Water filtering down a well-worn vehicle track heralds the beginning of an annual event so grand in its nature that it changes the very landscape around us. Rains that have fallen in the Angolan highlands in December have flowed and gathered momentum, converging around the Abu Concession four months later.
The excitement in camp is palpable as we all wait with bated breath for the annual inundation to reclaim the sand and grass and allow us to begin all sorts of water activities, ranging from explorations by boat and mokoro into channels and areas once only accessible by vehicles, to catch-and-release fishing outings aimed at local fish species including various bream species and the predatory African pike.
The summer temperatures have started to dry the once-green grass and ensured that it is not only the staff and guests in camp looking forward to the high water levels but also the Abu Herd! In a few short weeks the herd will be swimming and cavorting through the cool Okavango waters delighting guests whilst exploring the wetland wonderland.
Sightings in the Abu Concession this month have been particularly noteworthy, with specials including two pangolin sightings and an incredible scene where a massive southern African python caught and ate a young impala ewe in the late afternoon.
The resident lion pride has also been active in and around the airstrip, often seen hunting the plains game attracted by all the lush grasslands. Two large male lions have also been seen in the area a few times, possibly moving in from the Jao Concession, causing quite a stir as they go; they have been seen scent marking and heard roaring as they move about this new territory. We all hope these majestic males are here to stay.
We have also had a pack of 16 wild dogs move into the concession amid massive excitement from the guides and senior staff who have not seen any in many years. Birding too has been phenomenal with Dickinson’s kestrel being in abundance as well as regular appearances from the local southern ground hornbills and a plethora of waterbirds that will no doubt only get better as the waters slowly begin to rise.
The Abu Herd is mostly unchanged, with little Warona becoming more and more daring as she ventures further from the herd under the careful and wise eyes of Cathy and Shireni her mother. Kitty, under the watchful eyes of the experienced elephant handlers, is now roughly 14 months pregnant and the prediction is for her new calf to be joining the herd around the end of November/December.
Our ever-popular stargazing-come-tappas bush dining evening is still in full swing with the remarkable Botswana skies shining down on our guests while tucking into delectable African-inspired finger foods, and reclining on cushions sipping various varieties of indulgent wines.
Until next month,
Warmest regards from the Abu Herd.
Newsletter by Ian Mey