KD - USA
"Lions, Leopards, Hyaenas, Elephants, sunsets, fine food, great team, nice room, everything was wonderful" G&B - Switzerland

That's all we have this month - till next month
The Makalolo Team


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Mana Canoe Trail update - October 07               Jump to Mana Camoe Trail

It's getting towards the end of season and instead of slowing down, we are still doing trips every week if not twice a week. Brian and Matthew soldier on down the river battling whatever comes their way and bringing the guests safely into camp.

Weather
We have had a very mild start to October with the September winds still continuing to cool us throughout the day. The temperature started to rise during mid-October to 42 degrees. Miraculously, the night after full moon saw our first spattering of rain. There has not been any since, but it is still very hot and slightly humid.

Landscape and Zambezi River
The baobab trees, normally bare and ugly, have sprouted fresh green leaves and their magnificent white flowers have started to bloom. These flowers are about as large as the sausage tree flowers, but don't be deceived by their crisp white appearance, there will be no pretty fragrance wafting from these flowers. Instead they have a meaty aroma which attracts the bats that pollinate them. The wild mango is ahead and is already dropping its edible, but not so palatable, yellow fruits.

Mana Canoe Trail safari on the Zambezi river

A myriad of butterflies have appeared along the shoreline, adding even more colour to the water's edge. The cicadas and tree frogs are chirping at full volume, enticing the rains to fall. The cicadas are particularly deafening when you canoe past the mopane woodland.

The first rains have caused the earth to burst forth with new life. A sprinkling of new grass can be seen sprouting through the dead leaf matter, a life-saving food source for the animals on the verge of starving. The Crenum minimum Lilies have flowered a little earlier this year. The large white flowers very pleasing to the eye.

Wildlife Sightings
Once again, the lions have been spotted on a walk. A pride of three adolescents and three adults were seen. The youngsters decided to play with a whole herd of buffalo and were swiftly put in their place and surrounded on the tip of an anthill. The older, wiser females watched on in amusement from the shade of a tree as their youngsters learnt a valuable lesson. Even though you might be the king of the jungle, don't try taking on a whole herd of buffalo.

Another, much older female was also seen on the same walk. She was a lot more skittish and very aware of the human presence.

There have also been some great sightings of elephants whilst in the canoes. Some unsuspecting guests slowly glided past an elephant chest deep in water. Everyone was enjoying the tranquillity when the elephant let out an earth-shattering trumpet, terrifying the guests who thought they were about to be attacked and eaten for lunch. When they looked back to see what all the fuss was about, the elephant was once again a picture of peace, eating his weeds in the water. I personally think it was an elephant with a sense of humour. On a walk the guests had the privilege of seeing one of these magnificent mammals stand up on its hind legs in a desperate effort to reach an albida branch.

All the usual suspects are still here. The eland are still looking particularly handsome even though they should be losing condition with the lack of food. The baboons and monkeys are starting to have their babies and little faces can be seen peeping from under the safety of their mothers' limbs. Some of the zebra females are heavily pregnant and look ready to burst. The nyala have been quite elusive this month, obviously hiding further inland as the rains have replenished some of the pans. The kudu are still around in great numbers, their young from last year starting to turn into strong, healthy adults.

Birding
We have regularly heard, but not yet seen the Pennant-winged Nightjars. They have come down from North Africa to breed and have grown their lovely pennants, which are used to attract the females.

A lone Lappet-faced Vulture was seen sitting under the shade of a tree. These vultures are quite uncommon and look like something out of a horror story with their blood-red necks. A whole variety of other migrants are flocking to the warmth of Zimbabwe. We are now beginning to see European Bee-eaters, Emerald Cuckoos and Woodland Kingfishers, the latter two being easily recognised by their calls and can be heard calling in the same areas.

Another migrant, which is the Yellow-billed Kite, regularly visits us in the morning at each campsite in the hope of scavenging a titbit for breakfast.

Guests Comments and Highlights:
"We have really enjoyed the unique and special experience of Mana Canoe Trails. Spending time on and around the river offers a very different perspective."
"Very nice trip that cannot be closer to nature. We discovered many beautiful things with 2 very experienced guides. Everything was perfect at the camp, tents, food, people, views and animals. We will come back ASAP."


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South Africa camps
Pafuri Camp update - October 07               Jump to Pafuri Camp

The summer rains have not yet arrived, but despite this, we have been fortunate that the Luvuvhu River has managed to flow throughout the dry season. In 2005 it dried up for a couple of weeks leaving only a few small pools. After being completely dry during the winter, the Limpopo River also started to flow again during the month of October. Both indicate decent rainfall in the catchment which in the case of the Luvuvhu is largely on the southern slopes of the nearby Soutpansberg mountain range.

From a game viewing point of view, the highlight of the month was the number of lion sightings that we had. During the course of the month, there were 19 days of lion sightings. As has been the trend during the dry season, the majority of these sightings were along the Luvuvhu River. Some of the more interesting lion sightings include the sighting of a mating pair along the banks of the Luvuvhu as well as a sighting of a lioness with four cubs close to Crooks' Corner.

The month produced regular sightings of both breeding herds of elephant and groups of bulls. We also had regular sightings of buffalo with them being seen on 26 days during the month. There are also two bulls which have been spending a great deal of time resting up in the cool water of the Luvuvhu River in front of camp during the heat of the day, making for almost daily sightings from the comfort of camp.

Another highlight for the month has been the increase in the sightings we are having of the white rhino on the concession. In 2005 we reintroduced six white rhino to the area. They have been extremely shy and we have not been having many sightings of them up until this month. During the month we had eight sightings of the rhino and we have found that they are becoming habituated to being viewed both from a game viewing vehicle and on foot as well. This bodes well for the future and justifies our decision to reintroduce the rhino to the area from where they had been absent for more than 100 years.

As far as kills go for the month, we had a couple of interesting sightings. A female leopard was seen feeding on a bushbuck, a male lion was seen feeding on an impala and two crocodiles were seen feeding on a nyala bull in the Luvuvhu River. Pafuri is not just about the big game though. We were also fortunate to witness a Gabar Goshawk feeding on an unlucky Natal Francolin.

As far as the birding in general goes, October is always an interesting month as a result of a number of migrants returning during the month. Birds that fall into this category include Red-chested Cuckoo, Great-spotted Cuckoo and Diederik's Cuckoo. As far as other specials go, the month turned up sightings of White-backed Night-heron, Greater Painted-snipe and Bat Hawk, to name but a few.

We continued to have good sightings of nyala, impala, kudu, bushbuck, chacma baboon, warthog and vervet monkey along the riverine vegetation. There were also a few sightings of eland during the month. As far as antelope go, the highlights were definitely the sighting of a pair of reedbuck, a sighting of a roan antelope and also a sighting of two sable antelope cows. All three of these species (as well as eland) are regarded as being rare antelope with Kruger Park where populations are decreasing. Seeing them in the concession once again highlights the beauty of the place in that one never knows what one will see while out on drive.

As one expects at this time of year, the weather has been hot. The lowest recorded maximum for the month was 23°C. On 15 October the concession was blessed with 25mm of rain which fell in just 30 minutes. This helped settle the dust that has been building up over the course of the dry season.

We look forward to the onset of the summer rains which in turn will green up the concession and bring with them a host of creatures that we have not seen for a number of months.


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Namibia camps
Little Kulala update - October 07                  Jump to Little Kulala Camp

Six months have flown by and it's nearly Christmas, peak season still reigns unabated as we run at 95-100 % nearly every day. So another successful year for Little Kulala. We've had some wonderful guests and stunning staff, some of whom have moved on to bigger and better things (the staff I mean, not the guests). We'll miss Ryan and Bree when they go back to the US at the end of their six month contract - they're enthusiasm, generosity and general good nature has rubbed off on everybody. Richard and Lisa, up in Serra Cafema. Gabriel in Ongava and Ali, no longer our star barman, is instead helping to train recruits for the Namibian Defence Force.

Jenn Dickinson has come over from North Island to head up the team as Lodge Manager which is an exciting development and I know that Lesley (our head chef) and I are ready to help her steer LKC towards the heights we all know we're capable of.

Two weeks ago we surprised all our guests by staring up at the sky, where to all intents and purposes, there was nothing to see. However, the excitement was caused by the first cloud we'd seen since 2006. The cumulonimbuses continue to scud across our plain but as yet no rain has fallen. It's getting hot and midday temperatures are up in the high 40s, with air-con units working hard into the night as well.

Tension at the waterhole keeps us entertained each day as Ostrich, springbok and Namaqua Sandgrouse tiptoe around each other, trying to remember their pecking order. We've also seen a Cape fox and a steenbok drinking together several times who seem to have become friends.

Willem (guide) saw a cheetah between Geluk (our airstrip) and the Naukluft Mountains the day before yesterday which is awesome, and then last night found a porcupine at the sundowner spot, so somebody on high is looking down on him and smiling, I think.

At Little Kulala we really DO change people's lives. Come and see for yourselves?..

Nick Green

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