This month it was all about lions. We had more lion activity than ever in the Busanga Plains and enjoyed lion sightings every day of the month! The big dominant male Mr Busanga had serious competition from two new males trying to take over his territory and with the temperatures rising the lions decided that it was time to catch a cool breeze by climbing up into the fig trees or on top of the Shumba deck.
All our guests had a wonderful time and enjoyed every minute of their stays. Highlights mentioned were the hot air balloon, the friendly staff, the meals, the lions, the boma dinner, the wilderness, the remoteness, the birdlife, the boat cruise and many more.
Weather and Landscape
The temperatures really climbed up during this month, with the average daytime high reaching a sweltering high of 40 °C. The mornings and evenings were still quite comfy however. We did receive temporary respite on some days when a cooling breeze blew across the plains. Of course the camp swimming pool offered the best comfort during the siesta time.
As mentioned above, this month the centre stage performance was stolen by the lions. As many of these felines took to climbing the trees for shelter, our guests were treated to some incredible photographic opportunities, especially when the young cubs decided that they would try and climb up the tree as well. Clumsy as they still are, the youngsters were not able to climb up Big Fig Tree. After several failed attempts they decided to climb into a small shrub next to the big iconic fig tree. It was a hilarious sight to see the three small cubs hanging in the small shrub, when their mother and aunties were fast asleep in the fig tree above them.
These same lions climbed onto the Shumba Camp deck a number of times. Luckily the lions have only visited the decks of the empty rooms...
With so much lion activity and sightings, it was only a matter of time until we witnessed several kills. Most of the action took place during the daytime which was great for us, giving our guests the opportunity to catch this incredible occurrence on camera. The mother of the three cubs is a really good hunter and on one occasion while she was dragging her kill into the shade, the three cubs decided to try and help mum. It was so funny to watch as the cubs tried to pull the carcass in the opposite direction to their mom.
During one of the hunting forays, an adult lioness really tried to avoid getting wet and sprang across a water channel in a spectacular leap as you can see in the adjoining picture. We have tree climbing lions, swimming lions and now flying lions on the Busanga Plains.
During the month the two Musanza Males started to mark the Busanga Plains as their territory. They even chased the resident male, Mr Busanga, across the water and we thought for a few days that he would not dare to come back. Towards the end of the month we found him together with the Busnaga Pride again. We are not too sure who is ruling the Busanga Plains at the moment as the big male and his younger counterpart and the two Musanza Males are all present in the Plains at the moment. During the night the roaring of the four males is exciting to listen to.
Not only the Busanga Pride was seen often, we also had good sightings of the Papyrus Pride and the Treeline Pride.
Besides all the lion activity, most guests had good sightings of serval.These elusive cats are not that shy in our area and often come out in front of the game drive vehicles either during the day or the night drives.
Leopards are normally seen in the woodlands, but sometimes a leopard shows up in the middle of the Plains. One of our guides was very surprised to stumble on a leopard on the drive!
With so many different antelope species present in the Busanga Plains, most guests comment that they see antelope that they have never seen before. This month we had very good sightings of sable, with a herd of over fifty individuals being seen often. The roan and sitatunga were seen close to camp. The game drive would be completed with sightings of reedbuck, red lechwe, puku, bushbuck, oribi, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, elephant, water monitor, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, crocodile, water mongoose, terrapin and many more.
Birdlife has been amazing, especially the sightings of huge flocks of crowned and wattled cranes. The flocks seen in the Busanga Plains easily reach 100 cranes altogether!
Whilst staying at Shumba Camp the guests experience different activities. A walking safari on an adjoining island makes you appreciate the sounds and smells of the bush.
The boat ride on one of our trips to Hippo Pools brings you up close and personal with the hippo and birdlife around and in the water.
The hot air balloon takes you gliding over the Busanga Plains. Watching the elephant, hippo, buffalo and various antelope from above – it gives you a total different perspective of the Plains and the animals in it.
Of course the game drives are successful and show you everything the Busanga Plains has to offer.
“Everything was superb! Just a perfect place with wonderful staff and great game viewing. It feels like home. You made our stay very special. Thank you.”
“My return to Shumba (Sept ’09 and Aug ’08). What a surprise it was to find Rob, Ingrid, Isaac, Aaron and many staff members still here. How nicely this place has matured. For me one of the iconic places in Africa. Thanks all!”
“Amazing experience at Shumba! Excellent hospitality all around! Loved getting to know your lions. Idos is an expert guide, and has our highest recommendation. Thank you for everything!”
Staff in Camp
Managers: Ingrid Baas, Mclay Munachinene and Natasha Ngulube.
Guides: Idos Mulenge, JohnD Muleka and Sandy Sakala.