Toka Leya Camp - September 2013

Oct 16, 2013 |  Zambia |  Victoria Falls - Livingstone |  Toka Leya Camp
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Weather and Landscape
Temperatures continue to increase but are still very bearable. The vegetation has taken on all sorts of beautiful colours as spring swings into full force. The shaving-brush combretums are all in full flower showing why they have such a name. We had a few drops of rain towards the end of the month but not enough to wet the ground. It was literary ten drops ten metres apart, but the smell of the rain was really beautiful. Frogs and toads have come alive in the evenings, an indication we are getting closer to the rainy months.

Wildlife
As usual the Zambezi River at this time of the year is visibly dropping and this has created a few isolated pools where we have seen huge numbers of birds such as African fish-eagles and marabou storks catching the stranded fish and other aquatic creatures. On one outing we watched a beautiful African fish-eagle come down and pick up a desent-sized bream which it took to the nearby rocks to devour. He was clearly tired as the feasting didn’t start for a while. Unfortunately he tried to take his meal up to the nearby trees after regaining his breath and dropped it.

The dropping water level on the river has created some really lovely marshy areas along the river which have turned out to be the greatest birding locations and we have also noticed that some of the migrants have started arriving in the area, making the river excursions and birding in general such a pleasure for birders. The colony of the white-fronted bee-eaters is as always one of the most amazing and probably one of the most photographed sites on the river excursions as these beautiful birds come and go or line up and pose for a photo on the trees nearby.

Although the trees have started to get new and fresh leaves, the grass is still so dry and the huge numbers of wildlife we have been having around has continued to trample it down making visibility even better. This month we have seen quite a number of common duiker, which would usually be quite hard to view with high grass.

Huge numbers of elephants have also frequented the camp where they have been feeding on the ana tree pods at the main area. This has entertained us all as there is always some action and activity all around the camp, but the destruction on the trees has also been tremendous which in most instances has made our two guides Donald and Histon complain as most of their trees they have seen grow have also fallen victim to the elephant.

Besides the elephant activity, other game has also been really great with a lovely journey of giraffe seen drinking one day just a few metres down river from the camp. In normal cases they would be very shy and take off at the first approach but they really cooperated and we did manage to spend a long time with them and also managed to take some excellent pictures. Buffalo, waterbuck, wildebeest as well as kudu bulls with beautiful horns were amongst some of the outstanding sightings the guests have talked about after their activities, all producing good photographic opportunities.

Camp News
After the huge donation of trees to Green Pop a couple of months ago, the camp nursery has been very busy germinating new seeds of the local indigenous trees for another planting programme as the rains start. They have set a new target of 2 000 trees for planting around the camp as well as planting some with the children when we do our community children camp at the end of the year - as well as donating once again to Green Pop if they do have another tree planting session next year.

On our community side, we had a very successful meeting with the community leadership as well as the Twabuka School where we looked at areas of concern as well as prioritised the help that should be given to the community going forward. We have put down a plan together with the community leadership and the school management which will see us in future donating what will be of need to the community at a given time.

Staff in Camp
Managers: Petros Guwa, Ondyne Dobeyn, Cynthia Kazembe, Amon Ngoma and Muchelo Muchelo.
Guides: Evans Hangooma, Godfrey Mungala, Histon Samatamba and Donald Lisama.

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