Weather and Landscape
Winter arrived a bit early this year, with temperatures dropping especially before the break of dawn. When the winds blow from the north-east, clearly they bring a change in weather patterns. Towards the close of the month, while having breakfast, one would look out onto an eerie mist hanging over the floodplain and a lone dagga boy (buffalo bull) standing carelessly in the white haze... awesome!
The first push of the annual inundation has arrived this month, not only bringing water, fish and birds with it, but cool conditions. The rising water levels surprised us this year as it appeared to happen almost overnight.
Hunda Island as usual has offered amazing general game sightings, with plenty of spots and stripes, different sizes, shapes and ages. It was another leopard frenzy during the month of April with up to three of these spotted cats seen within a short distance from each other. The elusive male that lurks in the terrain between the Three Sisters Baobabs and Kalahari Pans has shown his face, all too briefly for a snapshot; at least we know he parades the area. The Tubu Female and her young male cub seem to enjoy the newly-built 1 300 metre ‘Cat Walk’ that now links Tubu Tree Camp and the soon to be opened Little Tubu.
The two ‘prodigal lion sons’ returned to their natal land this month - we have identified them as Salt and Pepper, because of their lighter and darker manes respectively. A kudu that seems to have died from natural causes lay untouched for two days before this duo claimed it as their own.
An out-of-camp dining experience was blessed by visiting hyaena as the smell of fillet on the barbeque grid hung around us, mingled with the wild sage and fresh water – these opportunistic predators skulked around in the background as we sat around the fire after dinner sharing stories.
General game has been very prolific while out on game drive, as we enjoyed an abundance of zebra, giraffe, kudu and bushbuck sightings just to mentions a few. A large herd of buffalo had taken up residence on the eastern side of the airstrip, thrilling our guests every time we encountered them.
Elephant breeding herds have been frequenting the area more than usual at this time of year which was also a nice treat.
Birds and Birding
Birding has been really good this month, especially on the raptor front. One afternoon all in camp enjoyed the sighting of an African-harrier hawk that landed just in front of the main area and proceeded to bath and groom itself. A Dickinson’s kestrel also delighted guests at camp when it attempted to catch a large lizard on the floodplain in front of camp. The reptile proved just a bit too heavy for the small raptor to pick up, so a short struggle on the ground followed, resulting in the kestrel enjoying its lunch on the ground.
We have had a few keen birders in camp over the month and they have really enjoyed looking at the infamous LBJs, making it look easy to distinguish between the myriad species of cisticolas, buntings, larks, wagtails, longclaws, shrikes, chats, pipits, robins and tchagras.
A few southern ground-hornbills have been seen this month, marching through the grass, picking up bits and pieces as they go along. The highlight was when an adult female was seen walking with a frog in its beak. The bird then put the frog onto the ground, found something to eat and then picked it up and continued on her way – the chicks at home must really like to eat frogs.
“Overwhelming service! Each Staff member did so much to make our stay pleasant. The game drives were awesome. Thank you for showing us ‘Little Tubu’ and the ‘background’ operations. The setting is magnificent!”
“The rooms are fantastic! Love the use of natural materials. Thought that clearly goes into food and places to eat it. Our guide was excellent – we learnt a lot. Our highlight was the leopard sighting. Rauve and Newman are true professionals.”
“Seretse was a fabulous guide – we spent lots of time watching a leopard, two days in a row, once crossing the water!”
Staff in Camp
Managers: Neuman Vasco and Rauve Vermaak.
Guides: Kambango Sinimbo, Phenyo Lebakeng and Seretse Xaiko.