Weather and Landscape
A new year has begun, and with that a fresh new start. This area of the Delta is blooming with beautiful shades of green and flourishing vegetation can be seen all over the concession. A contributing factor to this is the fantastic rainfall we had in December. This month we’ve had just less than 60 mm; still, enough to sustain the lush landscape. Hot days and cool mornings have been a pleasure and short downpours around tea time (that’s 4pm) have made activity times perfect for the guests – always an excellent recipe for game viewing. But whether your choice of activity is water or land, Vumbura Plains has not disappointed this month!
Although the tall green grass can sometimes make game viewing difficult, our very skilled guides have done a great job of successfully tracking and locating amazing sightings, and with the all the greenery the birding has been outstanding. As usual during the rainy seasons, there are a lot of new-borns still finding their feet.
The first big sighting of the month came early on when the resident wild dog pack – the Golden Pack – took the day off to rest and play, enjoying themselves less than 500 metres away from Vumbura North’s main area! The best part of this little scenario was that the pack of roughly nine adult dogs was accompanied by their pups. Our count of the full pack is now 16 dogs, which interestingly, was the size of the pack three years ago before it split into two separate packs. The young ones shared the scraps of a warthog kill that the adults had made, and tried their “hand” at hunting some guineafowl that wandered into the vicinity.
The lions in the area have been very active and seen almost daily. The two big males in the area, known as the Kubu Boys, have been showing their dominance and guests had the opportunity to watch these two majestic males chase off another pride of eight lions, forcing them from their territory. The chase lasted a full four hours with the two males the victors: a spectacular performance from the Kings of the Beasts.
This month, our most exciting experience has been a cheetah sighting! Not only was it the first sighting of a cheetah in this area for more than six months, this beautiful female, who was spotted approximately 800 metres away from our main airstrip transfer road, is nursing the two most adorable cubs. This wonderful trio, happily not as skittish as one might think, stayed under a tree near the road just long enough for all our guests to sneak a peek at the little beauties. Unfortunately, we only managed to keep up with the trio for one day after the sighting though we are glad they have moved to a quieter territory.
While the cats and dogs are away however, the plains game is thriving and huge obstinacies of buffalo have filled areas with up to 600 at a time. Zebra, impala, red lechwe and wildebeest, all with young, are common sightings and it is always a pleasure to watch the interaction of all the wonderful creatures.
Congratulations to Vumbura South Choir for winning the prestigious Inter-Camp choir competition and the Vumbura North soccer team, who were crowned champions after defeating the South team in a nail-biting penalty shootout! Thank you to all involved in its organisation.
Staff in Camp
Hamish, Millie, Tlamelo, Donald, Charlene, Emang, ST and Ban
Newsletter by Hamish Henderson
Photographs by Hamish Henderson & Jared Snoyman