Weather and Landscape
Promise… November started with the promise of rain and good cloud build-up every day. We even had a few drops of rain but towards the middle of the month the clouds were a distant memory. The general weather pattern for most days would start off very comfortable, becoming very hot by midday. Luckily the heat wave didn’t persist and the cool ocean breeze would arrive early in the afternoon on most days.
Seven black rhino sightings in one day! This is a record for November – the seven individuals were seen whilst out on a full day excursion in the vast Palmwag Concession.
Another highlight for the month was a face-off between a rhino bull and an elephant cow. The scene unfolded as the guide, tracker and guests were viewing the rhino, which casually walked right into the middle of a breeding herd of desert elephants. Initially both species were relaxed, but an elephant cow with a young calf became uneasy and approached the rhino with purpose and intent. The rhino took note of the intent and moved off before a physical confrontation ensued – it was just amazing to observe the clear body language of the elephant.
On the predator front, our guiding team has discovered a new hyaena den. So far we have counted seven adults and six cubs. This den soon became a firm favorite with our guests as the pups and adults are very relaxed and curious in the presence of the vehicle. An event that stood out for all the guides was when one of the adult females brought back part of a springbok carcass for the cubs.
The hyaena were not allowed to entirely steal the limelight as we also enjoyed terrific lion sightings and encounters. Two prides have settled into the area and have provided us with almost daily sightings. Both prides currently have cubs present, with the Aub Pride having 12 and Axab Pride having four.
Other predators seen this month include cheetah and leopard. On one occasion we had the privilege of witnessing a leopard attempting to catch a steenbok; however luck was on the side of the dwarf antelope.
As mentioned above, we also enjoyed some great desert elephant sightings as there are currently four breeding herds in the area.
Research and Conservation
We have received our first camera trap for the leopard project. So far the felines are proving very elusive. We already had one individual walking around the camera rather than in front of it!
We have identified several areas used by leopards so now it’s only a matter of time and good camera concealment. Meanwhile the camera trap has recorded quite a good variety of other wildlife species.
Currently we have Rob Roy Ramey and Laura Macalister Brown of Desert Elephant Conservation in the Palmwag Concession researching the desert elephants in our area.
“I cannot say enough about how amazing Desert Rhino Camp is. Therezia is the ultimate mother hen to her family. I love how everyone comes together as a family at this camp. The atmosphere is fantastic! I loved our ‘scorpion hunting dinner’ (bush dinner) and the thoughtful lunch by the pool. Aly, our guide went above and beyond to show us elephant on our last day. I also loved that everyone ensures that the animals are respected. I could keep going on forever, but I will just say that I can’t wait to return.”
Staff in Camp
Managers: Elfrieda, William, Simon and Therezia
Guides: Johann, Aloysius, Kali and Nestor
Trackers: Martin, Epsom, Denzel and Cisser