Saturday the 15th April marked two weeks since we opened our camp doors for the new season at Ruckomechi Camp. Assistant Manager Edmond Mudzimu elaborates on a busy and highly productive first fortnight…
The camp opened with much pomp and ceremony as always and has been a hive of activity as we welcomed our guests to Mana Pools; a Mana Pools that’s changed considerably in vegetation and beauty since the end of last season. The water levels are much higher than normal and the air is fresh, the skies are particularly beautiful and the stars forever magnificent.
Parachute Pan has filled up with water and so nights at the platform have yielded lots of events and stories from guests who have chosen to sleep out under the stars. Hippo have taken refuge nearby and, as we know, baboons and impala are always around, so this has brought nocturnal predators into the spot, resulting in a nightly commotion as leopards hunt and kill the primates. The Star Bed platform has been booked on a daily basis and has left our guests in awe and wanting more.
Photograph by Honest Siyawareva
Lions have been on our sightings list daily too and we hear them calling every night. They have been spotted along the ridge and also at Croc Pools and Golf Course. Elephant and more elephant are seen daily either in camp or on drives.
The river has yielded much in terms of fishing, though it’s not even at its best yet as the water is a bit cool. That said it has not dissuaded the keen fishermen, many of whom have not even considered a siesta, as the urge to keep casting persists. Tributaries and rivers that flow into the Zambezi River have pushed down some murky water and debris so the colour of our water has been a bit brownish making it difficult for tiger, though catfish and chessa have been landed.
Surprise, surprise! Eurasian bee-eaters have been spotted – as were a few carmine bee-eaters which we thought by now should have been long gone after hatching their chicks and raising them in time for their round trip across southern Africa. This cycle will eventually bring the young birds back to the area of their birth. Returning to our banks as adults they will start the same process of building nests and courtship to lay eggs and hatch and so continue the cycle.
Photograph by Honest Siyawareva
Steppe eagles have been seen as well as the resident African fish-eagles. A kilometre upstream from camp is a small island filled with reeds that is home to darters, cormorants and herons of all types. The floodplains have also been teeming with life as storks, ducks and geese are seen aplenty. We have also spotted dwarf bitterns, thick-knees and many lapwings. The elephants have also found the floodplains a lovely haven as they seek food and drink at the same spots with many opportunities to bathe and wallow too.
Photograph by Nyenge Kazingizi
Guests have been landing at an airstrip which is about an hour from Ruckomechi. From here they cruise along the Zambezi River into camp. It has been a great experience as immediately after a flight they are on to an activity that is consistently exceptional, with elephant seen swimming and many pods of hippo dotted along the edges of the river at different spots. ‘Monster’ crocodiles basking in the sun on the edges of the river are also seen.
We have spoiled our guests with some special ‘wow’ sundowner moments at our very popular Green Carpet, Northern Island and Nyakasanga Mouth spots. Our honeymoon couple in camp could not stop talking about their romantic dinner at the pool – which has made us all feel proud to be part of this amazing camp. We look forward to more jaw-dropping moments as we endeavour to change lives and surpass the expectations of our guests.
Written by Edmond Mudzimu, Assistant Manager at Ruckomechi Camp