Climate and Landscape
Having taken the month to settle in at Mombo, we are certainly in the swing of things now. March has brought with it some dry, warm days and cooler mornings and evenings. There was not much rainfall this month with an average of 65 mm compacted into a few big afternoon thunderstorms.
We had an average high temperature of 30° Celsius and an average low of 20 degrees C. It has been the perfect weather for Amarula-infused coffees in the morning, crafted gin and tonics at the pool during the day and a nice glass of full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon for dinner under the stars in the evenings.
Lion sightings were a regular occurrence on the island. Two of the prides met face to face and after a series of snarls, growls and swinging paws a few lionesses from both prides were left with some characteristic battle scars.
The pack of wild dogs has left the area on their routine home range walkabout – or runabout, should we say. Fortunately there have been sightings of a pack of three dogs who might be deciding to use Mombo’s backyard as a den site. There were also sightings of the alpha male and alpha female mating. Fingers crossed, we may be welcoming some pups in the next few months.
On one of the fresh early mornings we came across a spider which was beginning to spin its web. We sat and watched in amazement as this tiny little artist got to work. Within ten minutes a near perfect web had been spun stretching from one branch of an ebony tree to the leg of our outside table. The spider then sat in the middle of the web and awaited his next meal.
There is a particular leopard who is still figuring out her territory in and around Mombo and she is stunning. A descendant of the famous Legadema, Marothodi continues to show off in front of the camera. Sleeping deeply or gazing at sunsets she makes for great photographic opportunities.
Birds and Birding
Birding was a highlight this month with the celebration of our “Birding Big Day” on the 31st of March where vehicles competed to see who could come up with the most species of birds in one day. Sightings of Verreaux’s eagle-owls, martial eagles, vultures, hawks as well as the smaller beauties like little bee-eaters, blue waxbills and woodland kingfishers were pencilled onto the ID cards. Fun was had by guests and staff alike. The end of the competition was celebrated with glasses of ice cold bubbly and cocktails on the deck at sunset.
We celebrated Earth Hour on Saturday 25th of March with a candlelit dinner followed by a stargazing talk hosted by two of our guides, Doc and Moss. We had beanbags on the decks, laser pointers, binoculars and a camp full of eager stargazers – but unfortunately this was not meant to be as after a week of completely clear skies, the clouds rolled in and not a star was to be seen! Nonetheless we celebrated with a nightcap on the deck surrounded by the solar jars. With the exception of the night of the 25th the skies were stunningly clear and the stars spectacular.
It’s not often that one can find an area unspoilt by light pollution in this day and age and it really is a special feeling to be able to look up and see the Milky Way spread out clearly above. Some of the astronomy highlights have been Virgo, the second largest constellation in the night sky, the Southern Cross, which is always a favourite when navigating in the bush, as well as Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters. Named for the daughters of Atlas and Pleione in Greek mythology, the Pleiades form a hook-like shape on the shoulder of Taurus, the Bull. All of these were discussion points around our Bush TV, more commonly known as the fire pit, in the evenings.
With its backdrop of lush green trees, dense grasses and pretty wildflowers March was the perfect month for picnics out in the bush, a firm favourite with many of our guests. To paint the picture… big squashy cushions, blankets, trays of delectable delights and ice cold glasses of homemade iced teas and lemonades nestled under an African acacia… what could be more inviting?
In closing, we came across a male lion on an early morning game drive; he was walking with serious intent whilst doing his morning territorial roars and boundary patrols. The image we captured is one of our favourites. Even though he is a king, he will forever be looking over his shoulder for the next bigger, stronger rival who wishes to challenge him for his kingdom.
A number of our guests have been complimenting and mentioning an individual in our camp. This person has shown a tremendous amount of improvement in terms of his service quality and all-round work performance, which has earned him the title of the “Mombo Employee of The Month.” Percy Baitsile is shaking martinis that even 007 would be impressed with. Well done, Percy, and keep up the good work!
Until next month,
Matt and Robyn(Mombo Camp General Managers)