Weather and Landscape
The temperature has risen steadily this month, producing a monthly high of 35 °C. The rain has been a bit of a tease, as we experienced cloud build-up by midday on most days… only to dissipate at sunset. We did however get 20 mm of rain on 24 October which helped to cool things down a little and settle the dust and provide the vegetation with some moisture.
It has been a fantastic month. Our resident female leopard Mmadepala has been seen a few times this month and was last seen feeding on an impala kill on the western side of the airstrip. The following day she had vanished and it appeared that hyaena had taken the remains of her meal.
Now that we can drive more extensively and cover more area, we have enjoyed a good few lion sightings and it seems that these felines are moving closer to the camp area. Two young males have moved into the area, but appear to have been chased off towards the end of the month by an older pair of males which have also moved out of the area.
The highlight for the month was the three wild dogs which moved into the southern sections of the concession for a couple of days before moving further south.
Elephants have been seen in and around the camp area and as the environment continues to dry up, finding elephants became easy and predictable – just head to the permanent water sources and you would find the giant herbivores. As a result of the camp location, we had a breeding herd with many little ones visit camp a number of times.
General game sightings have been rather good too, as most wildlife follows the same movement patterns and habits as the elephant. A very strange occurrence happened this month, where three kudu were struck and killed by lightning.
Birds and Birding
This month we have experienced superb birding, especially around the Xigera Lagoon. A good number of African skimmers have settled at the lagoon and are preparing to nest on the exposed sand banks – it really is such a privilege to have these birds return to the area year after year.
Pink-backed pelicans have taken a liking to the floodplains around camp and were even seen in between the guests’ tents on occasion. A flock of around 40 wattled cranes has been found in the wetter areas of the concession, often following herds of lechwe, which stir up insects as they move along.
Striped and woodland kingfishers can be heard calling on a daily basis now and we can only hope that more summer migrants continue to arrive.
Finally, the enormous and obliging Pel’s fishing-owl has provided our guests with many outstanding sightings and photo opportunities.