Weather and Landscape
October is known to be a hot month (and boy, has it been) – the beginning of summer and not quite the rainy season. Once the moon started waning, there was a build-up of storms to the east, and the first signs of thunder and lightning from camp. The winds carried the storms right past us, but this did keep the temperatures cool, especially at night. We have only had one shower this month which brought 9 mm of water, as measured on the rain gauge. What is amazing is how the ground transformed as soon as the first drizzle wet the earth: the nutritious shoots gave colour to the dry barren floodplains and life around the island became even more abundant.
One can almost feel and smell the thirst of the Kalahari sands as they long for rain and as the days get warmer, the tropical thunderstorms build up and promise rain as thunder echoes over the water in the late afternoon…
Jacana being on a remote island, the highlight of the month (and there were plenty), was one evening as a group arrived back to camp after a relaxing mokoro trip only to come home to an irate vervet monkey that was interested in something on an islet opposite Tent 3. Brooks Kamanakao, being an avid guide, surveyed the area with his binoculars and later with a manager went up to Tent 2 and scouted the islet further as it was obvious there was something there that made the monkey uneasy. And patience paid off… As twilight faded a young male lion emerged from behind an islet and carefully walked through shoulder-high floodplain water towards the island, wary of crocodiles that could challenge him. The young male was identified as an intruder or nomad (not one of the resident lions) that had wandered into the area. For a few days after, the monkeys were unhappy but we never saw the feline again.
From the main area and dining area there are two African fish-eagles that made the waters in front of camp their fishing grounds and home for this month. As the water recedes, masses of fish have been caught up and these same eagles have been seen fending off another pair, talons interlocked and spiralling to the waters below. It was amazing to watch them over lunch!
For most of the month there have been two saddle-billed storks and a lonely goliath heron that fish the same waters. We have been able to witness interesting interactions between these three different species: The fish-eagles dive bombing the saddle-billed storks in an attempt to get away with the storks’ hard-earned catch, only to be met by a large scissor-like beak. The goliath heron, interestingly enough has shown to be submissive to the saddle-billed storks when they fish the same waters.
The almost forgotten call of the woodland kingfisher echoes through the Delta once more. These colourful birds migrate as far north as Sudan for winter and make their way south during spring - also a sign that the rainy season is upon us.
With the water receding we have had red lechwe more visible around the camp island. On the eastern side we now have a nursing herd with a few males mixed in. Elephants have visited the camp as well, walking out in front of the tents and even stopping by the main area in time for high tea. At night, while we are dining on the open deck in front of the main area, their grumbles and splashes add ambiance to the candlelit feast.
“Great staff, top notch facility and excellent experience. The camp is located on an amazing site.”
“Great view over the Delta – wonderful room and service. We loved the mokoro trips – just wished we could stay for longer!”
“A wonderful, peaceful setting. Great staff, we loved the boats and birds and of course trying our hand at fishing and learning to steer the mokoro.”
“Mokoro trips, Pel’s fishing-owl, rosy-throated longclaw, elephant, hippo in channel, and the variety of kingfishers. The atmosphere was superb.”
“The peaceful mokoro, the bat in the loo with a view, the staff, the food, the surrounding water and fishing with our grandchildren. We will return.”
Staff in Camp
Managers: Neuman Vasco and Rauve Vermaak
Guides: Moruti Maipelo, Timothy Samuel, Thuso Danaye and Broken Bambo