Weather and Landscape
The months of the winter have come and gone it seems. The days have been rather pleasant especially when out on game drive, with the cool breeze and warm sun to enjoy. The wind picked up for a couple of days during the middle of the month, with a slight change in wildlife sightings, as animals take to the thick vegetation for cover during bouts of wind.
A reminder that winter was still present during the night however is that the temperature would drop to an average low of 10° C, but soon warmed up to an average high of 29° C once the sun spread its rays over the landscape.
What an exciting month for the leopards on Hunda Island - however, not so much for the civets that have fallen prey to these spotted felines on numerous occasions. The Tubu Female's two cubs, a male and female, have taken a liking to hunting other (slightly smaller) predators too.
The cool winter night’s silence has been broken by the continuous call of a male leopard on the eastern fringe of the camp island; we are still yet to see the elusive fellow who, judging from his grunt, has scars of experience and a tale to tell. This is also proven by his disappearing acts as a vehicle approaches, one only gets a glimpse of his tail as he vanishes into the thickets.
A mean bout between two hippos did not end well for the one, he had a gorge under his eye and what looked like whip lashes all over his back. The 'river horse' had taken the beating of a lifetime and spent the last hours of his life flat down with his head resting in shallow water. The gentlemen in ‘black suits and white shirts’ also known as hooded vultures have attended the scene although still perched on the surrounding tree line as if they could not believe their eyes.
The scent of this dead hippo seems to have drawn back into the area the two nomadic male lions which we now identify as Salt and Pepper because of the clear tone differences of their manes. It appears that these two youngsters do not wander off very far, because as soon as there is a something worth visiting they are there in a flash. They are two very good-looking males between the ages of four to five years, still to earn their ‘land rights.’ With little or no competition here, this should not be painful, especially seeing as there are two of them!
With the jackalberry trees fruiting, the elephants have returned from their seasonal drinking grounds and are now a common sight within the Delta. They seem to enjoy camp and are somewhat perplexed by the camp additions along the riverine forest where the camp is to be found.
Birds and Birding
Civet flesh must be a delicacy in the wilderness as a civet was taken out by a tawny eagle and flown to a dead but still standing knobthorn tree where it was leisurely consumed by the raptor.
A hamerkop was seen cashing in when he caught a sizeable frog from the lodge deck. Unfortunately for him, we were not the only spectators as a Dickinson’s kestrel swooped in and stole the hamerkop's meal.
The early morning stillness has been broken by the deep hoot of southern ground-hornbills that roost somewhere between the workshop and first bridge, no need for a wake-up call as these giants are up at first light, welcoming us into the day.
“At the camp: The beautiful sunsets from the bar deck, eating outside, the view from our bedroom, viewing the wildlife from the raised boardwalks, relaxing! Sorry, nearly forgot to mention the demonstration of basket weaving and explanation of the dyes used. In The Bush: Sighting one leopard draped over a tree branch and then a few minutes later another one which we followed when she descended. Thank you to all staff and guides, without whom this wonderful experience would not be possible. We quite enjoyed being given an explanation of how Tubu Tree and Little Tubu are run (this was an informal chat when we went exploring our last morning here.) Perhaps other guests might also enjoy this?”
“ Issa was fantastic: Safety oriented and very knowledgeable. The tents and staff were amazing as well, excellent attention to detail”
“Game drives, wonderful food, excellent staff - everyone was so accommodating, very friendly and attentive to any of our needs. Thank you so much for making this part of our vacation so memorable. Our guide Seretse was so knowledgeable and much fun. He’s great!”
Staff in Camp
Managers: Neuman Vasco, Rauve Vermaak, Andre Erasmus and Lene Stopforth.
Guides: Phenyo Lebakeng, Seretse Xaiko, Issa Satheba and Broken Bambo.