This month, in recognition of World Elephant Day which was celebrated on 12 August, I thought it would be very apt to start our newsletter praising our wonderful elephants at Abu and around the world.
August has flown past, with winter seeming to disappear as our days are getting increasingly warmer. Nights are still cool to cold and our early mornings are fresh starts requiring a few extra layers which are gradually peeled off by mid-morning. All the signs are showing that the seasons are beginning to change. Our first summer visitor, of the avian kind, was seen. The yellow-billed kites, usually a very reliable indicator of spring’s arrival, was spotted in the Savuti region, east of the Okavango Delta.
The bush is beginning to show its weariness as we are now into our sixth month without rain. The areas that are not directly surrounded or engulfed by the fast-disappearing waters, are wilting and drying out. The patches of forested areas, like the one that Abu Camp is situated in, are becoming more popular with the local wildlife, in particular elephants, as these large herbivores search for food that is still nutritious enough to supply them the energy they need to move their massive bulks around.
One of the highlights of this time of year is watching or listening to these large pachyderms vigorously shaking the tall lala palm trees to gain access to the fleshy fruit that then fall down from the dizzying heights (sometimes in excess of 10 metres). Many of our guests’ conversations around early morning coffee is centred around this incredible spectacle as you can hear the elephants moving from palm to palm. The benefit of this time of year is the visibility, as the bushes all lose their leaves, and grasses die off, you are able to see further and further into the bush on game drives, elephant rides and walks.
Sightings this month have been very rewarding, with one of our resident female leopards and her two sub-adult cubs being seen frequently around the old airstrip. The hyaena den has also provided great viewing and insights into the daily lives of these fascinating creatures. There was also a couple of interesting interactions between the clan and a group of young male lions that moved through the area.
Our elephants remain the heart and soul of Abu Camp and continue delighting us all with their daily routines. Our pregnant Kitty has been given her official “maternity leave” dates and will be taking a break from riding from October onwards as she prepares for the arrival of her latest calf around the end of the year. Warona has been as playful as ever and was weighed in at a staggering 570 kilograms at the beginning of the month. It’s hard to believe that in her short lifespan of twenty months she has more than tripled her weight!
Our star deck is proving a popular night out with guests getting the opportunity to spend the night sleeping under the stars with only the Abu herd and the Delta night as accompanying sounds, while they are safely tucked up in a cosy bed on a raised deck overlooking the elephant boma.
In end, we would like to welcome Abu’s new General Manager, Liz Parkin. Lizzy brings with her energy and a wealth of experience having spent time at Mombo and one of our Collection properties, North Island in the Seychelles.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Liz, Ipeleng, Caroline and Ian
Guides: KG, Taps, KB and BT.