Weather and Landscape
The lush green bush abuzz with birdlife… water pans filled to the brim attracting herds of zebra, kudu, giraffe and impala… muddy patches on the roads deepened by elephants as they spurt mud over themselves… this sums up our weather for the month! Heavy afternoon thunderstorms passing through, breaking to reveal spectacular sunsets, letting the animals dry themselves before nightfall. The rainy season as predicted has lasted a bit longer this time round due to its late arrival. We can already see it slowing down but in the meantime the elephants will play! Temperatures varied from 25 to 35° Celsius during the day, dropping to a cool 20° at night, perfect for sleeping.
February being the month of Valentine’s did not go unnoticed by the animals and in particular Blue Eyes and Pula, resident male and female leopards who were seen cavorting near camp, intent on strengthening the Mombo leopard population! It is a sad thought as well though, as it undoubtedly means Pula has lost her previous litter… such are the hardships of the animal kingdom. Mmolai, Legedema and a new male leopard have also been seen regularly in the area as they slink through the thick bush patrolling their territory. Legedema created great excitement as she was seen carrying a furry spotted bundle to a new den. This number subsequently grew to two cubs – though they have not been seen for the last week so we are hoping she has simply moved dens and they have not been lost to predators.
The lion prides have been roaring across camp as they try and intimidate each other into ceding territory. On one particular night we could recognise the calls (due to geographic location) of the Western Pride, Moporota Pride and the Mathata Pride, all roaring deep into the night. The Hakuna Pride has been the most sought-after by guests as their two cubs go from strength to strength. The Mombo Boy is still seen by the females’ side, keeping a watchful eye over his brood. They have mostly been sighted just west of Suzie’s Duck Pond and were sleeping some 100 metres away from the pack of five male wild dogs, themselves a mere 50 metres from a young leopardess that has been seen along Roller Highway!
There were three very exciting nights in particular this month when the Western Pride came into camp in the early morning roaring in unison. Early morning wake-up calls were not necessary, but what was needed was a vehicle to fetch the Manager on duty as his boardwalk was blocked by the lions! The next day camp awoke to 250+ buffalo sleeping in the floodplains in front of Tent 1 and that night a male leopard came through camp, making his deep guttural call every few minutes. It was difficult to identify in the impenetrable dark but the glimpses we got seem to indicate it was the new male trying to stake his claim to Blue Eyes’ territory!
The large herds of general game are still about as usual: the 10-minute trip from the airstrip will inevitably produce impala, zebra, elephant, giraffe, warthog and red lechwe with the occasional wildebeest and kudu mixing with the other browsers.
Birds and Birding
On the birding front the vibrant colours of the ever-present lilac-breasted roller and crimson- breasted shrike have been seen on every drive, rivalled by the aerobatics of the southern carmine bee-eaters who fly hair-raisingly close to the vehicles, hoping that some unsuspecting insect will fly up from the long grasses nearby. A definite highlight has been the Pel’s fishing-owls in camp! Some great pictures have been taken by well-travelled guides and photographers alike, this being their exciting first sighting of the Pel’s.
We look forward to a slightly drier month ahead as well as whatever adventures and marvels from the ‘place of plenty’ await us in March!
Staff in Camp
Guides in camp: OB, Yompy-Diye, Tsilie, Dr. Malinga, Cisco, Callum and Moss.
Managers in camp: Graham, Phenyo, Dittmar, Cheri, Ryan, Anja plus we welcome Nick and Selena to our Mombo family!