Weather and Landscape
March was characterised by lovely warm days with even better evening temperatures. The cooler weather of autumn has crept up on us as the month neared its end, with crisp cool mornings. A few drops of rain have fallen during the month, but not even enough to wet the soil. For the last few days of the month, we were blessed with beautiful thunder clouds and even better lightning, but still no relief from the dust.
Where to start? Well, the leopards have been keeping us thoroughly entertained with all their escapades.
Tubu Female and her two youngsters have been “patrolling” around Tubu Tree Camp and Little Tubu - it seems that they are quite happy with what has been happening, as they have been here almost daily, and of course not disappointing us in their performance. They have been seen crossing the floodplains during the day, stalking red lechwe in the setting sun and walking through the camp in the late afternoon or in the early mornings. One evening we saw the young male walking on the edge of the camp, marking his territory as he went; he also decided that marking the door of the manager’s tent was also part of his duties.
We have seen them for a few days in the open clearing in front of camp, but on a lovely afternoon, we found the Tubu Female relaxing in the afternoon sun, not too far from a red lechwe carcass she had been feeding on from the evening before. She was calling her cubs, and when they arrived they could smell that their mother had fed, but mom was not giving any hints as to where the carcass was - the young male was trying his best to get the location out of his mom. Eventually he started walking circles around the area and found the carcass not too far from his mother. Both sub-adults dug in very eagerly.
Upon returning to camp, the guides mentioned that they had this great sighting of all three leopards, so Eloise decided, with another manager, Steve and training manager Henco, to see what was happening at the sighting. When we got there we had a glimpse of a leopard, as he/she disappeared into the undergrowth, but there was no leopard feeding on the carcass. There was a very large hyaena enjoying the meal. We sat there with only parking lights on and a torch, and while watching the hyaena ripping the carcass to shreds, we saw something move behind the hyaena. Less than one metre behind the hyaena was a leopard, inching closer, barely moving a blade of grass. She moved so close to the hyaena, that every time the hyaena stepped back to pull on a piece of meat, the leopard had to lean back to make sure that the hyaena didn’t know it was there. Eventually the leopard was caught unaware when the hyaena quickly stepped back and realised that she bumped something, when she turned around to look at what was behind her, she saw that there was a leopard behind her and immediately charged at the feline – it was a brief lunge, as the hyaena quickly returned to the carcass.
A few minutes later we spotted some more movement: this time to the side of the hyaena and a little further away, there was a leopard lying down in the grass relaxing. Not long after another leopard brushed past and went to lie down in the same area. The hyaena was clearly unsettled by the presence of another leopard and gave chase again. Suddenly a third leopard (which had been crouching in front of the vehicle) took this opportunity to try and seize the carcass. Unfortunately for the leopard trio, the enraged hyaena spotted this and reclaimed her meal. Soon after this, the leopards decided that it was a losing battle and proceeded to nap under some vegetation – leaving the hyaena to gorge in peace.
This month we have also been blessed with many great elephant sightings within the camp, as the marula trees in camp are all in fruit, attracting the big pachyderms to come and enjoy their favourite food, while the guests are sitting on the decks of their rooms or on the main area deck - even when we are having our meals, they will join for theirs.
One afternoon, with only one vehicle out on drive, the guests came back smiling from ear to ear. Upon asking them what they saw, they had a naughty grin and replied, "Two male lions." Enough said - we haven’t seen lions on the island since December last year and all of a sudden right under our noses and a mere 30-minute drive from camp, two male lions had killed a blue wildebeest. They had fed on the carcass and not much was left. The next day we went looking but couldn’t find them, only their tracks. Over the following two weeks we would find their tracks and even had a couple brief sightings. Hopefully the two young animals will settle into the area.
General game sightings have also been incredible, as we have enjoyed large numbers of lechwe and giraffe around the concession.
Birds and Birding
We were lucky enough this month to have a wonderful sighting of a pied avocet at Kalahari Pans, brief as it was, it was lovely to see nonetheless.
This month, we participated in a Botswana bird count (along with many other camps and lodges in the country) and managed to tick quite a few great species off, including large flocks of wattled starlings, European swallows, and broad-billed rollers in addition to the resident species.
Big flocks of wattled cranes have moved into the floodplain area in front of camp, which is a highlight for any birder that visits us.
“Game drives were always interesting, no matter what we saw and we especially enjoyed the variety of animals and birds. The camp staff were very accommodating and friendly.”
“Game drives with GT were spectacular – he is an amazing guide and worked very hard to find the best game viewing opportunities. The traditional evening in the boma with the staff was outstanding.”
“Our highlight was having Petros as our guide. He went above and beyond to make sure we saw many animals, trees and varying landscapes. His knowledge and expertise were excellent. The Monday night cultural even was a favourite in camp. Eloise was a most wonderful hostess and her film presentation was very, very good. We were made to feel special and welcome. We would recommend Tubu Tree to everyone for a true African experience. Loved the outdoor shower under the stars while hearing animals!”
Staff in Camp
Managers: Hein and Eloise Holton.
Guides: Kambango Sinimbo and GT Sarepito.