Climate and Landscape
Mornings have been very cold at Tubu Tree with the temperature dropping as low as 10° Celsius, although as we reached the end of the month we could feel how it is starting to warm up. The wind is now starting to pick up as well, gusting in the early mornings and evenings. The water is receding quite quickly, having dropped seven metres so far this month – creating fish traps which the many water birds are enjoying as the fish are easy to catch in these small bodies of water.
Leopard sightings have been amazing – and difficult to watch – this month. Two of our resident females have been feuding over territory resulting in the deaths of their cubs. Our guides came across two female leopards, walking parallel to each, growling and snarling at each other. The leopards finally leaped at each other, though all that could be seen were claws, rosettes and dust. The guides then noticed two leopard cubs hiding under a bush. When one of them made a run to a nearby thicket, the intruding female focused all her attention on the cub. With several quick jumps, she had the cub locked in her jaws and soon death followed. She then climbed up a tree, and ate the cub, something we hadn’t expected and was difficult for us to view.
In the days that followed, the mother that lost her cub was clearly affected. She would spend a lot of time in the area her cub was killed, and would lick the remaining pieces of her cub. She became obsessed with finding the killer. Once she tracked her down, she took her revenge. She killed and ate the other leopard’s cub.
We have plenty of warthogs in and around Tubu Tree and they have become so relaxed, they will climb on the termite mound in front of the curio shop or graze by the entrance when guests arrive.
Many kudu as well as zebra, impala, troops of vervet monkeys and baboons, bushbuck and little squirrels have been spotted in and around Tubu Tree. A lone buffalo was frequently seen around camp and then one morning it seemed that he had made friends with another two. Some days later, about 30 buffalo were spotted in front of the camp!
During one of our boma dinners, a splashing was heard just metres from where the guests were sitting. When we shone the flashlight, we saw a hyaena running in the floodplains!
On most mornings leopard and lion tracks were seen near the staff accommodation and just past the kitchen. The lions decided to make the staff accommodation the resting place the one evening. They were roaring from 2 am, keeping all the staff awake.
Birds and Birding
With the water level dropping every day, more and more water birds have been seen in and around the island. Huge flocks of openbill storks frequent the floodplains in front of the camp, fishing for water snails. Our resident wattled cranes have been seen wading through the water in search of their next meal. A pair of martial eagles is raising chicks in the nest it has been using for many years.
With the jackalberry trees bearing fruit the camp is a hive of activity with numerous species of birds such as starlings, Meyer’s parrots, go-away birds, orioles and barbets to name just a few.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Bryan Webbstock, Theresa Fourie, Jared Zeelie, Philile Hlongwa, Mark Nichoslon,
Guides: Joseph Makhulosekopo, Broken Bambo, Thokomela Saxhago, Kgaga Kgaga