Weather and water-levels
What a lovely time of year it is. Mild spring temperatures without the intense heat, and a slight hint of humidity in the air to take away the dryness of winter. The bush is still lush and green but it is softly tinged with red, yellow and orange colours. At this time of the year, the concession is quite diversified in its vegetation with some of the thicker bush areas having thinned out a bit and blending into more open grassland and woodland savannah. The annual inundation has still not reached us, which is unusual and the channels and floodplains are continuing to dry up resulting in isolated waterholes that attracts a wide range of both bird and animal species.
The month of August saw some fantastic game viewing. Elephant were plentiful, with lots of breeding herds throughout the concession. Guests enjoyed watching the playful calves who were learning how to use their trunks and then, trying to show off, they would bravely mock charge the safari vehicle, all the while under the watchful eyes of their mothers.
Some lucky guests had the privilege of watching a lioness hunting and taking down a full-grown male warthog. Warthogs may be small in body size but they are a challenge for cats to attack as they can be very defensive and use their sharp tusks to fiercely fight back. Our guests also saw the Tsame lion pride hunting and taking down a buffalo on two different occasions as well as a pack of 15 hyaena feeding on a dead elephant.
Leopard sightings were again numerous. We saw a female leopard feeding on an impala and two different male leopards hunting, one of which took down a warthog and the other an impala.
All year round, Chitabe continues to be a birder's paradise for both avid twitchers and more casual bird watchers. The area is still famous, and a stronghold, for one of the most endangered species that is endemic to the wetlands of Okavango Delta - the wattled crane. These birds are often seen moving stealthily through the seasonal water pans and channels. Our recent sighting record was about 55 birds in one flock which is very uncommon. It seems that the crane numbers are increasing in the area along with other woodland and water birds, all of which is great news.
At Chitabe we also believe that our local customs delight guests as much as the wildlife viewing does. We wrapped up the month of August with guests enjoying a boma dinner under the African skies and participating in our traditional style of celebrating World Heritage Day. Some of our staff proudly dressed up in their tribal attire to celebrate the special day. To the left is a photo of Kris, one of the managers, looking very pretty wearing her traditional attire worn only by married women in her culture. She is also carrying a locally woven colourful open basket, as basket weaving is one of the cultural skills that the Batswana pride themselves on.
In August, our wildlife viewing adventures, whether via game drives or guided bush walks were conducted by our professional team guides - Duke, BB, EBS, Luke, Oats and Anthony. For the month, both camps were run with pride and great efficiency by manager Kris, Josephine, Masedi and Six at Chitabe Camp, and Kay and Charity at Lediba. Charity has recently joined us at Chitabe Lediba, having spent six years with another well known safari company in Botswana, and has a great deal of lodge management experience. All our competent and dedicated staff have worked really hard this month and have contributed to the successful running of the camps and our guest evaluations can attest to this, which always makes us immensely proud.
We had wonderful guests in the month of August and below are some of their feedback comments from the evaluations. It is comments like these that make us so proud, motivated and blessed to be working in such a magical environment and having the opportunity to meet such lovely people from all over the world.
“This Camp is very special. The staff is outstanding and so warm and friendly and welcoming. The drives were great and we saw everything we wanted to. The staff – Dukes, Ebs, Six, Masedi, Atti – and everyone else were all so amazing. I loved hearing their stories and getting to know them and their culture. Also, Ebs was a highlight for me – he was a great guide, very funny and friendly, patient, and knowledgeable”. Erin – August 13, 2013
“Absolutely loved the first night’s dinner outside in the boma and singing and dancing. So much fun and talent! Loved our greeting when we arrived. Staff impressed us with their genuine hospitality. Food was great. Guide Oats tried to give us everything we wanted.” Frank and Pat - August 21, 2013
“This has been a vacation of a lifetime. The staff was so friendly and welcoming. We will miss them when we go. We loved tracking the animals with Duke. It was fun to see the baby lions. Watching the leopard and the hyaena steal food from each other was amazing. The food was fabulous. It was also very special to have the staff visit and tell us about their lives”. Alison - August 4, 2013
“The people were absolutely lovely. The accommodations were wonderful. The bush sundowner was very special. Seeing the baby leopard was amazing”. Robin - August 21, 2013
“The staff and guides here at Chitabe treated our large group with many children so well. We were amazed by the high level of professionalism in every part of our stay.The drives were so amazing and we won’t forget the passion of the guides following the leopard, hyaena chasing the prey. Being greeted by the singing was so welcoming and the staff were so fun and warm and attentive. I loved the brunch under the trees. Thanks for it all”. Stacey – August 4, 2013
“Keep up the good work! Amazing Team! Luke was an amazing guide! And all the staff made us feel so welcome. We saw four species of cats in one drive. Cheetah, lion, leopard and the large spotted genet! Loved the outdoor shower and the fire pit. All the baby elephants”. Kevin and Erin – August 30th 2013.
Compiled by T.L Moalosi