Weather and Landscape
The weather has produced some very warm and dry conditions which truly reflect the pending arrival of the summer months. We are in the peak of the dry season, and it is clear that the landscape is craving the summer rains.
September blesses us with the flowering of the beautiful Zambezi tail flower - arguably the most beautiful of the wild flowers! With a soft peach cup-like centre and each petal extending down into a saffron coloured tail , all of which eventually twist together beneath the flower. All be it is a stunning flower, the sap of the plant is highly poisonous, containing straphantin, a substance previously used in modern medicine as a cardiac drug. Interestingly the anti-dote to staphanthin is found growing in a plant in the very same habitat, the baobab tree. The seed containing the substance, Adansomin.
The flame creepers are also flowering - covering most of the riverine trees in a carpet of deep red, which is relished by the monkeys and baboons.
Anyone coming on safari to Ruckomechi for the first time should be warned of the danger of addiction! Once you have experienced the welcome of the staff, the vast expanses, the changing skies, the river and mountains across, and above all, the unparalleled diversity of animals, you will want to return again and again - you have been warned.
A drive, a walk, or a cruise can be a wonderful experience because it gives one a chance to let the sense of wonder take over from the modern world of sophistication and also helps to put humanity in perspective as part of nature.
September has been a phenomenal month with a whole variation of mammal sightings. We have had incredible sightings of serval, a cheetah making a kill and then losing it to lions, a leopard with a cub at close quarters, the resident lion pride hunting as well as the sightings of the pride cubs. The predator offspring sightings did not end there, as we had some great sightings of the resident pack of wild dog, which also have young pups at the moment.
Elephants and big herds of buffalo have been pouring in and out of the concession in their search for water and palatable vegetation. On the nocturnal side of things, we have experienced great sightings of civet, porcupine and spotted hyaena to name but a few.
The first prize moment was when guests had a chance to see and experience a wild cat kill. They actually saw the whole event unfold in front of them on a night drive using a spotlight with a red filter. The cat stalked its prey, (mouse), cautiously and patiently in the short grass. The stalk was completely silent and in ultra-slow motion, with body low, each paw was moved with the greatest care and precision. The mouse moved a few inches to look for seeds, whilst the feline's ears, working independently took fixes on its new position. When the cat was within 50cm of the rodent, it stopped and then sprang high in the air in a great arc and landed on its prey with claws extended. The predator triumphant, somersaulted, with the prey in its paws and landed remarkably on its back - what a terrific gesture - with that he rolled over timeously and started feasting. Cameras were going mad?what a fabulous sighting.
Birds and Birding
The month of September, has been fairly productive on the birding side. The southern carmine bee-eaters seem to have settled into the area and we have a lovely breeding colony just west of camp which can be viewed from the afternoon boat cruisers. Some of the other highlights that we have had, have been the Pel's fishing-owl, pennant-winged nightjar, African Snipe and the long-toed lapwing.
We had a lovely couple that came and stayed with us for four nights that had a great interest in birds and managed to see 104 different species during that time, 12 of which were seen in one tree behind the dining room. That is the great thing about birding and Ruckomechi Camp, you don't have to go far to see things.
"We were so impressed with the quality of everything - the room, drives, service and the many loving extras, good night story, tea and drinks during the morning drives, sundowners etc. The gluten free food they organised exceeded all our expectations from all our other travel experiences."
"Everything was fantastic! We were able to see all the animals, birds and we were well informed of each species and their habits. The knowledge we gained was fantastic."
"Service is absolutely extra-ordinary, every detail is thought of. From coffee in the bush, private dinners, tailored outings depending on our interests. This was a perfect experience. The level of quality and warmth unmatched - we were thrilled to be here."
Staff in Camp
Managers: Carel, Juliette, Sandy, Dan, Gavin and Mina.
Guides: Gadreck, Kevin, Champion and Dharmes.