Abu Camp - March 2017

Mar 1, 2017 Abu Camp
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Ecology
Water levels throughout the Abu Concession remained high during March as a result of the late summer rains that we experienced. Many floodplain and channel areas look just like they normally do when the annual inundation arrives, and lush, flourishing shades of green dominate the landscape. Tall grasses are making spotting some of the smaller species more challenging, but this is more than compensated for by amazing sightings of the larger herbivores which are enjoying this bonanza.

Temperatures are down a little from the peaks they reached during summer, and we anticipate that they will continue to gradually slide as we head towards winter. The highest temperature recorded this month was 32°C (90°F) with a low of a very pleasant 18°C (64°F).

By the second half of the month, it seems that the skies had finally more or less run out of rain – much to the relief of the staff who had been carrying out the ritual of lowering and raising the flaps on the guest tents several times per day.

As March ended, we began to suspect that we were seeing the vanguard of the annual Okavango inundation, as the depth of water at several of our crossing points was continuing to rise despite the rains having ceased. Late, heavy rains in the highlands of Angola – the catchment area for the Okavango Delta – mean that we’re anticipating more water than usual.

A well-known feature of Abu Camp is the use of elephant dung from the Abu Herd to line the paths – the ultimate in organic walkways! This of course breaks down over time, and the heavy rains have washed much of it away. Happily, we don’t have to go far – or wait for long – to get fresh supplies.

The final day of the month was our second Annual Big Birding Day, and many of our staff and guests enthusiastically took up the challenge of seeing how many different species they could see in a day. Congratulations to Lettie on winning the Abu guides’ half-day competition with a total of 71 different bird species identified between dawn and noon on the 31st. That’s some 12% of all the species ever recorded in Botswana (593) in just one morning.

Guest Experience
Guests have been mesmerised by the beauty of the Okavango landscapes, and taking advantage of the deeper water to head out on mekoro. With the Abu Herd in attendance (who, of course, love any excuse to get into the water), this has been easily our most popular activity over the last few weeks.

With the new Naledi movie, “A Baby Elephant’s Tale,” having debuted on Netflix recently, our bush cinema has been doing a roaring trade ‘selling’ tickets to evening screenings. Guests love learning about this remarkable elephant’s equally remarkable story of triumph over the odds, and watching the film here at Abu Camp helps bring home the wonder of her life story.

After all, it’s not every day that you get to see a movie, and then watch the leading lady take a bath the next morning!

The rise in water levels also means that we have been able to relaunch our boating activities, and the drive to the boat station has yielded some incredible sightings: wild dogs on the hunt, and two young leopard cubs. That was probably our most special wildlife moment of the month, and we’re hoping to have more regular sightings of them as they were very relaxed.

The Abu Camp ‘magic makers’ have exceeded themselves with some imaginative ‘wow’ activities out in the bush, from our legendary sundowners and champagne stops (it would be very wrong indeed to drive past a chilled bottle of champagne), and even a ‘shooter bar’ in a really remote spot – the only kind of shots that we ever want to hear in this tranquil paradise.

The reward for the team is always the smiles on the faces of our guests, and some great feedback with frequent comments on the warmth and friendliness of the entire Abu team. That same hospitality awaits everyone who comes to Abu Camp – so what are you waiting for?

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