Vumbura Plains – March 2014

Mar 31, 2014 Vumbura Plains
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Climate and Landscape
The season has not yet changed; rain has fallen intermittently throughout the last few weeks keeping the plains and woodlands thick with lush green bushes and bright, vibrant leaves. The colours at sunset and sunrise are fabulous due to stunning cloud formations bringing out amazing hues of bright primary colours. The annual inundation has yet to arrive; we still have a few weeks yet, and the floodplains, bursting with water and the sun not yet hot enough to lap up the remaining surface water left by the rains, have added to the beauty of the summer season.

Throughout our concession, the plains are filled with herds of red lechwe standing proud in the wetlands. These amphibious antelope, which congregate by the dozen, often stand very close together (known as a cluster). Their perfectly adapted two-toed hooves provide these fleet-footed water-lovers with great agility and speed through the floodplains, occasionally challenging each other in a show of dominance by clashing their sharp back-turned horns.

Far in the distance, towers of giraffe, standing high, gaze across the plains inspecting the area for any movement of predators or the odd male challenger. They move with grace, sloshing the water at their feet as they journey toward the high trees to browse. When startled, they move clumsily and break into a gallop and, as if in slow motion, cover large amounts of ground in a short period of time, until they disappear into the thick woodlands.

Parades of elephant march through the plains, stopping to shower themselves with the cool water below their feet, eating as much as they can as they move steadily along. Within their tidy single file line, smaller young elephants raise their trunks high to keep them above the water for air.

Around the concession, the wild dog packs have been spotted on a regular basis. These beautiful painted dogs blur the eyes, moving at high speed through the dense woodlands, fixated on their hunt, dodging left and right, almost as if to lose the trailing vehicle hurrying along after them to get a rare glimpse of these endangered beauties and their efficient and effective hunting techniques. They stop every so often to smell the area for a scent, playing and mocking each other, until a movement or a scent is picked up again in the distance and they shoot off, leaving our vehicles to scurry after them.

In one particular sighting of the dogs, they had come across a dead giraffe lying in the grass like a toppled structure. The dogs scavenged on the carcass for almost three days, not leaving in the evenings and sleeping nearby.

Our ever-active lion prides have had a superb month, taking advantage of the dense greenery, and effectively ambushing their unsuspecting prey. They have gorged themselves on warthog, impala, wildebeest and buffalo. Kettles of vulture hovered around in nearby trees, waiting for an opportune moment to swoop in and steal from the kill.

Staff in Camp
Managers: Hamish, Millie & Lorato
Guides: Ban, Emang & ST

Newsletter and pictures: Hamish Henderson



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