Weather and Landscape
The rain creates a fresh, new side to Hwange, a lush and verdant landscape that differentiates it from other regions within the country. With the rains, Hwange has completely changed from a dusty, arid area to a vivid green forest with an aromatic scent permeating the air from all the brightly coloured flowers – a remarkable feature within our concession. All our waterholes are brimming too.
Our concession comprises a diverse variety of vegetation and habitats including teak forests, palm islands, Kalahari savannahs and acacia woodlands. Under the majestic thorny crowns of camelthorn acacias, with their broad, curved pods covered in velvety grey hairs, at this time of year we find several small creeping plants such as devil thorns with their beautiful flowers.
The average temperatures recorded this month were 20° Celsius in the morning and 28° in the afternoon with a total of 175 mm of rain. We received most of the rain in the first week, with a break mid-month and then more again towards the end of the month.
Hwange is a wildlife sanctuary known for its large herds of elephant, though it is unusual at this time of year to still encounter these big herds. The buffalo have split into smaller herds due to the abundance of pasture and water, and while lion sightings are still great, we hear them more than we see them. Unlike the buffalo, eland are seen in big herds in the summer season, as are wildebeest, impala and zebra, which are now foaling.
Birds and Birding
Hwange is a bird watcher’s paradise, particularly in summer with more than 400 species of birds resident in the various habitats. The concession is currently populated by a broad spectrum of water birds including numerous teals, ducks, geese and sandpipers. Bee-eaters have taken to following us through the grasslands to pick up insets flushed out by the passing vehicles. In the woodlands a special treat is the Arnot’s chat as well as large and small raptors of different species.
Some of the special birds sighted this month have been both the double-banded and bronze-winged courser, white-headed vulture and greater painted-snipe.