Climate and Landscape
After a long month away in Dubai filled with traffic jams, skyscrapers and dancing fountains, we are happy to be back in the magnificent Moremi. The peacefulness of disconnecting to reconnect has certainly been welcome.
With the news of last month’s action in and around the camp we have needed to get back into the swing of bush living quite quickly. We left this Eden green and thick and have returned to trees losing leaves, shorter grasses and general game congregating in the floodplains. The temperature has continued to drop and the bush is much cooler, with average temperature lows of 12° and highs of 25° Celsius.
Legadema’s legacy lives on! We have two new additions to her famous bloodline with Pula’s two bundles of fluff being spotted. She was seen moving them to a new den site on the 29th June when a male leopard ventured a bit too close for her liking. The cubs are estimated to be three to four weeks old and we look forward to seeing them out and about in a few months’ time.
The female cheetah with her three cubs is still being seen in the area. She seems to be a very efficient hunter and has regularly taken down large male impalas to feed her hungry offspring. She has had a few close encounters with lions which our guests have been lucky enough to witness. In one of these incidents she was seen leaving the cubs hidden in the grass while distracting the heavyweights by zigzagging her way between them and drawing them out into an open floodplain and a forest where she managed to lose them and loop back around to collect her cubs. So far she is proving to be a very competent mother.
This time of the year seems to be the best time to find cheetah on the concession, the grasses and thickets have thinned and the open areas are starting to favour this elegant cat. On one of the morning safaris guests were lucky enough to come across three separate sightings of cheetah. With cheetah being an endangered species, it is always a special sight to see them.
The alpha female of the wild dog pack has finally found a suitable den site to have her pups but they are still very young and the outside world has not piqued their curiosity yet. The den site is a fair few kilometres away and makes for a lovely day trip in the bush.
On one of our afternoon game drives we came upon a scene with a shrieking squirrel and babbling starling, both of which are often indications of a predator in the area. Upon taking a second look we saw a magnificent African rock python working its way up the open trunk of a raintree. The squirrel was not happy and continually followed the snake around the tree shouting its alarm calls. We were lucky enough to spend 20 minutes watching the python move through the tree where it disappeared from view.
In the early morning of the last day of the June, we and all the guests at Mombo Trails were woken by the dramatic roars of male lions. Three of the resident males strutted around the camp making sure that everyone and everything knew they were there. They continued to roam around the camp for several hours roaring until the sun came up.
Some rare sightings of the month included an aardwolf and a serval.
Birds and Birding
Flocks of graceful red-billed quelea seem to have replaced the spur-winged geese from our April newsletter, and are now seen flying fluidly in their hundreds over Trails each evening at dusk bringing with them a calming, fluttering sound as they mirror one another’s movements so closely. They are perhaps the most abundant bird species on earth and it certainly is a magical sight.
Some of the other interesting sightings included dwarf bitterns, slaty egrets and a white-headed vulture, listed as Critically Endangered due to serious population decline and now found almost only in protected areas.
There is an abandoned hamerkop nest outside Tent 4 that seems to have a new owner. The bird has not yet been seen but there is evidence such as pellets, rustling feathers and shrieking calls that have allowed us to take a guess at identifying the occupant as a western barn owl.
The calls of the resident scops-owls can be heard around the camp fire in the evenings and the female martial eagle still stands guard in the ebony forest.
Alid Galefediwe is a staff driver who transports our staff back and forth from the main lodge to Mombo Trails Camp, a job that is often overlooked but is a duty crucial to the operations and running of the camp. With Alid’s punctuality and service with a smile he was an easy pick for our Employee of the Month. Well done and keep up the good work, Alid!
The soccer matches between Mombo staff and the Lodge Builders Botswana (LBB) team are still as competitive as ever and with a few good wins for Mombo we are heading up the table.
Huge congratulations go out to our Guest Experience Manager Dineo who has created a marvellous family tree of the famous Mombo leopards. If you would like to see their history please visit http://www.wilderness-safaris.com/blog/posts/mombo-s-leopards.
Until next month…
Matt and Robyn