Climate and Landscape
Temperatures remained moderate over Xigera and the Lagoon, with pleasantly overcast conditions on some days to cool the heated water surface and bring down the rising humidity; a lovely time of year with temperatures dropping in the late afternoon as storms brew in the north-east. We had about 80 mm of precipitation throughout the month; not as much as last month but the water-table is already full. Clear starlit night skies seemed to be the norm this month.
At this time of year game viewing is somewhat specialised, with the water level increased by localised rain and the vegetation being very lush. The area has attracted zebra out onto the plains as well as the occasional giraffe. Elephant were scarce during the first half of the month but their return was announced in no uncertain terms when a breeding herd of 40 was seen crossing a shallow floodplain – what a spectacle!
Our local hyaena clan has been quite active this last month, with their tracks seen on our conveniently placed sandpit on the walkway providing several first-class sightings after they’ve ‘walked the plank’. A rare and interesting sighting this month was hyaena feeding on a baby giraffe.
As we explore the ancient channels of the Okavango Delta, we often encounter very large pods of hippo in these waters, with numbers well into the 30s! Nothing like a sundowner at a hippo pool with scores of these enormous creatures showing just their ears, eyes and nostrils and the occasional grunt and deep drumming to seal the day – unforgettable.
Birds and Birding
One does not need to go far to tick a number of interesting species. In and around camp green pigeons forage in the trees while babblers hold raucous caucuses outside the tents and short-tailed eagles soar above. The woodland kingfishers are still around and one can only imagine the journey that lies ahead of them as they will be migrating in winter; that is one sound that will be dearly missed.
The deep hoot of a Pel’s fishing-owl has been our regular wake-up call this past month and a lot of our guests have had the pleasure of seeing this rarity.
Early morning breakfast is taken at the mokoro station before we test the waters on this ancient mode of transport, during which one experiences nature literally face-to-face. The small Angolan reed frog and the even smaller long reed frog are the ‘leopard’ or ‘wild dog’ sightings of the waters. It’s difficult to imagine that the orchestra we hear at night comes from these small amphibians!
Experiencing the ancient channels of the Okavango is magical and one truly gets a sense of the age and power of these waters, especially since we are now able to cruise up to Xigera Lagoon, itself a microcosm of the Delta: an alluvial fan where soils and sediments carried in the water are finally released. Right next to the lagoon is one of the Delta’s main tributaries, the Jao / Boro River, which flows all the way to Maun.
On the 29th of March we celebrated Earth Hour at Xigera Camp with dinner out by the solar plant, doing our bit in the name of the environment for that hour. We had singing and dancing, cocktails and guests dined by the light of the fire.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Neuman, Rauve, Dineo, Taps and Bamps
Guides: Reuben, Onks, Goms and Des