Climate and Landscape
In the first two weeks of February this year we hardly saw the sun shine as it rained every day. However, with 28 mm more rain this February than that of 2013, we are surprised to see that the water that covered our roads in the floodplain in front of Kwetsani this time a year ago has not yet reached the same point. That just goes to show that although the inundation comes every year, it does so very much on its own time. We have welcomed this cooler summer, and the temperatures have been just perfect.
The dry floodplain in front of Kwetsani is teeming with red lechwe, making it a feast-table for predators. And because it is decked with so much food, we have had the lion pride dining in and around camp for most of February! One morning we were delighted to find that the females had made a kill about 50 metres from the camp swimming pool. Having left their six cubs near Tent 6, we watched as the females stood up from the kill and walk towards the cubs… and in the mouth of the one lioness was a chunk of meat. This female then dropped the meat for the cubs, and both mothers went back to finish the kill while the cubs devoured the meat brought to them. The male has made numerous territorial rounds through camp – his roars vibrating against the tents.
The very shy and elusive leopards that are in the Kwetsani Camp area have not been seen, but they have been very vocal. It is our hope that these beautiful cats will eventually calm down long enough to give us a good view of them.
Kwetsani is situated in an advantageous position whereby we can game drive on both Jao and Hunda Islands, meaning our guests get to experience the best of both. Lately we have been seeing another young pride of lion on Hunda as well as the pride of the Jao floodplains – but more than that we have had really good sightings of the leopard at Hunda. The latest sighting was a female leopard with her cub on a kudu calf kill. The guests were fascinated to watch how the mother kudu kept coming back to the area where the leopard killed her calf, and kept on calling it – the circle of life moving on.
The elephant herds have been away for a few months but are starting to come back into the area. It is always wonderful to have these magnificent giants around. Our guests also had the pleasure of watching about 20 elephant run right in front of them, being chased by a bull who eventually found who he was looking for – guests then watched as he mounted a female in a mating ritual.
Plains game such as zebra, buffalo and wildebeest have been around in large herds plus the pleasure of seeing so many giraffe has been an awesome experience for our guests this month.
Birds and Birding
As always the birdlife is spectacular. Toward the north of Kwetsani, the waters are coming in and catfish large and small are coming to the surface by the thousand: a call for the birdlife to fatten up for winter, so to speak. This is the only time of year when you will be able to see fish eagles gather in large numbers both on the ground and in the trees as they begin to feast on the fish.
By March, our inundation will be in and the birdlife will be in abundance. What a great time to be in Botswana!
Dan and Charmaine Myburg
Moengotsile Malebogo, Rasta Taetso, Moyo Kapinga