Climate and Landscape
The first half of April was filled with stormy weather as the rainy season seemed to prolong the lightning shows and relief of short afternoon showers. By the end of April however, the skies are blue with not a cloud in sight as the sun warms the Delta before the first real signs of the cold arrive. Temperatures reached 28° Celsius during the day before dropping to 15° at night for a comfortable night’s rest.
The waters have started to flow onto the open floodplains and the water level is rising slowly in front of camp. This usually brings with it animal behaviour changes seen from the main deck; as the water arrives, it rejuvenates growth of the grasses and so the hippo are often seen at dinner time, slowly mowing their way past the dinner tables as if almost on cue with the starters! The general game from camp has been at its best, with warthog, elephant, red lechwe and impala abundant – as has been the birdlife.
Little Mombo had a large herd of buffalo (estimated 500) wading through the shallow waters during brunch one morning. It was a lovely sighting with many young following closely behind their mothers. The swishing of water and the random bellows were a change from the usual tranquillity and soothing call of the pair of resident African fish-eagles.
Easter was celebrated in true Mombo style with guests ‘happening’ upon a surprise bush brunch set up at Kubu Kaya. There were hot cross buns and Easter eggs galore as everyone enjoyed the beautiful view of the channel and the animals that call it home.
Major predator sightings have been excellent again this month with the Moporota, Western, Hakuna and Mathata lion prides all being seen on a regular basis. The Western Pride was seen on a fresh hippo kill at Suzie’s Duck Pond. They gorged themselves for a few days before heading west again, Mmamoriri (the female with the mane) leading the way.
Camp Managers Graham and Phenyot were heading home after closing camp down one night when they came across one of the Moporota males feasting on a young red lechwe in the floodplains a few feet from their houses. He was soon joined by two of his brothers and a lioness and the peaceful night sounds were shattered with snarls and growls as each jostled for the best feeding spot.
Guests have been treated to great sightings of leopard this month, with Pula on a fresh impala kill, Sergeant hoisting an impala into a tree, Blue Eyes lazily resting in the warm afternoon sun as well as Legedema and Blue Eyes mating. This does not bode well for Legedema’s cubs as it may mean she has lost yet another litter.
One drive to mention was when guests stopped by a pan to have some champagne. As they were admiring the sunset and sipping on their bubbly, Blue Eyes the leopard could be heard calling in his deep throaty growls. The guests jumped into the nearby vehicle and within seconds spotted him climbing an acacia. Now they had bubbly, a sunset and a male leopard to enjoy!
The pack of five male wild dogs has been joined by a female and they have been seen mating regularly. As long as the mating is successful (the female is still rather young), there could be a new dawn of wild dogs in the Mombo area. Exciting times lie ahead as dogs have not denned in the area for many years now!
Birds and Birding
The Pel’s fishing-owls have been sighted almost every day, either at Little Mombo or Main Camp, with Little Mombo’s deck as well as Tents 7 and 8 being their favourite places to perch. Their haunting calls at night are heard before they swoop down on an unsuspecting catfish and carry it away for their dinner.
It must be noted that April was a month of welcoming back many friends as well as making new ones. Some guests celebrated their 100th night at Mombo whilst others were spending their first! Boma evenings were always a delight with the choir’s voices and rhythm sounding across the island.
We bid a sad farewell to Callum and Sean from our guiding and management team respectively and wish them well on their way.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Graham, Phenyot, Kirsty, Anja, Reuben, Tanya, Mmegi and at Little Mombo Nick and Selena
Guides: Doctor, Moss, Sefo, Yompy and OB