Ruckomechi Camp - August 2013

Sep 16, 2013 Ruckomechi Camp
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The August climate was delightful with the cool morning temperatures slowly climbing throughout the day but not attaining sweltering status – this is been reserved for the months to come. Evenings were comfortably cool.

Greenery still prevails on the floodplains as the area is understandably close to the water table. However, in areas away from the floodplain there is a noticeable drying out of vegetation, especially at ground level where certain grass species are now disappearing rapidly, leaving only their seeds on the grounds in anticipation of the next rainy season. However some trees are getting new leaves and flowers, softening the stark surrounds and giving off magnificent perfumes. The likes of the wild mango with its beautiful yellow flowers, the sausage tree with purple flowers and the woolly carper bush with white flowers gives off a strong sweet scent especially at dawn and dusk.

Elephant and lion continue to steal the limelight. The elephants circle through camp on their continuous quest for ana tree pods, as well as regularly parading in front of the camp and occasionally swimming to the nearby island. The lions call by night and rest by day, giving the guides the daily challenge of locating them.

A female leopard has successfully raised three cubs in the Cat Alley region and this family has provided, on more than one occasion, some of the best leopard sightings this concession has ever seen.

Good buffalo herds have been seen, some numbering between 300 and 350 or more and some lone dagga bulls have also been seen.

Wild dogs are still very elusive but have on occasion left signs of their presence in the form of scattered leftovers - either a bit of skin or bones - which have been found by vultures.

Hippos graze diurnally, seemingly trying to bulk up before the onset of the drier spell which typically graces the later part of the year. Sun-tanning bodies pile up on beaches clearly enjoying the fact that the sun has not yet reached its acclaimed ferocity for which it is known in these parts.

Surprisingly enough a lone reedbuck appeared in the concession about three months ago although sightings have been rare.

The carmine bee-eaters have returned and appear to be the front runners of the many migratory species that will continue to arrive over the next few months. We keenly await the arrival of the broad-billed rollers, woodland kingfishers and, if we're lucky, African pittas among other flocks. White-fronted bee-eaters are seen on the banks of the river on their nest sites providing guests with spectacular sightings. Flocks of open-billed storks fly above for the sheer enjoyment of it and in so doing provide a spectacular aerial ballet.

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