Weather and Landscape
The rainy season has finally arrived and we have had some amazing bolts of lightning and really dark cloudy skies. However the actual rainfall has not yet reached the levels expected at this time of the year. The exciting thing though is that even with the little rain received so far, the bush has taken on a completely new hue and is looking very lush and green – much to the delight of all the game that had been struggling to get decent food of late as it was so dry. The low rainfall received so far has really been a blessing as the temperatures are always so much more pleasant after even a few drops of rain.
Although the vegetation is so green, visibility is not lost at all as the undergrowth is yet to come. We had some really brilliant game sightings during the month. Most exciting and definitely worth mentioning is the herd of elephants that has become resident over the last three years. We have once again seen this herd coming from the Zimbabwean side before they move on to the islands in the river in front of the camp.
This herd has not been the only group seen wandering between the islands as guides have reported a great amount of elephants and a whole lot more game along the river – including giraffe, rhino and herds of buffalo which have been seen either drinking or heading down to the river for a drink of water.
An unusual sighting was reported by one of the guides and his guests on a boat cruise. They saw what they thought was a hippo fight but upon closer inspection they realised that a large crocodile had caught a baby hippo. Everyone watched this tussle in great surprise and finally the croc and its prey went under water… never to be seen again.
The game drives have been very rewarding as almost every guest that stayed with us had a chance to see rhino. This has really been a highlight for all our guests which have come from safari in Botswana and Zimbabwe. The successful conservation and protection of this species in the area is paying off.
Our resident hippo as usual is one of the most photographed pachyderms in the area as he seems to enjoy being the centre of attraction. Moto Moto, as he is famously known to everyone, is a great actor and definitely knows exactly when to make his appearance.
A few guests this month have captured excellent photos of the sable which have recently been reintroduced into the area. Wildebeest, puku and a whole lot more of the plains game have been recorded on both game drives and boat cruises.
Birds and Birding
On the birding side, the list this month was very long given that most, if not all, of the summer migrants have arrived.
One of the avian highlights for the month was enjoyed from the camp on most mornings, in the form of a western-banded snake-eagle perched right in front of the main area almost daily.
African finfoot and rock pratincole continue to provide our guests with great sightings, especially on the river cruises. As we reached the peak of the dry season, we were amazed when we found a huge flock of marabou storks wading through a shallow pool along the Zambezi…gorging themselves on stranded fish and other aquatic organisms.
The low water levels have created another experience at the camp. We discovered a shallow sand bank which has become a great sunset and lunch spot. This activity really went down well with our guests and has been a firm favourite for sundowners. Click here for images of the ‘Toka Beach’.
This month saw Toka Leya hosting the annual Children in the Wilderness camp. We closed the camp for around a week and filled it up with children from Sinde Village. These camps are always inspiring and provide the children with a tremendous opportunity to learn life skills and gain exposure to the conservation and tourism industry.
Another highlight for the month was the completion of the solar pump project in the village. This means the villagers don’t have to constantly walk to collect water. This project has been funded by generous guest donations.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Petros and Gogo Guwa, Ondyne Dobeyn, Cynthia Kazembe, Amon Ngoma and Muchelo Muchelo