Weather and Landscape
August has been a cold month here in Ongava. We experienced the coldest night so far for winter in the middle of the month, when the temperature dipped to 1° C. The hot water bottles and extra blankets have been a huge hit both in camp and out on activity, especially when coupled with the ponchos. Despite the cold night time temps, the days were quite comfy and would reach around 27° C. We did experience windy conditions, but this is expected for August.
With the cold temperatures the animals all start their day a bit later than usual. The waterhole in camp becomes active with wildlife only around 10am. As the sun rises and warms up the environment, the animals start to move around, and midday is always the best time to relax in camp and watch the procession of game arrive at the waterhole. It is amazing to watch all the different species interact with one another, especially when it is unique and often endemic species such as black-faced impala, Hartmann's mountain zebra, oryx and springbok.
The afternoon drives have also been very productive, as we would often find the species that did not come down to the waterhole during the day. In this way, we have been finding a good number of lion, with the highlight being a lioness with young cubs.
On the subject of lion, the OTC Pride has been fairly scarce as they have moved to the outskirts of Ongava. They currently have a lot of young cubs thanks to four of the lionesses having youngsters of various ages, bringing the total number of cubs to 12.
Rhino sightings have been pretty good, with excellent sightings of both species. We had a fantastic leopard sighting just behind camp. We hear this individual calling often at night.
Drives into Etosha have been really good, as the elephant are starting to arrive in the south-western parts of the Park. Some guests have been very lucky to see big breeding herds with young calves. Lion have been seen in Etosha on a regular basis, and on occasion have been seen hunting and feeding. Cheetah sightings have been good too; these are particularly special as they are not as frequent as the lion sightings. The highlight was a successful cheetah hunt, where the feline caught a springbok.
This month we have introduced a new experience to our guests - we have started doing bush dinners. The location which we use is well hidden and the guests are always pleasantly surprised when they arrive at the set-up. They are welcomed by a nice warm fire at which they can enjoy a few drinks before heading to the table. During dinner they will be able to hear sounds from the animals that are close by, from the calls of hyaena to even the huffing and puffing of a black rhino.
Birds and Birding
A variety of hornbill species has taken a liking to the camp area, providing perfect sightings of Monteiro's hornbill, which is endemic to Namibia. Damara hornbill also visits regularly - again an endemic to Namibia.
The large flocks of red-billed quelea are still around and provide great entertainment when they arrive for a drink at the camp waterhole. White-crested helmet-shrikes are still around and also entertain with their lively behaviour.
"Sightings at the Etosha waterholes, hot water bottles in bed, pancakes for breakfast and great sightings at the camp waterhole were our highlights."
"Every moment of our stay was absolutely fantastic! Great Staff - very efficient and professional, caring and friendly. Thank you."
"The management went out of their way to ensure our comfort."
Staff in Camp
Managers: Silvia Morgante, Corne Cocklin, Inge Kambatuku and Festus Eiseb.
Guides: Rio Aibeb, Leon Basson, Bono Gauseb and Me-Gusto Busch.
All pictures taken by Silvia Morgante