Weather and Landscape
The weather changed rapidly during October as the temperatures climbed daily, reaching a very hot 40 °C by midday at the end of the month. We did experience very impressive cloud build ups during most afternoons, some delivering on their promise of rain, while others simply drifted away to drop their deluge elsewhere. On one or two occasion we enjoyed very intense thunder storms, dumping huge amounts of water over the landscape, lighting up the sky with brilliant flashes of lightening and crashes of thunder, the road network naturally becoming quite muddy.
It was an absolutely great month for game viewing, with a daily abundance of elephant, hippo, waterbuck, impala, kudu, warthog, yellow baboon, vervet monkey and bushbuck sightings. The floodplains have attracted huge mixed congregations of wildlife and produce great sightings throughout the entire day. Common duiker, Sharpe's grysbok and suni were seen occasionally.
Night drives have been thoroughly enjoyed by our guests this month, as they were often treated to sightings of porcupine, a number of mongoose species such as white-tailed, Meller’s and water mongoose, thick-tailed bushbaby, large-spotted genet, four-toed elephant-shrew and African civet.
In the Rhino Sanctuary there were continued sightings of large herds of sable, zebra, hundreds of buffalo, eland, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and bushpig. Most of the hartebeest, sable and impala herds have little babies present. Oribi were seen on occasion.
Side-striped jackal have been heard calling near camp at night and a large male lion visited the camp area on a night prowl. Huge lion tracks showed evidence of the lion’s journey through the camp.
A medium sized southern African python turned up on the airstrip, further evidence of the changing season. Terrapins are seen daily basking on the river, a few have been found away from water presumably seeking suitable nest sites.
Birds and Birding
Regular interesting viewings around camp continue to include Bohm’s bee-eater, grey-headed parrot, Lilian’s lovebird, Meves and greater blue-eared starling, Livingstone’s flycatcher, ashy and grey-tit flycatcher, black-throated wattle-eye, brown-throated weaver, collared palm-thrush, palm-nut vulture and trumpeter, grey and crowned hornbills.
Mopane woodlands are good for extended bird drives revealing Arnot’s chat, racket-tailed roller, striped kingfisher, crested barbet, red-headed weaver, Lilian’s lovebird, three types of snake-eagle, African hawk-eagle and barred, pearl-spotted and scops owls. The woodland kingfishers and broad-billed rollers have arrived in force.
On the river the migration of waders has slowed, although herons, egrets and ibis abound. We are waiting for more geese and ducks to arrive. Up to three hundred African skimmers are usually present on their roosting bank.
Pel’s fishing-owls have been seen regularly in the lagoons close to camp and can be heard calling deep into the night. A pair of wood owls was also seen regularly, roosting near the lodge. Spotted and Verreaux's eagle-owls have been seen on the roads at night.
“We loved all the small touches at the lodge and our time spent on safari was very special to us.”
“To see a porcupine and its offspring at close range was an amazing experience.’
“The rhino tour was outstanding.”
“Outstanding friendliness of all staff members.”
Newsletter by Nick