Weather and Landscape
We are delighted to announce the beginning of the rainy season in the Kalahari! Not only is this a great sign of abundance in our concession but the rains have also helped to alleviate the very hot temperatures we experienced in the last two months. Having said that we recorded highs of 36° C and lows of 24° this month… still a bit cooler than September and October though.
It is at this time of year one notices that, despite its arid appearance, the Kalahari supports a huge variety of flora; this includes acacia trees and herbs as well as different grasses. The light precipitation received of late has given the area a whole new personality, one that is green, fresh and colourful.
Each year, during the rains, elephants and many other animals, especially various antelope, journey through our concession from the Delta in search of food. This mini migration is a very special time for us in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
We first spotted a bachelor herd of eight bull elephants crossing the big pan in front of the camp and even though they were skittish it was an awesome sighting. Finally after many months our desert camp guests have had an opportunity to view elephants. We were also amazed to see three impala on the eastern part of the concession. To continue this month of many surprises a lone suricate was also a treat that guests couldn’t stop talking about.
History unfolded in front of our eyes one morning as, upon hearing alarm calls from a number of antelope in Deception Valley, Willie and his guests investigated what they thought were lion cubs. On closer inspection they were surprised to find a female cheetah with three cubs which could not have been more than three months old. This was an amazing experience especially as it was our guests’ very first cheetah sighting!
Our local lion pride, the Plains Pride, led by the majestic Lekhubu Male, still patrols our concession, especially the areas close to camp. The pride has made quite a number of kills this month, mostly oryx. It is truly a privilege to have them here as each and every guest wishes to see the Kalahari black-maned lions. These cats have been frequenting the camp’s waterhole on a daily basis, sometimes spending up to three days under the nearby trees, coming to the waterhole in the late afternoon after the temperatures drop. Good news is that there is an excellent chance that one of the pregnant lionesses might have actually had her cubs and is nursing. She was seen towards the end of this month and the guides noticed that her mammary glands were enlarged.
The wild dog presence in our concession added a spark to the amazing month of November; this healthy and good looking pack has been seen on three occasions.
Birds and Birding
Kalahari Plains offered a brilliant opportunity for avid birders this month as all birders who came to the camp were delighted to see so many different species of birds in the bird bath in the main area. The common local species that have been frequenting our water spot were shaft-tailed whydah, southern-masked weaver, lesser grey shrike and red-backed shrike. One will never forget the first sighting of great-white egrets in our concession recently, adding a bit of colour to our avian count. White-backed vultures have also been seen almost every day at the waterhole, but the best moment was when they were spotted feeding on a dead oryx in the northern part of the camp.
‘Beyond perfection, the staff were all spectacular, thank you for everything.’
Newsletter by Lopang Rampeba
Pictures by Morotsi Rogers Kesietswe