Greetings one and all, from a decidedly cooler Abu Concession that has seen the hot summer temperatures slowly receding into milder and more comfortable autumn days with increasingly cooler, even colder nights.
The days are starting to get considerably shorter while the evenings creep on for longer into the crisp early mornings, where the warmth of the fire and early morning warm beverages stave off the cold. Watching the sun come up in the early mornings reflecting out over the Abu Lagoon is truly a sight to behold, with the water levels rising even further and engulfing the camp into a small island.
With the onset of winter the night skies have also started to change with Scorpio now becoming prominent in the eastern skies in the early evenings and slowly winding its way west chasing Orion to the western horizon. With the cooler temperatures, the outdoor bubble baths are proving very popular after an afternoon spent with the Abu Herd or out on game drive, giving our guests a lovely way to soak up the warmth and indulgence of the African evening before or after they enjoy a magnificent dinner. I can hardly imagine a better way to stargaze then from the comfort of a piping hot bath.
On the sightings front this month we have some interesting new dynamics creeping in as the annual inundation has changed the lie of the land for many of the animals that inhabit the area, and already small changes can be seen in the way animals are using their home ranges and territories as the waters claim more and more land, causing islands to get smaller. Noteworthy sightings this month include a pride of new lions to the area that have been seen sporadically as they search out and hunt the available prey. There have been a few leopard sightings as well ,with a few different individuals being seen. One of the highlights was when Taps and his guests managed to see a female with a young cub being chased up a tree by hyaena.
A large herd of buffalo around 200 individuals has been seen on a few occasions, taking advantage of the fresh green grass that has been transformed as the waters reclaim once-dry grassland and marshes.
We have also had a very stealthy visitor near camp leaving only tracks in its wake as it scoured the areas that have been swamped with a myriad fish - this incredible mammal unknown to many is the Cape clawless otter! An incredibly special and rare animal to see that we will be trying very hard to find in the coming weeks.
Birdlife has been prolific, with black crakes being abundant in front of the camp, their raucous calls filling the dawn chorus and heralding the start of each new day. Sycamore fig trees in camp have also proved very reliable in pulling fruit eating birds of many varieties including some of my favourites: brown-headed parrots.
The Abu Herd is as always well, their daily routines delighting guests and staff and providing insights into these great pachyderms that can seldom be seen in the wild, with us being privy to their daily life from less than a few feet away.
Until next month, love from the Abu Team.