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AFRICAN SAFARI NEWS

January 2013

(Page 2 of 2)

Page 1 Updates
General Safari News - General information and updates from our partners in Africa.
Wildlife News - Interesting wildlife sightings and photos.
Camp News - Camp specific news, including refurbs, rebuilds, accolades, etc.
• Monthly update from North Island in Seychelles.
• Monthly update from Kings Pool Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from DumaTau Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Savuti Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Zarafa Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Selinda Camp in Botswana.
Kwando Safaris game reports from Botswana.
• Monthly update from Mombo Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Xigera Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Chitabe Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Vumbura Plains Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Little Vumbura Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Duba Plains Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Banoka Bush Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Jacana Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Abu Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Kwetsani Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Jao Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Seba Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Tubu Tree Camp in Botswana.
• Monthly update from Kalahari Plains Camp in Botswana.

Page 2 Updates
• Monthly update from Pafuri Camp in South Africa.
• Monthly update from Pafuri Walking Trail in South Africa.
• Monthly update from Camp Jabulani in South Africa.
• Monthly update from Kings Camp in South Africa.
• Monthly update from Leopard Hills in South Africa.
• Monthly update from Rocktail Beach Camp in South Africa.
• Monthly Dive report from Rocktail Bay in South Africa.
• Monthly update from Makalolo Plains in Zimbabwe.
• Monthly update from Little Makalolo in Zimbabwe.
• Monthly update from Davison's Camp in Zimbabwe.
• Monthly update from Ruckomechi Camp in Zimbabwe.
• Monthly update from Mana Canoe Trail in Zimbabwe.
• Monthly update from Toka Leya Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Lufupa River Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Lufupa Tented Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Kalamu Lagoon Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Shumba Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Kapinga Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Busanga Bush Camp in Zambia.
• Monthly update from Mvuu Camp in Malawi.
• Monthly update from Mvuu Wilderness Lodge in Malawi.
• Monthly update from Mumbo Island Camp in Malawi.
• Monthly update from Chelinda Lodge in Malawi.
• Monthly update from Desert Rhino Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Palmwag Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Doro Nawas Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Damaraland Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Skeleton Coast Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Serra Cafema Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Ongava Tented Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Little Ongava in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Ongava Lodge in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Andersson's Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Little Kulala Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Kulala Desert Lodge in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Kulala Wilderness Camp in Namibia.
• Monthly update from Governors' Camp in Kenya's Masai Mara.
• Monthly update from Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge in Rwanda.


South Africa camps
Pafuri Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Pafuri Camp

No report this month.

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Pafuri Walking Trail update - January 2013               Jump to Pafuri Walking Trail

No report this month.

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Camp Jabulani update - January 2013              

No report this month.

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Kings Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Kings Camp

Happy 2013 to all our regular blog readers, I hope this year brings us more great sightings at Kings Camp. Well this year started off as normal with some scorching days with the temperatures getting into the late 30’s and early 40’s.

floods in the reserve

During this time last year was when we had the floods in the reserve and nothing changed this year, we received between 350 – 400mm of rain towards the end of the month. All the rivers were flowing and many of the dams are overflowing.

Lions
The dominant Mabande males have been around a lot this month. They were seen numerous times mating with two different females, so hopefully there will be some cubs in the next few months. One of the ranger/ tracker teams, Cynet and Sam, were extremely fortunate to watch these two males kill a sub-adult buffalo right in front of them. The Machaton pride was very scarce and now seems to be numbering 2 ( one older female & a sub- adult male ), hopefully there are a few more remaining members still alive. The Mafikizolo pride made a few appearances and unfortunately the one male seems to have lost an eye.

Lion at Kings Camp    Lion at Kings Camp
Lion at Kings Camp    Lion at Kings Camp

Leopard
The leopard viewing has been great once again. The Rockfig Jr female was seen numerous times, letting us into the life of the usually shy animals. Her sub-adult youngster is still doing well and being left for longer periods by himself.  Ntombi female was seen on a few occasions and on one of these took up an awesome spot on a termite mound viewing the impala she had killed recently. She then sauntered down the mound to a small pool of water and drank only 3 meters from the vehicle.

Leopard at Kings Camp    Leopard at Kings Camp

Her son seems to be growing up very quickly and loves the attention he receives from the visitors to Kings Camp. The Marula female is still hanging around the area west of the lodge and providing us with some great viewing. The old grandmother of the area Mbali seems to have given the guides the slip this month as she was not seen very often but her tracks were seen along with a male in the north, so who knows maybe another litter is on the way?

Cape Buffalo & Elephant
A breeding herd of Cape buffalo has been making its way around the southern portion of our traversing. The usual “Dagga boys” still around the lodge keeping us guides on our toes during our bush walks.

Cape buffalo

There were literally tons of elephants seen this month. The breeding herds were fairly well scattered all over the traversing area. This time of the year these huge animals are spoilt for choice when it comes to food. It is always interesting to watch how selective they are when feeding picking out their favorite grasses, leaves and fruits.

Elephant    Elephant at Kings Camp

Special sightings
The African Painted Wolf ( Lycaon pictus ), or Wild Dog gave us many spectacular sightings. The pack of 29 seems to have split, but that hasn’t stopped them. I think every impala on the property feared for its life as these killing machines moved through.

Wild Dog    Wild Dog

One morning whilst out we were fortunate to witness a honey badger digging for what looked like dung beetle grubs, unfortunately it was on one of those wet mornings and my camera was still fast asleep in my room.

On one of the last days of the month something extra special showed up almost on our front door, two cheetah were seen on the aptly named Cheetah Plains, they were a little skittish but great to see none the less.

Giraffe    Butterfly

Stay tuned for next month’s report.

Wild wishes
Dean & the Kings Camp guiding team

Report written by Dean Robinson
Photography by Dean Robinson & Warren Moore

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Leopard Hills update - January 2013               Jump to Leopard Hills

The heavy rains arrived again in force this January, dropping a drenching 170mm in 1 day! A muddy swampland developed for a week or so but thankfully welcome sun dried it out quickly and the landscape is looking breathtaking.

See below image of a handsome giraffe bull in his lush green paradise at sunrise!

Giraffe

Leopards
Hlaba Nkunzi
Her playful female cub is now 5 months old and is becoming bolder and bolder. We have been treated to many special sightings involving the ever patient mother and energetic young cub. This young pretender to the throne has a tough act to follow being the next in the Makwela/Hlaba Nkunzi bloodline and she keeps mom very busy, especially as she has no siblings to practice her hunting skills with.

A patient Hlaba Nkunzi, playing and practising hunting skills with the energetic young female.

Hlaba Nkunzi

Just a friendly pat on the head, "wake up mom"

Leopard family at play

"The protector" holding close with her caring paw the next generation of the fabled Makwela/Hlaba Nkunzi bloodline.

Leopard at play

She has chosen to move more east of Leopard Hills, possibly a choice to take the cub to the protection offered by the experienced Kashane male or that Metsi has pushed her east as they are both providing for young cubs and a prime territory becomes ever more valuable.

Metsi
She has been a bit of a ghost recently, mostly just her tracks have been seen! She did pop up at Leopard Hills access road once and showed her disgust to some impala that were alarm calling at her, see image below.

Metsi

Her cub was seen briefly at month end which is fantastic news and a tribute to the incredible recovery of the Dayone male.

Thlangisa
Still residing up in the north, she surfaces very rarely in the dense environment up there but when she is found she is as playful as always!

Xikavi
As usual in summer and especially this January with the Sand river raging, she is found very rarely.

Kashane
After the interaction with Dayone in the previous blog at the beginning of the month he has been seen briefly once or twice. The 2 big dominant males are respecting each others boundaries at present.

Dayone
Back from his injury with a vengeance this month like nothing even happened! He has reminded us all just how tough these cats are! See blog from earlier in Jan for some video of his successful warthog hunt!

Dayone

Here he is patrolling during the month, with his back leg left leg well and truly healed…

Dayone with injury

Hard to believe it looked like this in November…

Dayone injury

Lions

Selati Coalition
The rulers of the west have had a rather lazy month, spent mostly feeding on their buffalo kills, they have also been introduced to their first progeny by the Ximhungwe lionesses. They faced a brief but unknown threat when the 2 nomadic Sparta/Tsalala males snuck onto their territory way down in the south, killed a buffalo and disappeared as silently as they arrived.

See image below of the healthy young Sparta male, these 2 males are big and strong but up against the 4 mighty Selati's they dont stand a chance.

Lion

Ximhungwe pride

Lioness with cubs

There are 4 confirmed cubs belonging to 2 of the lionesses and a 3rd has visible suckle marks so we will hopefully see even more additions to the Ximhungwe/Selati bloodline soon. The short tail lioness did have 3 but sadly one seems to have disappeared.

Here is short tail with her 2 cubs(they are at least 12 weeks old)…one brave cub demanding extra attention!

Short tail with cubs

Othawa Pride
The Othawa lionesses have been with the Selati's frequently and seem to be enticing them to mate again, seems like their cubs haven't made it for whatever reason. They are young inexperienced lionesses so this is not too much of a surprise given the stress that the Selati Coalition takeover must have caused.

Spotted Hyena Den
The growing 6 month old cubs have returned to the den after the flooding sent them looking for a new home for a week or 2.

Pack of Painted Dogs
See blog from the beginning of the month.

Elephants
All over our traversing area at present.

A rather amusing event unfolded at Christmas with our regular guests, the Nelson's, when a big musth bull interrupted our drink stop. See lonely hot box with some worried guests hoping he doesn't smell their bush mix! Luckily he lost interest when a herd of females arrived. Thanks Ankia for the great image below!

Elephant

Buffalo
The large obstinancy of +- 500 has made a few welcome appearances in the south as the lush green grazing down on the gabbro plains is just too enticing to them!

Interesting sightings in Jan

The sour plums are in full bloom, here is a CMR (Blister) beetle enjoying the juices!

Blister beetle

Always watch your back while enjoying a meal in the bush, here a cape glossy starling almost lost his hard fought centipede meal to a sneaky dwarf mongoose.

Dwarf mongoose and cape glossy starling

Breeding is in full swing, we managed to find a woodland kingfisher nest and here is the female about to take off after feeding a chick, proudly watched by the male.

Woodland Kingisher

For the birders it is always worth waiting for sundown at a drink stop when these crepuscular and nocturnal feeders come out. Here is a pair of black crowned night herons that joined us for our gin and tonic.

Black crowned

Always interesting to see how animals adapt and survive with deformities, this steenbok male we discovered has a permanent headache but still holds a territory.

Steenbok male with deformed horn

Unusually for this time of year we came across this dead impala that had been impaled in the abdomen by another ram! It was late morning so we waited and within 10 minutes the first vultures descended until it was a feeding frenzy of about 30 scavengers!

Vultures descend on dead impala

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Rocktail Beach Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Rocktail Beach Camp

No report this month.

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Rocktail Bay Dive Report - January 2013               Jump to Rocktail Beach Camp

Happy New Year to everyone! May 2013 bring you lots of laughter, happiness and success - and of course lots of magical experiences underwater!

With everyone now back at work or at school, the silly season has come to an end - if you're feeling a bit blue after your holiday - hopefully this newsletter will cheer you up and get you itching to get back under the sea again!

Beach Camp has had a few extra pairs of hands helping out over the holiday season - and these relief managers hailed from Zambia. Chapashia Mbambwa was dying to see for herself what is hidden under the water and she finally got the chance, when she joined us on an Ocean Experience. Once Chapashia put her face into the water at Island Rock, it didn't surface again until we had snorkelled all the way back to the boat! So many amazing little fish to see there - and perfect conditions too! That wasn't the end of her ocean story though - Chapashia loved it so much she decided to challenge herself even more by trying out her hand at the Discover Scuba Course. She sailed through the pool session and the next day in the ocean was no different - 65 minutes later Chapashia had grown a pair of gills! Wow - well done, Chapashia you did fantastically for only your second time ever in the ocean!

Equipment for diving    Diving course

Father and daughter, Heikki and Silva Pelli from Finland, also showed fantastic expertise in the sea - their first day at Beach Camp they tried out fins for the very first time during their snorkel at Lala Nek, and the next day they joined us for an ocean experience and were so competent in the water that Darryl and Ondyne thought they must have been doing this for years! The natural progression was to try out a dive and both were at home under the water - so much so that they did a second dive. They have been wonderfully spoilt by all the sightings in the ocean - and even got to snorkel with a big pod of bottlenose dolphins and a baby after their first dive. The pod was so relaxed that we were able to snorkel with them for ages before finally, tired but happy, we climbed back onto the boat to return to shore.

We've had one or two very windy days this month, but that hasn't deterred the ragged-tooth sharks currently making Island Rock their base. Towards the end of the month we decided to do a raggie dive and as soon as Ondyne hopped into the water to check and see if they were still there, she counted 18 raggies. A few moments later that count had gone up to 30 pregnant sharks! The dive was amazing. There were raggies all around us and one female raggie had so much debris on her teeth it looked like she had a beard growing out her mouth!

Although these female ragged tooth sharks tend not to eat at all during their gestation period, I think the chance of a free and easy meal doesn't go to waste. This proved to be the case for two of the sharks here, since they both had long traces hanging out the side of their mouths. Obviously the tantalising dangling of food off the end of a hook was too much to resist and the evidence of the hook still in their mouths highlighted this. These female raggies have come up to the warmer waters off our coast to wait out their gestation period. They conserve their energy by moving very slowly along the shallow sandy bottom - occasionally they come up to the surface to gulp some air, which helps with their buoyancy back on the bottom - this is the only shark known to do this. Darryl witnessed this peculiar habit the same day and recounted excitedly to the divers what he had seen when they returned to the surface. We all hoped we would see it again - but it's not a common occurrence and we unfortunately didn't get to see another shark displaying this odd practice.

Sights under water    Sights under water

Sometimes nature just does what it does, but it is the funniest thing to watch! During a dive at Brewers Garden, Darryl and Ondyne were watching a big, fat sea cucumber, when out of the blue, out popped the longest, biggest load of recycled sand from its derrière! This is something that happens all the time, but to actually see it, was a first for both of them! The sea cucumber has a useful purpose in the marine ecosystem as it helps recycle nutrients, breaking down detritus and other organic matter, after which bacteria can continue the degradation process. The sea cucumber is related to the starfish and sea urchin. Darryl laughed about it back on the boat and said it's probably something that National Geographic would be falling over themselves to film! If you look carefully at its rear end, you may just notice a fish - most commonly a pearl fish - which makes its home right there! Sometimes worms and crabs will also use this as their home - it's a symbiotic relationship which the pearl fish uses for protection from predation and as a source of food (nutrients passing in and out). As they say, one man's erm um, is another's palace!

Darryl was walking late one afternoon, in the dusk, when he noticed a hump in the backwash and thought it was a loggerhead turtle coming out to lay eggs. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a big brown sharpnose ray, which was drifting up and down the backwash in the shallow water trying to catch mole crabs and ghost crabs. The ray's feeding technique was very clever and extremely interesting to watch: he would catch an incoming wave, and then as the wave receded, he would hang in there until his whole back and eyes were exposed and there he would wait until the last dregs of the receding wave would pull him back into the deeper water. The ray would wait for the next wave and he would glide up the shore, as far as he could safely go, exposing his back and eyes again, before gently slipping back into the deeper water on the receding wave. This just shows the tenacity and lengths to which the ray would go to, to get at the crabs! A very interesting sighting and not one that many people will have witnessed. A walk along the beach here can uncover many secret habits of the marine world!

Sights under water    Sights under water

A cute sighting this time of year is that of turtle hatchlings. This month Mandla spotted the first hatchlings. As Darryl was driving the tractor back from the day's diving, Mandla spotted two nests close to the launch site, which had lots of little tracks leading from them. Darryl and Mandla stopped and quickly dug down to the bottom of the nests to see if there were any little turtles still alive, buried under the sand. They found a total of six tiny loggerheads and quickly put them into some salt water in the boat bucket. These little guys were released that evening - amazing to watch - as soon as a wave reached them, they came alive and instantly started swimming madly out to sea! Let's hope they make it out there - they've got a few years at the surface moving around at the whim of the currents before they will be big enough to swim down and feed off the reef!

Congratulations to the following Divers:
Michael, Lesley, Thomas, Nathalie and Sophie Grober, Mari Strydom, Tom Horler, Ann Wiwitz, Andrew Marshall, Nic and Will Glassock, Chapashia Mbambwa, Heikki and Silva Pelli and Wayne Elkington for completing their PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course.

Karen Dyer for completing her PADI Discover Scuba in the pool - hope the weather holds out next time and you get to enjoy a sea dive!

Nick Neudold for completing his PADI Bubblemaker Course.

Jess Benjamin for completing her PADI Open Water Course.

Josh Benjamin for completing his PADI Rescue Diver Course.

Yours in diving,
Darryl, Clive, Michelle, Ondyne, Mandla and Sipho.
The Rocktail Dive Team

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Zimbabwe Camps
Makalolo Plains update - January 2013               Jump to Makalolo Plains Camp

No report this month.

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Little Makalolo update - January 2013               Jump to Little Makalolo

Weather and Landscape
Compared to last month the rains have reduced a bit, although we still had a total of 201 mm for the month. The temperatures have been fairly low with the maximums ranging between 20 - 30° C and the minimum for the month being 17° C.

As we started the month off with decent rainfall, the landscape is looking incredibly green and lush - the wild flowers are blooming and all the natural waterholes are filled to the brim. The ecosystem looks really healthy and rejuvenated.

Wildlife around Little Makalolo

Wildlife
It seems that the extensive herds of elephant that we are used to have moved deep into the thick woodlands. It is great to see the elephants thriving and looking healthy once again, especially after watching them struggle over the drier months.

The rains and resultant vegetation explosion has caused many species of wildlife to give birth, in turn creating a feeding frenzy for a number of predatory species. We have enjoyed some great sightings of lion and cheetah with their respective cubs, and wild dogs with their pups. The predatory highlight for the month was the cheetah kill that happened very close to camp: a female cheetah brought down an impala and then her three cubs were called in to feast on the carcass.

Two elephant bulls that were in musth stuck around the camp area and caused a bit of excitement, as well as adding the unmistakable scent of musth to the air. Buffalo have also not disappointed this month - we enjoyed some great sightings of these bulk grazers.

Ngamo and Ngweshla were game viewing hotspots this month as two young male lions have been concentrating their movements around these areas, reminding some of us of the legendary Ngamo Boys that used to frequent the area.

Hippo at Little Makalolo    Elephant at Little Makalolo

Birds and Birding
Birding has been amazing with lesser-spotted eagles dominating the sightings on the migrants' side. African and corncrakes have been sighted on Linkwasha Vlei.

Ngamo has been an area not to miss for birders as it has been so active - whiskered terns displaying and courting, and lesser jacana and maccoa duck being the highlights on the Ngamo floodplains.

Guest Comments
"The whiskey by the fire, the game drives especially the two leopards and the warm welcome and discussions with nice staff at dinner were my highlights!"

"The variety and quantity of animals, birds and the friendliness and skills of the staff and guide. It was all magic and special. You are a credit to your country."

Staff in Camp
Managers: Charles Ndlovu, Cosam Milazi and Vimbai Mandaza.
Guides: Dickson Dube, Brian Pangidzwa, Honest and Robert.

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Davison's Camp update - January 2013

No report this month.

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Ruckomechi Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Ruckomechi Camp

No report this month.

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Mana Canoe Trail update - January 2013               Jump to Mana Canoe Trail

No report this month.

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Zambia camps
Toka Leya Camp update - January 2013
              Jump to Toka Leya Camp

Weather and Landscape
This month we experienced some hot and humid conditions due to the rain that we received over January. In terms of temperature, daily averages ranged between 25 - 39° C.

The 166 mm of rain which we received did a great job in transforming the landscape into a lush and green wonderland for the wildlife.

Girafe visiting Toka Leya Camp    Zebra at Toka Leya Camp

Wildlife
Although the bush is wet and thick, sightings have continued to be good. Some of our lucky guests that have come through this month have had the opportunity to see one or more of the white rhino in the area, either on game drive or while on a walking trail. Tracking rhino on foot is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which really involves all the senses.

Elephant and buffalo sightings have been excellent, as large numbers of these herbivores were encountered daily. Zebra, giraffe and wildebeest were also prolific.

With the rain which we received this month, the water levels of the Zambezi have risen by about one metre. The river is now even more impressive, making for some exciting boat trips with some great views of hippo and crocodile.

Buffalo at Toka Leya Camp    Elephant at Toka Leya Camp

Birds and Birding
With the rains, the bush comes alive with the sounds of frogs - tree frogs, rain frogs, bubbling kassinas and bull frogs. Add to that all the sight of the large raptors circling overhead and looking for prey, and the storks and herons marching through the grass picking out the frogs and termites as they go.

Guest Comments
"The ultimate way to relax after a safari. A beautiful lodge and perfect location. Thank you!"

"Lovely! So nice to be surrounded by nature in all its forms. Thank you."

Staff in Camp
Managers: Solly Tevera, Jacque Munakombwe, Evie Bwalya and Amon Ngoma.
Guides: Sanford Sakala, Histon Samatamba, Donald lisama.

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Lufupa River Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Lufupa River Camp

No report this month.

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Lufupa Tented Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Lufupa Tented Camp

No report this month.

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Kalamu Lagoon Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Kalamu Lagoon Camp

No report this month.

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Shumba Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Shumba Camp

No report this month.

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Kapinga Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Kapinga Camp

No report this month.

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Busanga Bush Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Busanga Bush Camp

No report this month.

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Malawi camps
Mvuu Camp update - January 2013
               Jump to Mvuu Camp

Weather and Landscape
We are now well into the rainy season and the floodplains are a rich carpet of green. The vegetation in the thickets and riverine areas have become extremely lush and the lagoon in front of the lodge has filled up considerably, with the overhanging vegetation once more providing superb cover for the white-backed night heron which has taken up residence along the water's edge over the last couple of months.

It really is incredible how the landscape changes after the summer rains arrive. The overall conditions for the month have been warm and comfy with the rains offering some respite from the midday heat.

Wildlife
While in general, the rains disperse the wildlife, we are still getting exceptional viewing in and around the camp area.

Large herds of impala abound, and three large groups are concentrated on the grassland between the camp and the main road. This year's fawn season seems to be as successful as ever and there are several large nursery herds which are still full of fawns that were born around November last year.

Views over Mvuu Camp

Traditionally, the sable is the first antelope to move out of the floodplains into the woodlands once the rains arrive. This has once again proved true, as we are now encountering smaller groups in the well-wooded areas.

In terms of elephant numbers, the big breeding herds which have been spending the drier months along the Shire River have dispersed away from the river and we now mainly encounter solitary bulls and small bachelor groups which have remained along the building.

The increased insect life brought on by the rains has meant great night-time views of insectivorous species - particularly white-tailed mongoose, genet and civet which are all gorging themselves in this time of plenty.

Guest Comments
"Most enjoyable part of trip! All together it was great. Our guide was fantastic and very ambitious to fulfil our expectations - we saw everything that we wanted to and even more."


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Mvuu Wilderness Lodge update - January 2013               Jump to Mvuu Camp

No report this month.

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Mumbo Island update - January 2013               Jump to Mumbo Island

No report this month.

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Chelinda Lodge update - January 2013

Weather and Landscape
Heavy rains have turned the high grasslands and plateau an even lusher shade of emerald - the road into the park is challenging but is still well-drained enough to be passable. Visits to the outer edges of the plateau at Jalawe and Domwe are now particularly rewarding as the clarity of the air makes for incredible, endless vistas.

Wildlife
The regular high concentrations of game around the Chelinda area are now even more noticeable as the exceptionally productive grasslands of the high plateau become further enriched by the rain. Large herds of eland, roan and zebra are always visible from both camp and lodge and a game drive around the dams is as productive as ever. We have had regular sightings of leopard and serval too.

Aerial view over Chelinda Camp    Views over Chelinda Camp

Side-striped jackals have provided us with some pretty good sightings and on two occasions we found them feeding. The first encounter, which was quite an unusual one, was of a very opportunistic individual that was feeding on winged alates (flying termites) as they emerged from the ground - a very interesting sighting indeed. The second encounter of feeding jackals took place at a zebra carcass when Whyte found a pair of the canines along with a lappet-faced and white-headed vulture. It was incredible to see the size of these vultures in relation to the jackals. It is clear that there is a good food source for the jackal population of Nyika - which has resulted in us also finding two small jackal pups with their parents on the Chelinda Brige!

Other highlights for the month included hunting serval and several fantastic leopard sightings. The avian highlight for the month was the sighting of two bar-tailed trogons in the forest near Chelinda Lodge.

Guest Comments
"Thank you so much! The views at 5am were spectacular. The night game drives were amazing."

"I would especially like to thank Whyte for his knowledge, enthusiasm and friendliness. He was a fantastic guide and we were all thoroughly impressed by him."

Newsletter by Chris

 


Namibia camps
Desert Rhino Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Desert Rhino Camp

Weather and Landscape
Temperature variations have been quite extreme this month, with the daily averages ranging from 15° C to 37° C by midday, with two days reaching a balmy 45° C! We did experience a few overcast days that delivered a few small bouts of rain.

The landscape has now become a little greener due to rain - this has attracted good numbers of general game into the area.

Sunset over Desert Rhino Camp

Wildlife
It has been an exciting month as the sightings have been great - large herds of plains game have arrived, with the pronking springbok leading the wave of wildlife into our area. Good numbers of Hartmann's mountain zebra have also moved into the area, and most dazzles have little fawns in their midst. It really is quite exciting to watch these little ones who follow their mothers while looking curiously around.

Klipspringer, rock hyrax and steenbok were also seen on a daily basis.

Rhino sightings have also been really exciting as there are some new individuals which have entered our area of operation. This month we had a record day for rhino sightings, as we encountered nine individuals while out in the field - great news for the rhino research in the area!

We only enjoyed a few elephant sightings this month, as the herds have moved off in search of palatable vegetation in the higher rainfall areas.

Another highlight for the month was the rare encounter of a leopard. All the guests on the vehicle had a good visual of the elusive feline before it slipped away into the vegetation.

Rhino seen at Desert Rhino Camp    Springbok seen around Desert Rhino Camp

Camp News
The camp will be closed from the mid-January until the end of March for maintenance and refurbishment. We look forward to having a new rejuvenated camp.

Guest Comments
"We saw nine Rhino's in one day! The "closing" party on our last evening with dancing and singing was really nice and a lot of fun. The stories/talks exchanged with Raymond and Agnes, we loved very much."

"We really enjoyed learning how to follow animal tracks and were blown away by the research and conservation efforts in the area. The camp staff were extremely friendly and caring. We loved the singing on New Year's Eve."


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Palmwag Lodge update - January 2013               Jump to Palmwag Lodge

No report this month.


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Doro Nawas Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Doro Nawas Camp

Weather and Landscape
Summer is in full swing as we have been experiencing some really hot conditions. Maximum daily temperatures range from 38-41° C, dropping down to around 28° C at night.

In terms of rain, we received a very small amount of precipitation, and hopefully we will receive more in the coming months

Sunset over Doro Nawas Camp

Wildlife
Due to the small amounts of rain, new vegetation has started to sprout up in the concession. This has attracted good numbers of wildlife to the area with a noticeable increase in red hartebeest, ostrich, oryx, springbok and kudu. Many of these animals have calves and chicks, which are growing rapidly.

Desert-adapted elephants are still seen in the area, but we suspect that they will start their annual trek north towards the Grootberg area.

One of the highlights for the month was seeing eight lions which really wowed our guests.

Guest and Staff dancing

Guest Comments
"We loved tracking the elephants and visiting the living museum. Being able to sleep under the stars was magical as was the bush dinner, which was a complete surprise for us. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. Thank you for the wonderful memories."

"Seeing eight lions in the desert was incredible!"

Staff in Camp
Managers: Agnes, Rosalia and Thereza.
Guides: Richardt, Willem and Michael.

Newsletter by Thereza and Richardt.


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Damaraland Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Damaraland Camp

Weather and Landscape
The weather has been quite dynamic this month, with ups and downs. The days would start off cool, but warm up rapidly, cooling off again at night. Some days even hinted the possibility of rain. We did receive a few small bouts of rain, and on one occasion we all got rained on while enjoying a boma dinner. We are hoping for more rain in the coming months.

Late afternoons have been quite windy as the breeze blew in from the Atlantic Ocean, picking up dust as it blows inland, and creating some pretty dramatic sunrises.

Birding around Damaraland Camp

Wildlife
The elephant herds have been obliging this month as they have spent much time along the Huab River, allowing us some great views of them. Kudu have also been very prolific in the area and were seen on most days hanging around the camp area at sunset.

On the predatory side, the Huab Pride of lion has returned to the area, allowing our guests some great views. These felines are quite shy and are best viewed from a distance, otherwise they tend to flee.

This month, we offered our guests a rhino tracking experience and were very lucky to find a mother and calf - a very special and rewarding sighting after tracking them.

Camp News
On the 9th of January we invited members of the Torra Conservancy for a meeting with camp managers and staff to discuss concession matters. The meeting was a huge success and camp guides took the opportunity to share their knowledge with each other and community members. Guide trainer, Festus Mabinga, was also at camp and spent some time enriching everyone's knowledge on astronomy.

The camp has started to offer a new activity which is known as 'De Riet Tea Time'. This activity is focused on the local community and guests visit the locals for afternoon tea - gaining some insight in their day-to-day lives.

Elephant    Elephant

Guest Comments
"We loved the sunrise breakfasts, boma dinners and the elephant tracking! The staff singing was fantastic."

"The camp was very welcoming and hospitable. From the moment we arrived we felt very comfortable - a paradise location."

"It was incredible to see the desert elephants, but for us the highlight was the friendliness of the staff!"

Staff in Camp
Managers: Maggie Vries, Erika Awaras, Schalk Burger and Eddy Skrywer.
Guides: Anthony Dawids, Pascalis Kazimbu, Albert Gaoseb and Willem Retief.

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Skeleton Coast Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Skeleton Coast Camp

No report this month.

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Serra Cafema Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Serra Cafema Camp

No report this month.

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Ongava Tented Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Ongava Tented Camp

Weather and Landscape
Heat, heat and more heat! The temperatures have reached close to 40° C, with no rain. But guests were able to see more animals at the waterhole due to lack of rain.

Once the rains have arrived, the wildlife tends to spread wider over the area as food and water is plentiful, but no rain has fallen in Ongava since December, so the wildlife is still localised around the dry season waterholes.

Spotted Bush Snake at Ongava Tented Camp

Wildlife
We were very privileged to see two white rhino bathing in a waterhole, scratching their tummies against branches, for at least an hour! They were very relaxed in our presence, offering all some fantastic photographic opportunities.

Throughout the reserve guests got to see quite a variety of animals including both species of rhino, lion, waterbuck, kudu, springbok, oryx and black-faced impala to name but a few.

The smaller wonders have also wowed us - for example, when a spotted bush-snake made its way into camp. It was great to view this vibrant and colourful reptile up close. The snake was feeding on the moths which were on the deck from the night before.

Chameleon at Ongava Tented Camp

A number of flap-necked chameleons have also been seen around the reserve, perhaps they have come out in anticipation for some late rains?

Guest Comments
"Really nice lodge, our family enjoyed it 10/10. Great safari drives, saw lion, rhino and heaps of antelope! Had a lion outside our tent - kind of scary ooowww! "

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Little Ongava update - January 2013               Jump to Little Ongava Camp

No report this month.

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Ongava Lodge update - January 2013               Jump to Ongava Lodge

No report this month.

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Andersson's Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Andersson's Camp

No report this month.

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Little Kulala Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Little Kulala Camp

No report this month.

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Kulala Desert Lodge update - January 2013               Jump to Kulala Desert Lodge

No report this month.

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Kulala Wilderness Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Kulala Wilderness Camp

No report this month.

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Kenya camps
Governors' Camp update - January 2013               Jump to Governors' Camp

Weather and grasslands
We had some extraordinary weather for January it was either hot and humid or wet. Early on in the month we had some warm days, building up to some heavy showers in the evenings. There were two heavy storms with a strong easterly wind on the 27th and 28th brining lots of rain. With all this rain the water levels in the Marsh rose considerably and this attracted the water birds, who seemed to materialise almost overnight. Grass levels have also improved, the Paradise, Bila Shaka and Rhino Ridge Plains have good stands of red oat grass. Total rainfall for the month was 133 mm.

Sunset
Photo courtesy of Ann Aveyard

Early morning temperatures average at 16-18°C with midday still being 28-31°C evening temperatures at 26°C.

Grasslands generally are looking green and growth coverage is evident. There was a full moon on the 27th with suggested 'moon downers'.

General game
Warburgia, Teclea and Capparis are all fruiting at the moment, Elephant and Baboons love the fruit of the Warburgia and Teclea so this time of year the Elephant habituate both woodlands and Grasslands. Impala breeding herds are evident with many females pregnant and others with fawns. Defassa Waterbuck and Cokes Hartebeest will be seen between the Marsh grasslands and riverine woodlands. The four musketeers were latterly in the northern area of the Marsh.

Notes
Leopard – The young female of the Lake Nakuru and BBC camps site has two cubs a male and a female that are three months old. They are being seen frequently between Lake Nakuru and IL Moran Camp. Unfortunately early on in the month the young male was seen with a prolapsed rectum, we tried to call the vet in and the moment the vet will say he will visit this young Leopard disappears he was seen on the 26th and 29th looking much better but he is still struggling.

Game viewing is spread out with Bila Shaka, Topi Plains and lower areas of Paradise Plains being popular areas for game drives, much of these areas have shorter grasses with more resident ungulates that have moved between the conservation areas.

Elephant in some large breeding herds move between the grasslands the Marsh and the Riverine woodlands. There are many young calves within these family units. A few large bulls are in Musth so they will move between herds. Heritage the large male Elephant who has a radio collar and that was darted last year on the 12th of June due to a large wound on his right front leg has also improved very well, he was seen on the 25th and 27th in the Musiara swamp.

Elephant
Photo courtesy of Katie McLellan

On the 11th at approximately 11.30 am a young Bull elephant died near the Marsh, there were no signs of a struggle or external injuries. The Marsh lion and resident spotted Hyena fed off it for four days. Some individual Elephant particularly another bull tried to run off the feeding Lion on a few occasions. Sikio one of the blonde male Musketeers who had a damaged left front paw was chased on the 12th and learnt to run well on his remaining three legs!! The Warburgia trees and Teclea are fruiting and Elephant are partial to fruit of many trees, the Warburgia or east African green heart are fruiting heavily now, although the fruit is edible it is very hot. The species Warburgia is named after Dr. Otto Warburg a botanist from Hamburg. The two organic compounds in the heartwood, leaves and to a certain extent in the fruit namely warburganal and Murzadial exhibit strong anti insect and antifungal properties, perhaps why even the male Giraffe like eating the leaves.

Olive Baboons like the fruit of Warburgia and Teclea; this leads them into the camps on foraging trips. Many Infant baboons are present, with large sized troops being evident throughout the Musiara woodland areas. Early morning and evenings are good times for watching primate activity. A troop of Baboons is a matrilineal society which is a very complex hierarchy based on mother-daughter lines of decent and unrelated male strength. A female Baboon is born into whatever rank her mother was; males establish their place within the troop by fighting one another for dominance. Often there is much noise associated with a Baboon troop and one can often see younger sub adult males being chased by the older and larger males. The opposite Baboons reside at nightfall in trees, rocks and cliffs and those baboons wherever born will return to sleep.

Baboons
Photo courtesy of Patrick Reynolds

Impala and Defassa waterbuck are within the Marsh and woodlands between the camps. Dominant male waterbuck strut between cows sniffing out oestrus females. The defassa waterbuck young bachelors often form separate satellite herds, and will only leave if an opportunity arises to contest a dominant bull. Waterbuck give birth to a single calf after a gestation period of 8 months. Cokes hartebeest in small numbers can be seen near the Marsh on the woodland side, their calves are 5 months old, Topi are quite spread out with larger herd sizes on Topi Plains and Paradise Plains, their calves are also five months old.

Hartebeest
Photo courtesy of Ann Aveyard

Eland are in small breeding herds in between Musiara, Bila Shaka and Topi Plains. Within these breeding herds there are some large bulls with breeding bulls that are strongly sexually dimorphic.

Eland
Photo courtesy of Patrick Reynolds

The breeding herd of Buffalo have spent much of this month within Bila Shaka, a few breeding bulls and the lead cow who was well known amongst guides have been taken by the Marsh pride. The core of a Cape buffalo herd is of related females and their offspring. Like the plains zebra, the Cape buffalo can live off tall and coarse grasses. Herds of buffalo are useful to other herbivores as they mow down the long grasses and make way for more selective grazers. When feeding, the buffalo makes use of its tongue and wide incisor row to crop grass.

Cape Buffalo
Photo courtesy of Katie McLellan

Masai Giraffe are spread out all over the reserve and recently many giraffe have been in the woodlands between the camps. Females live in unrelated family units with calves in crèches. The males and females of a herd don't interact often unless they are looking to mate. Adult males are larger and heavier than females and can reach around 6 m in height although they have been recorded at reaching heights of up to nearly 7 meters. Females are shorter at around 5–5.5 m tall. Their legs and necks are both approximately 2 meters long with a large heart which is 12 kg.

Giraffe
Photo courtesy of Samantha McLellan

Warthog are also well spread out, sows that gave birth in the reserve in late August early September have 40% of their offspring with them, with many succumbing to predation. There are sows in the conservation areas that gave birth in late November and December with the mortality rate being lower. Many warthog and particularly sows and their older offspring have been killed and eaten by Lion in the Bila Shaka and Musiara plains.

More sightings of serval cats again on the paradise and rhino ridge plains.

Serval Cat
Photo courtesy of Chris and Kim Walker

Bat eared fox's are becoming more commonly seen, perhaps being more habituated, early mornings are good times to see them. They live in family units and den sights are best places to find them. Bat eared fox's are insectivorous canids up to 85% of their diet is insects, with amazingly large dish like ears as the name suggests which they use to listen out for dung beetles, their larvae and harvester termites. Much of their activity is at night which can be as much as 85% of their time foraging. Something else unusual about bat-eared foxes is their unusual playfulness in the wild. They give birth to 2-6 kittens after a 60 day gestation. They also have a very well developed digastric muscle and along with up to 52 teeth which is more than any other heterodont mammal.

Spotted Hyena are plentiful on Paradise Plains and also on Rhino Ridge, there is a large clan on the Bila Shaka side of Rhino Ridge, on the 26th at 7.30am an estimated 40 Hyena were seen trying to converge on the four Musketeers as they walked across the open plains. It is seldom that Spotted Hyena will try their luck on four large male lion, this is one competitor that they fear. Earlier on that morning near the airstrip two lionesses caught a young Hyena and promptly killed it. With their nine cubs about they were taking no chances.

The Black Rhino male has been seen near paradise plains.

Black Rhino
Photo courtesy of Deborah Price

A few more Hippo in the Mara River have given birth, one calve was taken by crocodile beyond Governors Private Camp.

Hippo
Photo courtesy of Katie McLellan

Dik Dik our smallest antelope here can be seen in monogamous pairs within the camp woodlands with early morning and late evenings being good time to see them, particularly when the male steals out as he marks his territory dung midden and later leaves a secretion on a grass stem or branch twig that is crucial to his height for his pre-orbital gland which is situated just beneath his eye. The females are larger than the males in this species. Two secretions of Apocrine and Hylocrine and held together with melanin which is the black tar like substance one sees on the stem of grass or twig.

Lion
The Marsh pride – Siena, Charm and Bibi with their 12 cubs of varying age groups are being seen in the environs of the Marsh. Bibi's 3 cubs are two months old, Charms three cubs are four months old and Siena's cubs are 7 months old although one of them is a little younger which was abandoned by Bibi.

Lion cubs at play
Photo courtesy of Chris & Kim Walker

They are doing well and feeding well, particularly when a young bull elephant died on the 11th between the airstrip and the marsh, they fed off this for nearly three full days.

The four Musketeers are also evident within the Marsh plains areas. On the 4th Sikio was mating with one of the younger lionesses he also had a fracas with Hunter and damaged his left front paw probably from a bite, on the 5th he could hardly walk and for a number days he was like this and spent much time in the Bila Shaka river bed, on the 25th he was seen helping pull down an old cow Buffalo near the eastern end of Bila Shaka so the powers of healing were on his side and was walking on all four legs by the end of them month. Scar was seen mating with Joy on the 10th near Silanga; his right eye lid is healing. Morani and Hunter were seen latterly near fumbi fumbi area of Bila Shaka. On the 9th near the tree line in the Marsh they were feeding off a female waterbuck. On the 12th they all fed off the remains of a young bull Elephant that had died near the Marsh. Even Bibi's cubs were enjoying the feast. They have been feeding off warthog, Buffalo and Defassa waterbuck.

Lion
Photo courtesy of Will Fortesque

Nyota and Moja have been seen on Rhino Ridge. Moja is over a year old now, he was seen on the 18th with the remains of a warthog, and Nyota was not far away.

Notch and the four brothers move between the Talek River, the Ntiaktiak River and the double crossing areas. They were feeding off a large male hippo on the 24th and 25th near the Olkiombo airstrip. Many of the Olkiombo pride were also feeding off this Hippo.

Paradise Pride: comprises 4 females and two seven month old cubs, the two '4km' male Lion of which one has a nice dark mane and almost black. The two males were seen with Nyota on the 27th and 28th. One of the four females was seen mating on the 24th by the dark maned male, another male is also with them so a total of three can be seen; the third male comes and goes. The other two males are from the other side of the river; they have been resident on Paradise Plains for some months now. There are also two cubs that are seven months old. Early on in the month they were seen on the remains of a cape buffalo, on the 18th they were seen feeding off a Topi.

Lion with kill
Photo courtesy of Katie McLellan

The Olkiombo lion pride of 12 including one sub adult cub which is estimated at 16 months old, 9 females, and one lioness has three cubs that are estimated at four months old. They are often seen near the Olkiombo airstrip, on the 24th they were feeding off the remains of a hippo that the four males had killed.

Cheetah
Malaika and her one cub that is 9 months old were seen mid month near the Talek River and also still near the lookout hill area. On the 23d she was seen with a Thomson Gazelle kill.

The MNC female cheetah with one male cub that is 17 months old have been seen close to the conservation areas and also Topi plains, there are good numbers of Thomson Gazelle here, he is active so he should be on his own in a short time. These two are being seen more frequently near Bilashaka and the Musiara plains. On the 29th at 10.30am she had killed a female Grants gazelle near the Hippo pool that is close to the airstrip.

Cheetah
Photo courtesy of Ann Aveyard

The young Female Cheetah with her three cubs that are 5 months old both are being seen near the Talek River and also on Topi Plains. On the 25th she had killed an Impala female in the croton thickets near the Ntiaktiak River. This female Cheetah gave birth to her cubs in an area of Masai Land.

Leopard
The female leopard with the male cub that is perhaps over 15 months old as he is being seen more often on his own yet still in his mother's home range. He is becoming more habituated whereas the mother is a little shy. He is being seen more frequently.

The male Leopard at the mortuary crossing point has been seen twice this month, on the 5th it was seen near the croton thickets, some other guides have said they see more of him. On the 8th he was seen with an impala kill at the mouth of the mortuary crossing point and dragged its kill up a nearby Boscia tree.

Leopard
Photo courtesy of Chris and Kim Walker

The BBC female Leopard with her two cubs estimated at three months old, the male cub early on seemed like he was suffering from a prolapsed rectum and looked in pain, this was on the 4th near Lake Nakuru that he was seen. We called the vet and soon after we got a reply it disappeared from sight and no one saw it for a few days, they were both seen again on the 10th near the BBC campsite and he looked better, on the 25th he was climbing up and down a dead Warburgia although he looks thin. The female killed an Impala near Lake Nakuru on the 4th and a Bushbuck doe near the BBC camp site on the 23rd.

There is a male that also frequents the same area as the BBC female, we are sure that this is the sire of her two BBC cubs. He is being seen frequently and has his own agenda whereby he can be quite habituated one day and not the next; he was seen in the morning of the 7th feeding off the remains of a Zebra that had been partially eaten by Scar and Morani the evening before. He had not been feeding for than 30 minutes when he was run off by a troop of male Olive baboons. Leopard will readily scavenge perhaps more so than Lion again depending what prey is available at the time.

Olive and her one female cub who is nearly a year old now has been seen near the Talek river on Burrangat plains side, she was seen on the 18th and 25th.

Walking in the Mara North Conservancy.
We have had cool mornings and hot days with heavy dew on the grass. There has been less rain in this region compared with the reserve so grasses are still short and dry. Good numbers of plains game can still be seen here with the short grasses, Thompson and Grants Gazelles are in more numbers than the reserve. A few Wildebeest and these are mainly males holding onto short term territories. Zebra in small herd are well spread out across the conservation areas.

Zebra
Photo courtesy of Will Fortesque

Eland will be seen all over in small breeding herds, there is a small herd near the 'fly over' with two large breeding bulls.

The large Cape buffalo herd can been where there are more prevalent coarse grasses, near the white Highlands and also near the salt lick waterhole are often good places to look for them, there are a few young calves in this herd. There are also two lots of bachelor males one group has three males and the other has 5 males. Defassa waterbuck are in the river bed luggas or (alluvial depressions) and also in between the acacia woodlands. These river bed luggas often contain pockets of water and with long greases which support Bohors Reedbuck which can be spooked quite easily. Cape buffalo will also frequent these valley fans. Elephant are in good numbers here so being catholic feeders will spend time in between the acacia woodlands and the open grassland plains. Generally speaking if the grazing is available 85% of the elephants diet will contain grasses. In wooded pockets amongst the Acacia Gerrardii the tannin and sucrose levels are often higher than in other close by areas; with this Elephants will favour these and often strip a tree to the ground.

Giraffe are also well spread out and seen frequently on all the regular walks, The eastern Acacia stands are probably more favoured and it is here that the Elephant have spent time. There is a small grove of Acacia Hockii and this has been very well browsed on by Giraffe so much so the leaflets have been minimised greatly. In other areas near to the Olare Orok River the Acacia Hockii is more like a normal flat topped acacia. We have seen male Giraffe feeding on the leaves of the Warburgia tree and this is very hot on the pallet, perhaps this is why no biting flies are present on them.

Impala breeding herds are spread out across the woodlands. Many females here are pregnant with some fawns already born. A female Impala was found dead in the Acacia wood lands close to the Olare Orok River. Two fawns in different locations have been seen and who were bleating, this is probably due to a resident Leopard having taken the mothers, both fawns seemed over 4 months old so there is a 50% chance of survival.

Impala
Photo courtesy of Katie Mclellan

On the 13th a large male Leopard was seen up an Acacia tree with a female Impala that it had just recently killed, the interesting thing was there were Zebra standing beneath the tree oblivious of what was above them, the moment when the Leopard saw us then the Zebra took flight.

A group of 20 Spotted Hyena killed a young zebra near the reserve and conservation boundary in the early morning hours of the 28th. There are more Spotted Hyenas in these conservation areas, they are very active predators here as opposed to the Mara reserve, and 85% of what they eat has been killed by them. The reserve hosts more Lion and these will control numbers of Hyena.

Lion are been seen by vehicle only in the Euclea Divinorum thickets close to the salt lick, except on the 28th where four lionesses and three cubs estimated at 7 months old were seen from a safe distance in riverbed beneath the Croton hill, due to long grass it was difficult to see if there was a kill or not although many vultures were in the trees above them.

Lion with kill
Photo courtesy of Katie McLellan

The gardenia ternifolia has not flowered yet whereas in the reserve there are many flowering gardenias. Jasminum floribundum flowers are present and these are very sweet smelling they belong to the family Oleaceae which is the Olive. Launaea hafunensis is a yellow upright stemmed flower and these are common through the rocky hillsides. After some short rains early on in the month this brought on many little white Cycnium flowers (tissue paper) that are strewn through the areas of well drained soils and short grasses. There is also good coverage of pentas lanceolata which are small little pink/mauve flowers particularly near pathways and trails across rocky terrain.

A new identification by Masai Guide Harrison Nampaso: Hydnora Abyssinica (family: Hydnoraceae) is a subterranean root parasite which parasitizes Acacia root species such as the prevalent one here Acacia Gerrardii, though lacking chlorophyll is sweet tasting and is eaten by man and animals such as porcupines, Olive Baboons and we have seen the diggings of Aardvark. The flowers are solitary, appearing above ground as a tube with the fleshy calyx lobes meeting. They soon separate, revealing the red and white cross structure. The flowers are foul smelling and are pollinated by insects. This species is more commonly found rather than being seen. Root extracts for antibacterial and antifungal properties have been used in the North Africa genus since millennia. Masai Here will eat the roots which is effective against stomach ailments and Diarrhoea.

Hydnora Abyssinica
Hydnora Abyssinica - courtesy of Patrick Reynolds.


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Rwanda camps
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge update - January 2013

It seems old man Guhonda the Silverback Male in charge of the Sabyinyo family had another surprise for us. At the very ripe age of 41, he has fathered yet another youngster! The newcomer is just under a month old and looking very healthy.

Gorilla family

Clients that went trekking yesterday had awesome experiences in Kwitonda, Umubano and Agashya families.

These great photos were sent to us by Marike Godwaldt and Jan Hoekstra, they wrote to us to say "Thank you very much for having a wonder stay at the Sabyinio Lodge!" .

Gorilla  GorillaGorilla relaxing  Gorilla relaxingBaby Gorilla

 

Many thanks to Marike and Jan for sharing their photos with us.


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