Climate and Landscape
It’s been an unnaturally hot August this year with a maximum high of 40° Celsius and a low of 4°. The average temperature during the day was a steady 34°. For most of the month the temperatures have been rising, a sure sign that summer is on its way. Then, right at the end of the month, the temperatures dropped drastically, showing just how much a cold front in South Africa is able to affect us. The rains are still a distant hope and the waters look like they have decided to give us a skip this year as we watch the Savute Channel drop on a weekly basis.
The highlight yet again this month has been the wild dog pups, as we’ve been able to watch them grow up – a very interesting time. The interaction between the adults and pups is fascinating to watch especially when the adults get back from a hunt and you see the youngsters come bounding towards them, extremely excited to receive their next meal. The feeding part is over fairly quickly then it all just becomes a game of tug of war – though not all the pups feel the need to play and prefer to just sit back and watch the games around them. One of the pups still has floppy ears and it will be interesting to see if they will stay that way or at some point will start to point upwards like the others.
The three Chobe Boys, as we call our lion coalition, have been showing their faces quite a bit this month, from mating with a DumaTau female to feeding on an elephant carcass on the airstrip road between the Chobe Airstrip and DumaTau. The Chobe Boys have been on the concession for quite some time now and are often seen throughout the concession.
Just before the end of the month guests enjoyed a rare sighting of two male cheetah just 10 minutes from Savuti Camp. They came from the east and were heading towards the Dish Pan area but unfortunately we were unable to pick up the trail the following day. The guides are still on the lookout for them and are hoping that they will remain in the area.
Slender, our resident Savuti Camp female leopard, was seen heading to Sefo’s Lagoon near camp; Slender has a broken tooth and specialises in hunting guineafowl, although she has also been seen on occasion feeding on catfish. There is a second female which has been around Savuti Camp this month with two cubs that look like they may be around four months old. The mother is seen fairly regularly but the cubs were only seen on the one occasion – so far.
One day whilst out on a game drive we came across a water monitor that was busy raiding a squirrel nest – however, there was nothing to find as the young squirrels were sitting on an anthill five metres away watching the goings-on in their home!
As the weather begins to warm up we have started seeing more snakes, one of the most common being the spotted bush snake – a harmless snake that feeds mainly on frogs and lizards.
Birds and Birding
The carmine bee-eaters are already in the concession – roughly two months earlier than last year. Some of the largest flying birds have been seen around camp – being the secretarybird and the kori bustard.
Every evening openbill storks come and roost in a tree by the bar area. In the beginning there were just under 20 but now the word seems to have spread about the spot and the numbers have soared – up to 51 on one recent evening!