Vumbura Plains Camp - July 2013

Aug 8, 2013 Vumbura Plains
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Weather and Water Levels
This winter has been an odd one in the Delta. We’ve had cold early mornings and evenings along with warm afternoons, causing confusion for anyone familiar with Botswana and its regular climate. Temperatures have ranged from a minimum of 5 degrees Celsius up to 35 degrees during the day. Layering your clothing has been a useful survival skill this season and carrying blankets and 'bushbabies' (hot water bottles) on the vehicle have been well received by all guests in the early mornings as have the bushbabies in their beds in the evening, to keep everyone snug at night.

The annual waters are now receding very fast and roads usually inaccessible at this time of year due to water and mud are already roadworthy. This year there has seen a significant drop in the amount of vehicles getting stuck in muddy areas due to a much lower inundation, which was a surprise after the last few years of such high waters.

But nothing has managed to dampen the game viewing in our beautiful concession, which over the past few weeks has been fantastic.

Out on the plains there have been numerous lion sightings. A few lucky guests had the amazing opportunity to watch our resident Eastern Pride, consisting of two males and five females, take down a large female buffalo - which in turn led to a fantastic spectacle of a standoff between the lion and a large clan of hyaena who evidently were trying to claim the lion kill. Sadly one lioness was badly injured and once they moved off the kill she began to fall behind the pride. The pride continued on without her for days, although they did not move too far off. Our guides, on the other hand, could not find the injured female until a few days later when the pride managed another kill and in a happy turn of events the injured female came slowly out of the thicket to enjoy the kill with the rest of her pride.

Just before the end of the month, at another sighting of the Eastern Pride stalking prey, the injured female was seen hanging back and observing while the rest of the pride hunted. She is still limping but is certainly on the mend as she is keeping up with the pride. It seems they will not leave her and proof that these cats are more sympathetic than we might think.

Other sightings in the area include our resident wild dog Golden Pack roaming the area and seen regularly on kills of impala and reedbuck. The alpha female of this pack was also seen at the beginning of the month heavily pregnant but the location of their den is still unknown.

Large herds of buffalo have been moving through the lands followed by the local Kubu Boys – three large male lions. One seems rather badly injured, probably caused by fighting, as the lion male population is growing and we have seen two unknown large males roaming the area, one of which is also injured. Exciting times lie ahead as these males will soon start to try and claim more and more dominance of the area.

As usual the leopard sightings in the area have been excellent, one of which was our resident female, Selonyana who has another new cub, seen sharing a kill with her daughter Lesego who had separated from her mother over a year ago - a truly special event to see. The big male leopard who usually roams the area has not been seen for a few weeks but some lucky guests managed to sneak a very quick glimpse of this large beauty at the beginning of the month.

Within camp, breeding herds of elephant have been plentiful. Males in musth have been following the herds and at any given time a minimum of eight elephant can be seen in camp. This is also due to the jackal berry tree,( also known as the African ebony) fruiting, which is a usual occurrence at this time of year, and the elephants love to gorge themselves on as many as they can get their trunks on. The males who pass through the area have been very exciting to watch as the reach high up in the trees to shake them in order to get these delicious fruity treats to fall. Sadly they have little respect of their surroundings and break boardwalks and staff houses and pull down trees to get to these sweet treats. But that's all part of living amongst such fabulous beasts!

Managers In camp: Hamish, Millie & Lorato
Guides In Camp: Ron, Emang & Ban
Newsletter by: Hamish Henderson

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