The mild winter weather has been conducive to game viewing as guests are able to stay out later. On the few cold nights we did experience a hot water bottle, poncho and Wilderness Trust neckwarmers were all that was needed as guests chose to take the chance of spotting anything exciting at night time, knowing that upon their return to camp a cosy fire was waiting for them in the fireplaces in the main area as well as in their suites.
Winter being prime game viewing season, the Ongava Game Reserve has been bustling with excitement, as animals are more visible in the bushveld and at the waterholes. Neighbouring Etosha National Park has also delivered some amazing sightings and guests always return to camp with smiles on their faces!
Two black rhinoceros cows and their calves have been visiting the Ongava waterhole regularly which makes for exciting viewing from dusk onwards, with guests often jumping up from dinner to view the goings on at the waterhole.
Some guests found a cheetah with her three cubs on the Ongava Reserve - we are all very much aware of how special such a sighting is. Resident Ongava researcher Ken Stratford was so excited by the news that he immediately joined them at the sighting. We would like to thank Jane for sending us copies of her pictures for research purposes and proof that the sighting was real!
Guide Michael and his guests were stunned when three gemsbok (oryx) ran straight past their vehicle whilst they were at a waterhole. Looking around to see whether an enormous lion was chasing the antelope, they were surprised to see a brown hyaena speeding past after the gemsbok. The hyaena gave up the chase soon after, rather choosing to go lie down in the middle of the waterhole!
Because of the large number of impressive lion, rhino and antelope it would be easy to overlook the smaller species that inhabit Ongava Reserve, but it is impossible to ignore the amazing birdlife right outside your bedroom. Large flocks of Red-billed Quelea are seen flying in mesmerising formations, making trees come alive in movement and sound when a whole flock descends into its branches. We are also very excited to see that the Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters with their spectacular blue, green and golden plumage have returned to the Ongava Reserve.
The hide at the Ongava waterhole has been an excellent viewing spot. Guests choosing to sit in the hide with sundowners have been lucky enough to spot rhino, lion, giraffe and several different species of antelope. Sometimes all of them in one evening!
The resident pride of lion has been very active around Ongava and sightings have been frequent: the seven cubs growing up within the pride always entertaining guests with their playful antics. What makes these sightings even more extraordinary is how we can see the way that their hunting instincts are developing through their playfulness, reminding guides and guests alike that even though they are adorable at the moment they will grow up to be incredibly powerful predators.
There is nothing that truly captures the spirit of Africa like the roar of a lion echoing through the bush and here at Little Ongava that thunderous calling of the majestic rulers of the animal kingdom weaves into your dreams and envelopes you in your slumber, leaving your senses heightened and so much more aware of your environment when you awaken for another safari.
Little Ongava Manager, Anthony, took a well-deserved holiday this month and Relief Manager, Trix, looked after Little Ongava in his absence. Anthony returns to camp at the start of August when Trix leaves for Skeleton Coast Camp.
Guides Gabes and Michael have both been looking after the guests at Little Ongava, sharing their knowledge and passion for nature and Africa with our guests, even learning a thing or two from the guests themselves! Guest Alex proved to be an excellent "spotter" when he notified Michael of a small spotted genet sighting on two consecutive nights!