Weather and Landscape
February started out quite dry for the first two weeks but in the third week the heavens really opened. Initially the rain was slow and steady, becoming heavier after a few days and sending the small streams into full spate once again. Grasses have continued to grow, much to the delight of the wildlife in the area, not to mention the park rangers and local farmers who at one stage had lost hope when the grass started withering again.
As expected at this time of year, sunsets on the Zambezi are greatly enhanced by the cloud cover that gives them so much more character. Photographing the sunset has become an addiction for guests as well as staff and many, many sunset pictures have been taken by all of us as it always looks like the next day’s sunset is going to be better than the previous day’s spectacle!
Victoria Falls’ water levels have continued to rise and the Smoke That Thunders has increased its roar. The level of the spray is unbelievable, prompting many comments from guests who felt that they had never seen anything like it or that it greatly exceeded their expectations.
Unlike most parks in the region, the change in vegetation levels does not seem to have an impact on what will be seen in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. The size of the Park combined with a well-thought-out road network makes it very viable for visitors to see many different species.
Several great sightings have been recorded this month, amongst them a herd of buffalo that has been seen several times in camp near Tent 12. Over a number of days the buffalo have come in at the end of the day, had a drink at the river and spent the remaining daylight hours in the shade around the camp grounds.
The best of our news this month though is the arrival of a new addition to the white rhino population, born in the second week of the month! We have not yet figured out its gender as we are giving the mother and baby space to settle with minimal disturbance for a while before we try to get closer. However a lot of guests have had a chance to spot the two from a distance without upsetting the new mother.
As always the boat cruises are a favourite activity at Toka Leya, as they not only showcase great game but many guests recommend it as the perfect way to wind down after days of travelling.
Watching elephants crossing from one side of the river to the other is always amazing. Several of these herds have babies with them and it is incredible to see how protective they are as they guide the little ones across the river.
Wilderness Safaris as a group has always been committed to its people and it is our belief that our people form the most important part of this business. The people are not only the staff working in the camps, but also the communities in the areas where we operate, most of which are in one way or another our operating partners.
In nearby Sinde Village, we completed the teachers’ accommodation as well as two water plants, both projects made possible by donations from guests of Toka Leya Camp. We officially handed them to the community and the school respectively in the last week of the month. Before we handed over the water plants we constructed a drinking trough for the central pump to take care of all the runoff water – water that will come in very handy for the livestock in the dry season. The one at the school will be used to catch more running water and this will be used for watering the garden at the school.
Staff in Camp
Petros and Gogo Guwa – General management couple
Amon Ngoma, Cynthia Kazembe Evidence Musabi – Assistant Managers
Rhonnex Malasha – Executive Chef