Weather and Landscape
The majority of the month was dry with very little rain experienced in the southern province – a worry, as we thought we might be heading for a dry summer season. Happily things shifted in the third week of the month and the rains came down in buckets, bringing much relief to us as well as the game, as the grass had started withering. The whole place is back to its lush summer green and pools of water have formed throughout Mosi-oa-Tunya Park with all the small streams now flowing heavily. Of note is the hanging white foam of the southern foam-nest frogs that are seen along the streams and waterholes.
The Zambezi River is also looking great as the water levels have started rising – we are always amazed to see how a few weeks of rain affects the levels of this mighty river. However it is still very clear that we will need a lot more rain than this to see the Zambezi break its banks, given that the water is much lower than in previous years.
Our resident young male hippo has become a Toka Leya Camp feature and this chap definitely feels he owns our camp surrounds as he takes it upon himself to entertain the guests. The text books would have to be rewritten if we were to rely solely on his behaviour: Moto Moto, unlike other hippos, spends almost all his life out of the water, creating confusion among guests whose guides have described hippos as having sun-sensitive skin. The wet days we have been experiencing are certainly in his favour, allowing him to stay out of the river for extended periods of time. There is never has a dull moment when he is around as he is always doing something every time you look at him. One such incident made a young guest describe him as a dancing hippo!
There is a lot of excitement amongst the guides and the Park rangers at the moment as the news circulating is that we should be having another new addition to the white rhino population soon! Each and every one of the guides and rangers is keeping their eyes wide open and hope they would be the first one to break the news. The arrival of this new baby will bring the number to 10 and would mean five baby rhinos will have been born in the park, a great sign that the animals have settled in and are clearly not under any form of stress. Guides, as much as our guests, look forward to the rhino walk every day, and this activity is definitely one of our best now.
Birds and Birding
As always, the wet season is great for birders and there have been some tremendous sightings recorded by the guides around the camp this month. Early mornings are beautifully melodious with several different calls heard throughout the camp and surroundings. A considerable number of summer migrants are amongst the birds that have been recorded, both on the river cruises as well as on game drives. It also seems that the increase in the water levels brings the African finfoot to the water in front of our reception area every year, much to the excitement of our birding guests and guides who have a thrilling chance to see this otherwise very elusive bird.
No matter how many times one has seen the indescribable Victoria Falls, one is awed by the volume and the sound of the Zambezi River as it cascades down into the zigzag gorges before continuing on to Lake Kariba and finally along the Lower Zambezi – home to Mana Pools National Park, a Ramsar site – before heading down to the Indian Ocean. From quite a distance now one can see the spray of the Victoria Falls and a visit at this time of year requires a rain poncho and an underwater camera to capture the magical moments of the ‘rainy’ spray.
“Fabulous experience, great staff and great food and we even had a visit from the hippo Moto Moto. Thank you all so much.”
“Commendable efforts and sustaining the environment. A fun filled informative break. Excellent all round.”
“Absolutely fantastic. So much to see and do. Highly recommendable. Attention to detail beyond expectations.”
Staff in Camp
Pete and Gogo Guwa – General Management couple
Jacqui Munakombwe – Relief Manager
Evidence Musabi – Relief Manager
Amon Ngoma – Activities Manager
Muchelo Muchelo – Junior Manager