Tubu Tree Camp – January 2014

Jan 31, 2014 |  Botswana |  Okavango Delta |  Tubu Tree Camp
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Weather and Landscape
January started out very wet with four days of non-stop rain; during this period we had more than 190 mm! However, since then, we have had only two further days of rain. The rest of the days were hot and humid with the occasional late afternoon thunder and lightning show. One particular day, the guests were treated to a magnificent double rainbow over the floodplains which made for some extraordinary photo opportunities. With the afternoon thunderstorms we enjoyed magnificent sunsets, the sky painted in orange, red and gold.

Wildlife
Even though we were closed for half of the month for yearly maintenance, the game viewing has been phenomenal! The two male lions have been seen on a regular basis this month, favouring the area around Kalahari Pan. On the evening of the 13th they paid us a visit in camp and their tracks were seen crossing our boma and continuing through the camp past the workshop and into the staff village. We have a territorial male kudu that we see on a daily basis around camp and on this particular evening the male lions attempted to catch him in the staff village – the staff said that the sounds and commotion the lions and kudu made were terrifying, but luckily for the kudu he managed to avoid becoming dinner! A lioness also made an appearance on our floodplain in front of the camp; there was a huge herd of wildebeest and zebra that had started to bed down in the open and while they were getting ready for yet another nervous night ahead we heard them give off their alarm calls indicating the presence of a predator. We immediately shone our torches in the general direction of the chaos and noise and saw a lioness charging through the mass of wildebeest and zebra in an attempt catch one. Her attempt was a failure and we watched her melt away into the darkness, sure she would continue to stalk the herd throughout the night.

As usual, our leopard sightings have been incredible, with guests spoiled by the number and quality of sightings! Two of our guests were fortunate enough to have a female leopard kill an impala ewe five metres in front of their vehicle. They then watched in awe as the leopard dragged her kill across the road into a nearby thicket where she could enjoy her meal in peace and quiet. Our resident camp leopard has been seen regularly from our bar and dining room area and on one occasion we were lucky enough to see her dragging a newly born wildebeest that she had killed in the early hours of the morning presumably. Guests in camp were able to watch her feed on it for the rest of the day. The same female leopard put on quite a show for our guests on the morning of the 22nd when she jumped up onto our walkway near Tent 1 and proceeded to sit on the deck of the outside shower, carefully scrutinising the floodplain for a morning meal.

Throughout the month numerous elephant herds have been seen, the biggest being approximately 60 elephant feeding in a mopane thicket. The floodplain in front of the camp has also been a popular spot with elephant seen here on a daily basis, feeding on the grass and wallowing in the mud pools. There have also been large numbers of babies with the groups. On one afternoon, a herd of approximately 30 was seen running across the floodplain in a great hurry, obviously spooked by some unseen predator.

The baboons and monkeys are still much in evidence and can be nuisance, often raiding the buffet in the mornings. There have been great sightings of kudu, giraffe, wildebeest and zebra. We have a resident herd of wildebeest and zebra that spends most nights in front of Tubu, slowly moving away in the early morning. The impala lambs are growing and there is often a large herd on the airstrip in the late afternoons.

Birds and Birding
The family of southern ground-hornbills is seen most days foraging on the floodplain in front of camp and heard calling in the early morning and late evening around camp.

At the end of the month, an African harrier-hawk was seen raiding the nests of the palm swifts in the palms between Tents 8 and 7. Flocks of arrow-marked babblers as well as crested barbets enjoy the birdbath at the camp’s entrance steps.

The golden weavers are always very much in evidence around the camp and are known to enjoy any food that is left unattended. We are extremely fortunate to have a great diversity of birdlife around Tubu and Little Tubu, keeping guests excited and interested during their siesta time. We regularly see woodland kingfishers, crested and black-collared barbets, golden weavers, saddle-billed storks, wattled cranes and red-billed hornbills around camp and on the floodplain.

Guest Comments
The beautiful setting in the trees is the main highlight of the visit. Tree tents over-looking the grasslands. We would love to return in June to see it flooded. Seretse is a caring and extremely knowledgeable guide who we loved driving with. Although we didn’t find the leopard we fully enjoyed the birds, monkeys, baboons, kudu and the warthog who posed so patiently for us. We were able to see the buffalo close-up for the first time. Particularly wonderful were the staff singing, serving our every need and being so very friendly at all time. We will miss you all!

TK was excellent guide! Very informative and we learned so much! Having him as our guide was definitely a highlight. The whole experience was wonderful. Thank you!

Everything was lovely, thank you! TK was outstanding as a guide. We got to spend quality time with a leopard on two different occasions. And we really appreciated his explanations of the ecosystem. Jared was also especially helpful. We loved it all, Thanks!

Thank you so much for making our stay so amazing, especially Seretse for teaching me so much and filling our time with lots of laughs.

Our guide Broken, he is great! The leopard killing an impala! The staff so friendly. The singing and dancing on New Year Eve. The night game drives. Even if it’s “quiet” it’s so nice to be in this total darkness.

Friendliness of staff. Relaxing and comfortable. Willingness to please. Safaris, night drive, leopards, birds, wildlife, accommodation. Tubu Tree lodge has provided us with an awesome experience of Botswana and the Delta, the diversity of the landscapes, the knowledge of the guides. The wildlife and tranquillity of the area. The staff have met all our needs even under such rainy conditions, the stay at Tubu Tree has been fantastic! Definitely a place to visit again. Thank-you.

Staff in Camp
Mark Nicholson, Madelein Swanepoel, Ian Burger, Michélle Burger, Jared Zeele, Philile Hlongwa, Ruan Smit, Phenyo Lebakeng, Broken Bambo, Joseph Makhulosekopo, Bolatatswe Makdetho, Seretse Xaeko

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