Winter is knocking on the door at Mombo with the steady increase of the annual inundation accompanied by brisk, chilly mornings. The temperatures usually rise to 20+ degrees Celsius during the day before slowly dropping back in the late afternoon. The clear blue, cloudless skies give way to an inimitable orange sere across the horizon which is welcomed with a sundowner back at camp. Rain has fast become a distant memory. The winter months in the Delta are beautiful, as long as you bring a jacket!
Certain animals at Mombo change their patterns at this time of year, most notably the lions. The Moporota Pride in particular are often more active during the day as the warm rays of sun help loosen their muscles for their hunting sorties. Slowly ambling into camp, they come and see which prey are stranded on the island, the only escape for impala and warthog is to run the gauntlet back across the bridge and past the waiting pride. These forays into camp always bring about excitement from guests and staff alike as it is a true privilege to witness their hunting techniques. The male lions of the pride, six in total are getting bigger and stronger by the month and buffalo seem to be a favourite meal as the extra brawn makes it easier to bring down such large prey compared to when the younger males were watching their mothers and aunts do the hunting. One such kill happened right next to camp in the late afternoon.
A sad but true reality of being an apex predator was witnessed by guests when four of the young males were seen mauling and then feeding on a lioness from another pride. For the full story and video please click here.
The Western Pride have been seen but not as regularly as previous months due to the amount of water that has entered their territory, making it difficult to track them across the muddy plains. Sometimes four paws are often better than a four wheel drive!
The Mathata Pride to the south have also been somewhat elusive, it is believed to be partly due to the change in terrain with the arrival of the inundation but also because of the boisterous more mature young males of the Moporota Pride laying stake to their fathers territory.
Leopard sightings have been great with Maru showing us her five month old cub for the first time on the last day of May. She has not been seen since, but judging by her size is surely following mom around and learning from her. Click here to view a video.
Legadema was seen walking near the airstrip calling in a distressed fashion and we feel that perhaps she has lost another litter as the ongoing territorial battle between Mmolai and Blue Eyes continues. It seems that the male leopards are still eliminating possible siring from each other as no single male can establish dominance. In a fascinating sighting, Blue Eyes lost a kill to the young Moporota boys as they climbed a tree to steal his meal. Even in the trees, a leopard’s dinner is not safe! Legadema was up to her old antics on the last night of June when she blessed us with her presence by strolling through camp nonchalantly, checking up on her territory.
The resident herd of elephants have been entertaining guests during mid-day breaks in drives and it seems even from camp there is always something to be seen as herds of red lechwe, troops of baboons and vervet monkeys are ever present, not to mention the hippo’s and crocs sunning themselves on the banks in front of camp; siesta time has never been busier!
Slaty egrets are a common sighting on the border of the marshy flood line as it creeps closer to camp, rubbing wings with the ever present Egyptian geese, long-toed lapwing and blacksmith lapwing. The Pel’s fishing-owl sightings have been incredible this month and seldom a day goes by without someone looking up and seeing the magnificent bird perched high in the cool mongosteen branches. A give away to the Pel’s on one occasion was half a bream fish which had been dropped on to a guest’s deck from above!
Mangers in Camp during June: Graham, Sean, Dani, Cheri, Dittmar and Cayley at Little Mombo.
Guides: Tsile, Cisco, Doctor, Tshepo and Moss.