August is often known as the windy month, and at Xigera that has certainly been the case. With the lows of 12 degrees Celsius and highs of 31 this month, the cool wind was often a welcome relief in the midday.
The inundation has steadily been disappearing, and we have watched as the water level at the bridge records lower and lower readings. This has been somewhat sooner than on previous years, with our boats struggling to get through some of the shallower channels. This has kept our guides a lot busier with clearing the props on the boats, and has meant that we are unable to do our lovely day trips to Chief's Island on the boats. However, it has allowed for us to get to the Xigera Lagoon which is a wonderful open expanse of water, with a sandbank in the middle. This time of year allows for swimming in this Lagoon, as the lower water level means that you can safely see for a long way around. Quite a few of our guests have delighted in the swim afforded right in the Delta.
The Lagoon also has African skimmers nesting on many of the sandbanks, having come in earlier than usual this year. These birds require pristine wilderness to be able to breed, hence their representation on the Wilderness Safaris logo. The Luapula cisticola has also been spotted this month, which for many keen birders would be a 'lifer'. A grey-headed gull, Kitlitz plover, black-crowned night heron and collared pratincole were also spotted on some birding trips.
We have also had a rather relaxed bull elephant in camp that seems to take absolutely no notice of the human activity around him. One late evening he strolled right past the fire-deck, his side scraping the railing right next to us. He proceeded to walk around the deck, past the bar and right up to the entrance of the camp, all whilst we watched in awed silence right next to him - a truly magical moment.
Fishing has proved to be rather exceptional this month. On one morning expedition 20 fish were caught. We are certain that a hearty dinner for all could have been prepared from this, but we are strictly a catch-and-release camp and thus these lucky fish will continue to populate the Delta.
Heritage Day, a nationally celebrated day in Botswana, was a grand affair at Xigera. All of our staff dressed in their Boma outfits and every person that arrived was serenaded by our choir. Basket weaving skills were shown to all parties interested, and local dishes were specially prepared for our guests. They were even given the choice to eat with their hands, as is done locally. Local beer made at Xigera (Chibuku) was also served around the table. Singing, dancing and the use of a variety of local dialects ensured that a truly unforgettable night was had.