The night of the 1st of July, we heard the lions roar some kilometres away, signalling their presence as they made their way back from Jao to Kwetsani. In the early hours of the morning, Mufasa, the dominant male, roared so loudly that the guests all awoke with a start as the roar reverberated through the tents. He is really a magnificent beast, with the most beautiful mane that is kept so well groomed. He spent a five day honeymoon mating with one of the females - this is after seeing him last month as he matedwith the other female. This means that in October and November we hopefully should be welcoming two litters of cubs. We are all so looking forward to this as we believe, with the waters receding, that they will have a far greater survival rate than those who were born now.
With all the frolicking over, Mufasa was in a playfully mischievous mood one Friday afternoon, and while we were both getting our freight and collecting guests, he flopped on our jetty and bit both the ropes that tied our boats to the side, then casually got up and sauntered off, while our boats floated down the Delta. Thankfully, the Jao manager saw what was going on and went to fetch the boats back to shore. It was indeed a fun Friday.
We have a mother hyaena with her two sub-adult pups. As all children, they are blissfully unaware of what is right and wrong and innocently go exploring, sometimes where they are not allowed. One night while we were at dinner, one sub-adult, still all fluffy, came up the entrance and stuck her head around the corner. Then ever so casually she walked past the lounge area and on to the walkways leading to the rooms. She then came back again and dolefully stood and watched us from the bar area before turning around and walking to the anthill on the side of the walkway and back on to the ground. The next morning we found her walking up the walkway from the kitchen to the dining room – having chased her from the dining room it was assumed she went back down to the ground, but this was not the case. When Dan went to his office a little later, there he found her.
On the subject of hyaena, twice this month they have managed to steal the shy leopard's kill. Of course when they come across food like this there is a whole lot of giggling that takes place. Often the silent night is broken by their clear calling to one another.
We were surrounded by a breeding herd of elephant the other day - which was such a pleasure. The privilege of being able to watch them from our deck is really awe-inspiring. The whole interaction between adults and babies is fascinating as the babies imitate their mothers and then get quite frustrated because their little trunks are still too floppy to do what their elders' trunks are doing.
We have had some amazing leopard sightings over the years that we have been in this concession, but this particular sighting was up there with the best of them. We spent a lot of time with her as she stalked, then gave up when the lechwe got scent of her. However she seemed not to be fazed as she walked back to where she came from and climbed an anthill to get a better view of her prey for a later hunting attempt. The light was perfect and so her actions were caught perfectly on camera.
Kwollie, as we affectionately call the giant eagle-owl that resides in the trees in and around camp, seemed to find a mate, who did not stay for very long. We are convinced though, that Kwollie loves to be here at Kwetsani. When he whistles, we often answer with our version of a whistle and often he will come and sit closer.
One of our guides spotted some day-old double-banded sandgrouse chicks which were so well camouflaged in the grass that we were really surprised to have seen them at all. To help protect themselves they freeze - which gave us a good opportunity to take photos.
The marabou storks have grouped to have an ‘eating meeting’ on the floodplains in front of camp, together with the wattled cranes and saddle-billed storks – which are a common sighting.
Kwetsani guides, MT and Florence have done a superb job throughout July, ensuring that all our guests have the best game viewing experience that this ‘Wilderness’ has to offer.
“We saw more that expected! Seeing the lions was one big highlight. Our guide Flo was absolutely wonderful. So knowledgeable and generous with her knowledge. The staff were gracious and accommodating – esp. to my dietary requirements. The management team was extraordinary helpful – insightful and great stories. Special thanks to Dan for the phototshop training.”
“The camp is beautiful, clean and luxurious, well maintained. The staff is wonderful – polite, helpful, friendly. The food was delicious and quite accommodating to personal preferences/needs. MT was our guide and he was meant to do this! His passion and instinct and knowledge are a true gift. Thank you for being a part of or dream trip. We will definitely recommend this camp to others and hopefully one day return with our children.”
“The lovely accommodation, the warm and generous hospitality of Dan and Charmaine and the entire Kwetsani staff. The food. Then the wildlife; the silly baboons, the elusive leopards, and the plentiful birding. Oh and the mokoro ride and the up close look at the water channels.”
Staff in Camp
Managers in camp: Dan and Charmaine Myburg
Guides in camp: Florence Kagiso and MT Malebogo