Unpredictable! That describes Desert Rhino’s weather patterns this month. We had a lot of cold days with heavy mist in the mornings, making for great full day safaris. After the cold we enjoyed a pleasant two days of light rain showers giving us the feeling that we are shedding winter for summer.
This month we had a lot of good sightings of spotted hyaena. In the Desert Rhino Camp area they are a very common species but not always seen as their activity is mostly confined to the hours of darkness. They are fascinating creatures that are unfortunately poorly rated by most guests, however after spending some time with them, many people often change their minds about these smart, social, long-distance runners. They are the ultimate survivors when it comes to predators. In lean times they will eat bones of many months old, thus accessing a protein that is not available to all other predators. They can also chase prey down for kilometres on end!
Our resident pride of lion, the Agab Pride, has been seen regularly during the month. At the moment they have splintered into different groups. Monica, the lead female, is currently mating with the Dorob male that has come all the way from the Brandberg area over 150 km away. One of her sisters is expected to give birth any time soon; she is on her own at the moment. We have also been seeing six of the young adults of this pride, who are spending time increasingly alone.
During September we also had three leopard sightings all around the Khoabes area.
This was another month of excellent rhino sightings. The most memorable must be on a hard day when the morning produced no black rhino, so when the guests stopped for a picnic lunch the trackers took up old spoor of the previous day which they decided to follow. Normally the trackers follow new tracks as rhino can cover huge distances over a 24-hour period. So while the guests relaxed and ate lunch with the guides, the trackers followed the tracks for 15 km before coming across three rhino. Amazing!
A unique observation this month was that of giraffe eating welwitschia leaves. If this has been previously been recorded we don't know of it, so we can only speculate that the leaves have a certain mineral that they were looking for.
We have received the go-ahead for three camera traps to monitor the leopards of the Desert Rhino Camp surrounds. Keep watching this space to see some pictures of these cats of solitude! We are also researching why rhinos like to scrape-mark near milk bushes and another bush called Orthanthera albida, which has watery latex whereas the euphorbia species has milky latex. Right now the theory is that it preserves the scent of the marking animal longer.
On the 22nd of September we celebrated World Rhino Day with our guests. Apart from the normal camp chat we gave a talk about rhino at the start of dinner. Then after dinner we entertained the guests with some role playing and lots of singing and dancing where the guests were encouraged to join in.
We welcome Esau, our new staff member, to Desert Rhino Camp and at the same time say goodbye to Raymond who leaves us after 14 years of service to Wilderness Safaris.
Staff in Camp
Camp Manager: Elfrieda
F&B Manager: William
Asst. Manager: Simon
Emergency Manager: Queen
Guides: Aloysius, Nestor, Johann