Weather and Landscape
Temperatures are rising steadily at Mvuu; with a 5.30am sunrise the heat builds up quickly during the day to around 30 °C, cooling down in the early evening.
The increasing temperatures and dwindling water sources have resulted in high densities of wildlife settling along the Shire River.
Elephants moving through the camp and lodge have become quite a common occurrence as they make their way to the Shire River for their daily drink. Waterbuck, impala, kudu, warthog and bushbuck are common sightings along the floodplains. Suni, Sharpe’s grysbok and numerous squirrel species are seen around the lodge and camp.
On the predatory side, we are very excited as lion tracks have been found on several occasions just south of camp. Unfortunately we haven’t seen the lion yet, but it is only a matter of time. Hyaena on the other hand are frequently heard calling at night. Their tracks are found daily and we have enjoyed a couple sightings during the night drives. A side-striped jackal was also seen this month – it has been quite some time since the last confirmed sighting.
Night drives have been exceptionally productive with regular sightings of large-spotted genet, African civet, porcupine, several bushbaby species as well as water, Mellar’s and white-tailed mongoose.
In the Rhino Sanctuary and surrounding mopane woodlands we have encountered large herds of buffalo, sable, roan and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest as well as a few bushpigs. Black rhino sightings have been good too.
Birds and Birding
The resident birds have been prolific and with the arrival of a number of summer migrant species, we are all thoroughly enjoying the great birding. In particular, the waders and waterbirds have increased substantially with common, green, marsh and wood sandpipers joining the common greenshanks, little stints and pied avocets.
Multiple egret species, ibises and herons abound, large roosts of black-crowned night-herons have formed and the white-backed night-herons are all rearing their chicks. African skimmers can also be seen feeding along the Shire River during dusk and dawn. 70 greater flamingos were seen flying down the river recently.
Blue-cheeked bee-eaters have arrived in large flocks, with a few southern carmine bee-eaters being seen. We expect the European bee-eaters to arrive shortly while a small group of swallow-tailed bee-eaters remain resident on the edges of the Rhino Sanctuary.
Pel’s fishing-owl have been heard calling most evenings and a roost of up to four birds was occasionally found along the Shire River. A pair of African wood-owls are currently roosting near the lodge. Marsh owls have been seen hunting on the floodplain. Spotted eagle-owl, barred and pearl-spotted owlet have also been seen on drives near the camp.
Raptors are currently everywhere at Mvuu - African hawk-eagle, African harrier-hawk, African goshawk, martial eagle, palm-nut vulture, western-banded snake-eagle, African marsh-harrier, Dickinson’s kestrel and red-necked falcon are all seen frequently. Several yellow-billed kites have arrived. A booted eagle was seen flying over the Sanctuary, which is quite an unusual sighting. Bat hawks are seen quite regularly hunting bats in the evening over the river.
"Elephants right outside our door! Just loved the whole thing.”
"It was terrific to enjoy such luxury but still feel at one with the environment.”
"The wildlife is incredible and the setting of the lodge absolutely ideal".
Newsletter by Nick Baker