Green season safaris are, without a doubt, the most exciting! Linkwasha has not been too far from the action, as the sprawling Ngamo Plains have provided the stage for many a spectacle over the course of the month.
Herds of wildebeest graze serenely as far as the eye can see, their young calves nestled in the centre of the group away from any potential dangers. The bulky frames of eland line the edge of the plains, the dense vegetation behind them providing ample cover should their shyness get the better of them. Zebra and impala roam the vast vlei, nibbling on the nutrient-rich grasses that have transformed this desolate dust bowl into a herbivore’s haven.
In the afternoons the elephants come out to play in the shallow water that has inundated the vlei. With so much of it around, they don’t have to travel far from their favourite feeding spots to ease their thirst.
But this tranquil paradise has been frequently shattered. Two young male lions, manes disheveled, and often accompanied by two females, have been creating terror amongst the plains game. With zebra and wildebeest in abundance, they lie in wait for the perfect opportunity, when one of the grazers unwittingly ventures too close.
Away from the lions, but creating an equal amount of havoc, a cheetah and her four cubs survey the landscape from the tops of termite mounds, as they too pick out their meal choice. With so many young around, there is always the prospect of an abandoned calf on which the young cheetah can harness their hunting skills. Like the lion, they bide their time, for once they are seen alarm calls ring across the vlei and the opportunity is over. Judging by their stocky build, they have had no shortage of success though, and have been seen devouring impala, zebra, wildebeest and even an unlucky spring hare.
Birds and Birding
The birds too, are at risk of predation. A martial eagle has perfected his technique in hunting white storks; razor sharp, powerful talons clamp around the stork in a death grip, before he drags it into a bush where he can feed discreetly. Jackal and tawny eagle watch from a distance, waiting for their turn to feed on the scraps. Once the meal is over, the predators collapse in the shade in an overindulged heap, while those that have survived the ordeal, drift slowly back to grazing. Tranquility returns to the plains.
Meanwhile, the heavy rains have not had a chance to filter down into the aquifers below yet, and so much of the Ngamo Plains are home to many water birds. Egyptian geese, red-billed teal, knob-billed duck and the occasional southern pochard drift between the reeds, while saddle-billed storks, grey-crowned cranes and grey herons saunter around the periphery.
A quiet patch in February provided the perfect opportunity for our staff to take part in training programs to fine-tune their various skill sets. One of our waiters, Innocent, was selected to represent the Zimbabwean camps in a week-long wine course in Cape Town where he learnt about the wine-making process from the vineyard to the vat.
Our guides and managers took part in a three-day advanced bush first aid course, where they were taught all the latest medical techniques when responding to an emergency in the bush. All the guides then took part in a four-day guide training course with Zimbabwe’s most renowned safari guides. Under their tutelage, our guides were able to share their knowledge with their colleagues, learn from the more experienced guides, and form bonds with guides from other camps, all of which bodes well for another exciting season in Hwange.
“Linkwasha Team – best of the bush!”
“Two unforgettable days in an African Paradise!”
“Our lives were truly changed forever!”
Staff in Camp
Camp Managers: Jeremy Claringbold, Joe Hanly
Managers: Avias Ncube, Cynthia Ndiweni
Pro Guides: Joshua Magaya,
Learner Guides: Livingstone Sana, Eustace Mativire,
Kitchen: Innocent Lunga, Bernard Ndebele, Johane Mpala, Philani Mhlanga, Reason Ncube, Vumani Nkomazana
Waiters: Innocent Chidarera, Clever Moyo, Valani Nyoni, Simon Ngwenya and Newton Taderera
Housekeeping: Patrick Munkuli, Earnest Phiri, Charles Sibanda, Josphat Mkandla, Abiot Nyoni and Charles Mdluli, Sheunesu Chinyoka
Maintenance: Roland Nyoni, Khumbulani Mthombeni, Emmanuel Tshuma, Gilbert Dube, Malaki Gwindi, Freeman Ndlovu
Security: Tapiwa Nyoni, Gilbert Ncube and Mthulisi Dube.