Weather and Landscape
The month of November saw very low water levels at Xigera. Channels were shallower but boating still took place from our boat station.
We also saw some big variances in temperature – after rain had drastically cooled the warm days. This month saw highs of 33 degrees Celsius and lows of 17, with sporadic bursts of rain.
November brought really major changes in our wildlife sightings. As an Okavango island experience, our game viewing evolves as our water levels change. The low water allows for animals to cross onto our game drive island, bringing a medley of creatures not normally seen at other times of the year. Most notable is the discovery of a hyaena den west of our airstrip. The two hyaena cubs have enthralled many of our visitors as they meander up to our vehicle or play with their mother when she comes back from her activities.
We have also had multiple sightings of leopard on the island, as well as these cats crossing the bridge that leads in and out of camp. Buffalo have also been spotted on our island. Arguably the best sighting though was three wild dogs killing an impala about 20 minutes from camp.
Monkeys trying to get a brief reprieve from the heat played in the water for about half an hour. Their funny antics kept us both entertained and occupied trying to capture this playful scene with our cameras.
A helicopter flight over the Delta proved to be hugely successful with sightings of at least a dozen sitatunga. Just seeing one is something special, however to see them in such large numbers is exceptional. On another occasion we were out boating one afternoon and, to our astonishment as we turned into a lagoon from a channel, we saw three male sitatunga looking straight at us. They were a fair distance away and soon moved back into the reeds before we could get any photographs. Our guests were exultant as this shy antelope is a must-see for any seasoned African traveller, and this was their first encounter with this elusive animal. Normally, if we do come across them, we see them from the air, and these guests were extremely lucky to see them at eye-level from the water.
Birds and Birding
There has been an abundance of birds around Xigera, with everyone waking up to various melodic bird calls around their tents. The Pel’s fishing-owls seemed to have moved closer to us from their island opposite Xigera. A short walk past tent 10 has proved most productive in this regard. A pair of wattled cranes has also been seen numerous times in front of the guest tents. A pair of bearded woodpeckers was also seen frantically flying around, as a baby called continuously to be fed. The baby in question was in a tree outside the kitchen, and its continuous chirping caused us to reassess our sanity!