August brings to a close a particularly mild winter here in the Okavango Delta. Whilst only a couple of lows this month were seen around the 7 to 9-degree Celsius mark, generally 12 to 14 was recorded as the minimum. Comfortably warm highs averaging at 30 meant guests were frequently seen returning back into camp with huge mounds of shed layers piled high on the back of the game viewers. Known for its winds, August has also seen several very gusty days where the glass doors of the dining room provided diners with much-needed shelter ensuring a relaxing brunch was had by all.
The game viewing, on the other hand, has been far from relaxing. This has been a spectacular month for leopard sightings. Selonyana’s three-year-old daughter killed a reedbuck and was seen feeding on it in a tree. Below her, two hyaena staked out the scene hoping for the best. As luck would have it, the leopard dropped the carcass and the hyaenas swooped in on the bones. Luckily for her, the next day she was found back up a tree with another reedbuck and her mother was seen relaxing nearby with a very full belly. Both leopards appeared seemingly at ease in each other’s company. Selonyana also has a young eight-month-old female cub which had not been sighted until the very end of this month. It is thought that she had most likely been hidden by her mother, for protection, on the far western side of the Concession.
Our resident pride of eight lion, the Kubu Pride, continue to be a regular sight at Vumbura Plains. The four young males, one old female and three young females have an unusual fondness for climbing trees. On at least four occasions this month they have been watched by astonished guests as they relax high up in the branches of various trees. It would, perhaps, be wise for the leopards to think twice before hauling their kill safely up a tree on our ever-evolving plains!
On one occasion, very close to the vehicle, guests were witness to a lone warthog being unceremoniously flushed from his burrow only to be rapidly and savagely torn apart by the Kubu Pride. Having finished with their starter, they swiftly moved on to main course, a buffalo, several kilometres away. A confrontation sometime later between the pride and no less than 30 hungry hyaena led to the pride standing down, bellies full, and the scavengers moving in.
On another afternoon the pride were actually spotted swimming across a channel to an island where they were seen to kill another buffalo. But this time, possibly due to being surrounded entirely by water, they were left alone and undisturbed to feed on the carcass in peace.
It has also not been unheard of for this pride to venture into camp. On one particular early morning, our Executive Chef Nick got an unwelcome surprise as the pride began bounding towards him, interrupting his walk to work. As they became uncomfortably close, Nick took the wise decision to retreat to Room 1, where, in a bid for cover, he asked the guests if he could please be let in. The three of them then enjoyed an early morning coffee together from the sanctuary of the room, whilst watching three large hyaenas feed on the carcass of a kudu which the lions killed during the night.
The lions are not the only predators to be seen running around camp. The pack of nine wild dogs, which were seen regularly for the first half of the month, made a particularly chaotic entrance one afternoon. A lone dog was chasing an impala who ran into the glass doors behind the bar, rebounded and continued on running for his life. Sprinting all around the main area and back of house, almost over our toes, the dog finally landed his prey just before Room 4. After patiently waiting for about ten minutes he was joined by the other eight. In less than fifteen minutes the pack had pulled the antelope apart and devoured it, and off they went. After not being seen for a couple of weeks after this, they reappeared at the end of the month. Excited guests watched them on a hunt, but this time they were unsuccessful.
Frequent sable sightings continue to delight. Enormous herds of buffalo have also been spotted gracing our plains. Having got quite accustomed to herds of 500, one morning late in the month, a herd estimated to be around the two thousand mark were seen splashing and stomping their way through the water. Quite breathtaking!
“The best experience ever. Spectacular in every way – the pure beauty, game sightings, the gracious fun staff and the tender loving care”
“An amazing four days Vumbura. Many thanks to everyone. Can’t wait to return!”
“The best camp we have ever stayed in. Absolutely exceptional in every possible way”
Staff in Camp
Managers: Jared, Annabel and Tlamelo.
Guides: Zee, Moronga, Russell and Ant.