Climate and Landscape
June started off very cold at Tubu Tree with chilly mornings and some cool evenings. Our average temperature for June was recorded at a minimum of 14° Celsius with a maximum of 20°. Once the cold front passed, we had some beautiful evenings around the fire, with the stars beautifully lighting up the skies. We had quite a few windy days, making the Delta rather chilly. Daytime temperatures have been warm, going into the evenings with not a breath of wind. No rain fell this month and the skies have not given any indication of any rainfall – which is about right for this time of year.
The Delta water did not rise much during June, settling in the channels with no higher flow of water recorded. The sightings have been exceptionally good on Hunda Island, which left guests amazed at what they tracked and saw.
Leopard sightings have been frequent on the island, with quite a few of these cats on the move. The female leopard and her cub have been more mobile, venturing in and around camp, making their presence known. The leopard cub has grown considerably, climbing trees, and even stalking prey.
A number of other leopard sightings were recorded, including one of the male leopards as well as the elderly female leopard who was spotted outside one of the manager’s units. Towards the end of the month we had a sad incident when a female leopard came across another female with two young and killed one of the cubs. The next day the assailant was seen eating the remains of the cub she had killed. Protein is never wasted in the bush….
The male lions have been fairly scarce this month. However, we had two females with two cubs that have been roaming around Hunda Island, making themselves heard, roaring in the early hours of the morning and throughout the evening. The pride was spotted by a few of the guides, with amazed guests watching the hungry lions stalk and chase prey.
The elephant sightings around Tubu Tree have been excellent with herds present around the island, as well as near the camp. A herd was spotted on the airstrip numbering some 60 individuals! The elephants have also joined in on a bush brunch and even joined in one evening while guests were having dinner in the boma. There have been brave young male bulls surprising guests, putting on a show during sightings which again has left guests abuzz with the telling.
General game sightings have also been good, with large herds of buffalo, zebra, lechwe, wildebeest and giraffe all being spotted regularly. A journey of giraffe galloping across the floodplain was seen from a mokoro activity. Guests also enjoyed a rare sighting of a honey badger foraging for food.
We have had a family of warthogs residing in camp for a few months, a welcoming sight for guests as the little family grazes in front of Tubu Tree in the floodplain.
A clan of hyaena was spotted on one of the night drives near the ‘three sisters’ on Hunda Island. Guests watched the five hyaena interact for quite a while, listening to them calling, and watching them on the move. Two of the hyaena were ahead of the pack ‘scoping’ out the area, while one male and two young lagged behind. The young hyaena were very inquisitive, sniffing around the vehicle.
There has been a lot of activity at night, with hippos splashing around the water in the floodplain, and a curious elephant grazing and drinking water outside some of the tents, keeping the guests up at night. One night when the lions passed through camp, they in turn set off a herd of elephant which then thrashed noisily through the floodplain in front of camp.
Birds and Birding
There have been quite a few resident birds in the area, and some great sightings of rarities that aren’t spotted too often.
A lone ostrich has been seen wandering around the lagoon at Giraffe Pans, strutting his stuff and showing off to our guests. There have been pelicans in the area too, fishing and foraging for food, as well as the family of five ground hornbills which is constantly on the hunt for food.
The African harrier hawk (gymnogene) pair is still seen hanging around the curio shop in the jackalberry tree, both making themselves comfortable while the Burchell’s starlings continually make a racket as they look for fruit. Marabou storks were spotted flying around the area on a fishing expedition.
Guests have been enjoying their own fishing excursions and have caught a number of largemouth, thinfaced largemouth, as well as the nembwe bream, to name just a few.
Staff in Camp
Bryan Webbstock, Theresa Fourie, Jared Zeelie, Philile Hlongwa, Ian Burger, Michelle Burger, Kamegelo Mapila, Gloria Amos
Joseph Makhulosekopo, Seretse Xaeko, Broken Bambo, Thokomela Saxhago, Kgaga Kgaga, Kambango Sinmbo