Weather and Landscape
March weather has been unpredictable - hot, cloudy and humid with temperatures ranging between 20° C in the early morning and rising to around 38° C during the day but with no rain.
The Zambezi River is at its highest with the Kariba floodgate having being open since the 19th of March. This without doubt allowed us to traverse through channels by boat that we can’t use when the river is low. The good news is that the channels are all being flushed out so we look forward to seeing some waterholes this year instead of dry pans – this will be great for waterbird and wildlife sightings.
Sightings have been exceptional around the concession this month. The young lioness, which is part of the resident pride, walked through the camp with three young cubs - we saw that one of the cubs is slightly older than the other two. It’s suspected the older cub has been adopted from one of the older females in the pride. This is interesting as last year this particular female's mother adopted her cubs and this year, the tables seem to have turned with the daughter adopting her mother’s cub. We have been lucky to see the lioness nursing the cubs on a number of occasions.
A breeding herd of elephant has been regularly viewed feeding and quenching their thirst from the river in front of the camp. The nocturnal animals have also done their part with lovely sightings of leopard hunting, mating hyaena, serval, porcupine, large-spotted genet and a large-grey mongoose.
Other great sightings have been several huge herds of buffalo and large rafts of hippo basking in the sun along the river banks along with many crocodiles. We also had great sightings of kudu, waterbuck and impala.
Birds and Birding
The high water levels brought with them a huge array of birdlife such as gargantuan flocks of Abdim’s storks, white-faced ducks, comb ducks, sacred ibis, hadeda ibis, African openbills, red-billed queleas "swarming" overhead, European bee-eaters and many others.
This month Ruckomechi also hosted a Children in the Wilderness camp, where the kids come and stay and learn a variety of things including bush skills, environmental issues and conservation in a fun and outdoor environment. We saw a variety of staff and volunteers from the USA coming to help with the camp.