Wildlife and Landscape
It is summertime and that means lots of rain! This is also Namibia's hot season and mid-afternoons are especially warm. Thanks to all the rain, the Ongava Reserve is beautifully green, and we expect it to get greener. This makes wildlife viewing a bit difficult, as the bush is quite thick.
The extreme nature of summer here at Ongava allows our guests to take longer afternoon rests before heading out on game drives. One advantage of the midday heat is that it makes afternoon swims in the private plunge pools that much more refreshing and rewarding. The mornings are pleasantly cool, and at times overcast - and the evenings give way to the most beautiful sunsets, coalescing with the clouds. The boom of thunder and flashes of lightning across the horizon create the impression of fireworks.
Generally, at the height of the rainy season, antelope graze together in very large herds, and tend to seek water further inland, instead of drinking at the waterholes near Little Ongava. There has not been a lot of rain during the past three weeks, however, so the viewing of animals at the waterholes is very exciting and the animal interaction very high.
Guests commented that Etosha National Park was very quiet and that they saw more diversity of animals in the Ongava Game Reserve, which is always nice to hear. They also mentioned that they didn't have to travel as far in the Ongava Reserve to see such diversity of species.
Every evening both black and white rhinoceros have been seen at the waterhole in front of camp, some even with calves. This has caused great excitement among the guests, who would sit up until late enjoying the viewing. Some of them referred to the waterhole as a "big screen television". Occasionally we would see interesting interaction between rhino and lion - with the rhino establishing their dominance and chasing the lion away from the water.
Lion have been seen very often on the Reserve this month. Guests come across lion on almost all our drives, which is always thrilling. Nothing quite equals the excitement of seeing lion in their natural habitat, doing what lion do best. On a few occasions we saw young lion trying to improve their hunting skills by stalking giraffe at the waterhole.
The most thrilling sound of all is the roaring of the lion, as they call to each other from all corners of the Reserve. This is exhilarating, and makes one think that they are right outside one's room. It's a formidable sound, and one that no-one can ever forget.
There have been a lot of birds around the camp this month, ranging from Violet-backed Starlings, which are summer visitors, to Eurasian Golden Oriole - also common summer visitors. Bearded Woodpecker are found right in front of camp, with the males doing their territorial bill-drumming on the tree branches. African Paradise-Flycatchers with their high vocals and beautiful elongated tails are currently building nests and laying eggs.
The rainy season has brought with it an abundance of insects. The most exciting being the mopane moth (Gonimbrasia belina). This is a caterpillar with a life cycle that starts in summer. It undergoes four stages, burrows under the ground to pupate and finally becomes an adult moth - which happens over winter. The adult moths live for only three to four days, during which time they must mate and lay eggs.
Florensia has taken over as Camp Manager from Anthony. She has been with Wilderness Safaris for almost three years now. She started at Doro Nawas Camp in the heart of Damaraland, and then moved to Serra Cafema, the desert oasis close to the Angolan border. Anthony has swapped places with her and is now at Serra Cafema.
We also bid farewell to Trix Mallan, whose time here we truly valued. Joining the dynamic team of Little Ongava as the Relief Manager is Michael Kaeding. He is very excited to be joining our family, and has a great passion for the bush.
Charismatic Gabriel has been with Little Ongava for almost three years, and still guides with great passion and enthusiasm. When he is on leave the energetic and fun-filled Michael steps in to share his bush knowledge with guests.