We have had very good rains this season with 132 mm falling in the month of December, much more than we had in December 2011. The rains have not affected camp activities or game sightings, however, as they tend to come in short heavy showers. We continue to see large elephant herds which would ordinarily have moved away from the area at this time of year and we have even been lucky enough to watch them cross over to the southern bank in front of camp.
On the predator front, the DumaTau Pride of lions has had wide ranging movements and sightings have been slightly less than usual as they roam beyond game drive routes, especially towards the eastern side of Savuti Camp. However, they remain an integral part of the DumaTau predator scene. One of the adult females appears heavily pregnant and reports are coming through that indicate her denning in the Selinda area; the number of cubs is still undetermined. Mavinyo's brother (the leader of the DumaTau Pride) is still looking healthy and strong. He has been vocalising a lot recently mainly as a response to the challenges from the Kings Pool Male. A confrontation between the two seems imminent.
A number of unknown nomadic lions have also been seen in the area. Two subadult males have been roaming between Fisherman's Link and DumaTau Camp, but they have since been chased out by the DumaTau Pride. A healthy looking adult male with an impressive mane was spotted once at Zib Lagoon on the north bank of the Savute Channel. Another two subadult males, thought to be the Savuti Female's offspring, are now back and have been seen roaming the south bank of the Savute Channel.
The DumaTau male leopard, who remains the icon of the area, has been sighted a number of times, still looking healthy and strong. We have seen him mating with a female near Big Jack on the DumaTau floodplain. Not for lack of trying, this male has not produced any offspring for a long time so we are all crossing our fingers and toes for a cub in the coming months! The Calcrete Female has been seen regularly around the LTC transit route, often on impala kills. Her cub is still shy but at our last sighting the cub was on his own and the mother not in sight.
The LTC Pack of dogs is still doing very well. All seven pups have survived thus far, now fully weaned and strong enough to follow the pack of adults around while enjoying the impala lamb feast!
The birding has also continued to be great this month. The southern-carmine bee-eater chicks have all fledged and the mothers are regularly seen feeding the chicks. We have two active southern ground-hornbill nesting sites, along Mokwepa Road close to First Corner Bridge which has provided some interesting sightings.
We are happy to also report that our resident bushpig, "Pudge", is still seen regularly around the camp at night. He certainly isn't shy and is happy to oblige for photos after dinner!
2012 has been a truly fantastic year at DumaTau. We wonder what 2013 has on offer...
Staff in Camp
Managers: Gerard, Claire, Ben, KG and Kelly.
Guides: Bobby, Moses, Name, Ona and Tank.
Photos by Claire Binks and Ona Basimane