At the new Zib Camp, we notice a couple of African Jacanas fighting and chasing each other along the water's edge, peeping their distinctive call. We watch how a herd of elephants gently emerge from the treeline, slowly making their way to the water, pausing briefly for a dust bath in front of one of our tents. Then we see them gingerly start to cross the water, a daily ritual we never tire of seeing. African Spoonbills and egrets, White-faced Ducks and herons, African Pygmy-Geese and pelicans punctuate the shallow water's edge in front of camp forever probing and prodding for food.
Every morning while we sit round the fire watching the early morning light catch the grass and reeds in the lagoon and listen to the lions roaring somewhere near the Savute Channel, we see flocks of Red-billed Quelea snaking across the sky, disturbed from their night-time roost in the reeds.
We have been blessed with many wonderful sightings within camp: Elephants drift silently around between the tents and walkways, feasting on the feverberry trees, unaware of the many eyes and lenses fixated on them - all in awe to be able to witness such a huge animal up close.
The wild dogs decided to spend the whole day resting in the shade of the jackalberry trees outside Tent 2. The baboons were incensed by this and a large male successfully chased the dogs off and sat right on the edge of the shade in victory! Later he became bored and moved off and the dogs returned to the shade. They headed off to the Savute Channel as the sun was setting and, although we were sad to see them go, we were happy to have shared the day with them. However, the following morning they were back in the shade of the same tree.
As the sun begins to set and the air cools, the hippo begin their chorus and the Hartlaub's Babblers quieten. A Pearl-spotted Owlet whistles nearby, the toads' calls ripple across the water and the pink-red-orange light reflects off the lagoon.
Leopards have passed through camp in the night unseen, but their spoor remains in the soft sand pathways, evidence that they investigated our camp. Occasionally, their rough sawing call wakes us and we sit up in bed intent on finding out where it is and what it is up to.
Game sightings away from camp have been wonderful too. We've witnessed the takeover of a cheetah territory near the old camp, with the "old boys" losing out to two, younger newcomers in a dusty battle that left the older two scampering off in different directions. Since then, the younger cheetah have been seen regularly in the area and have killed at least two impala and a reedbuck.
Looking out across the lagoon towards the old camp we remember how excited we were to be building a brand new one. And now, after the sweat and tears of all those involved we can sit and enjoy our new "baby". Thank you to everybody who made this camp the beautiful, peaceful, luxurious place that it is.
-Stuart and Tessa-