Weather and Landscape
The weather has been changing from day to day; on some days the heat would take over and the swimming pool was the best place to hide during the midday hours. Other days we woke up with a very pleasant cool breeze or with some rain falling. On most of the days after the shower the sun shone again as if nothing happened and the birds sang beautifully. Other nights the rain poured and while having dinner we were all amazed by the lightning and thunder…classic African nights! Temperatures were quite reasonable, reaching a maximum of 35 degrees Celsius and lows of 19 degrees Celsius.
The water levels kept on dropping too, ankle deep around our jetty in front of camp. We were still able to do boat trips from this jetty and luckily we were able to reach Hunda Island via the Kwetsani jetty.
What a great month for wildlife sightings! The new cubs from the Jao Pride were seen for the first time at the end of the month. We are pleased to announce that three healthy cubs were seen and appear to be doing really well. It has almost been a month since we first heard the little cries from deep within the den, and now we have finally seen them. There is a possibility that there may be another one or two cubs which we didn’t see, so we will definitely keep a close eye on them. The dominant males are clearly proud of their offspring, as we heard them calling on a daily basis, usually during the morning while we enjoyed breakfast.
On the herbivore side, two old buffalo bulls have taken a liking to the camp area and were seen relaxing in the shade of the rooms on a number of occasions. In the cool of morning this duo would spend quite a lot of time feeding out in front of camp then retire to the shade to ruminate during the heat of the day.
Elephants have come very close to camp and we have found a couple of them sleeping in the surroundings. One of them took a fancy to the swimming pool area and on another occasion an elephant was found sleeping under one of the rooms. It was a whole new experience seeing how such a big animal would wake up and look confused while starting to move slowly and get up and go. A lot of elephant babies have been also sighted trying to use their trunks – however it is a big effort for these little ones!
A hippo and two babies have been seen frequently around the camp during the nights; our guests loved seeing them and sometimes waited for them to appear. A civet has also been seen walking around the camp. Our big mongoose family has been seen all around camp with a lot of pregnant females - we hope to see these little babies soon!
A southern African python was sighted by managers hiding under the car wash area after eating. With the surrounding water levels being so low our guests also saw a lot of crocodiles during their boat trips as well as water snakes and even a black mamba – what a sighting!
Birds and Birding
Two southern-ground hornbills were seen from the boma flying around the camp – they have also been seen in front of the management units and relaxing in front of the camp. Purple rollers have also been spotted flying next to camp.
One morning we woke up to the call of a woodland kingfisher, so stunningly beautiful! Lilac breasted rollers, the national bird of Botswana have also been spotted around camp.
We had a very funny sighting on one of the mornings while we were all standing with our first cup of coffee – a vervet monkey running away from an African paradise-flycatcher! Probably the naughty little monkey was trying to get too close to their nest and the bird harassed him until he disappeared off the scene.
We have been doing what we know best at Jao, WOWing our guests, even with the threat of the rain overhead! We have arranged surprise sundowners on the majestic floodplains, brunches and magical dinners under the stars surrounded by candles and lanterns up the path. On rainy days our guests were blown away by the tastings of our selected wines while the roar of the skies amazed every single one of us.
Our romantic spa has also hosted private dinners for our couples and small groups. Brunch around the pool enabled guests to cool off on the hottest days and then end the day with dinner on the fire deck.
During the afternoons our guests have been able to learn one of the most traditional techniques of Botswana basket weaving - men and women learn this at a very young age and it is part of the culture of many villages in the country. We also followed our mongoose mafia around camp, with so many pregnant females it is just so cute to see them trying to run after food!
On some nights after dinner our guests went back to their rooms to taste Cindy’s homemade truffles, what a delight! Our more adventurous guests tried our sala bed sleep outs where one can feel part of the landscape, though always with the option to go back to the room if it gets cooler.
Our boma nights are a favourite and our staff perform great African song and dance routines. Voices, drums and moves that captivate everyone’s soul – our guests followed the dances and rocked in rhythm; we all love these nights...
Staff in Camp
Managers: Cindy Swart, Charl Bergh, Barend Vorster, Alejandra Pablo, Andre van Rensburg, Estie van Rensburg, Nadia Fourie, Jade Holt, Gloria Amos, Kamogelo Mabila, Marina Lunga and Nelly Oteng
Guides: Alberto Munduu, Cruise Mollowakgotto, Issa Satheba, Tibabili Salani and Rasta Taetso