After the expected but still radical transformation that occurs with the arrival each year of the Okavango inundation, water levels across the Abu Concession have pretty much reached their peak. Although they will slowly begin to subside over the next few weeks and months, conditions won’t change significantly now for the rest of the southern hemisphere winter.
Which is not at all the same as saying that nothing is happening – far from it! Many of our game drive roads have become streams, and the Abu Lagoon has spilled over into the surrounding floodplains, creating a water wonderland for species that rely on aquatic habitats for feeding and safety.
The elephants, naturally, are delighted, but they are not the only ones. For some time now, water levels have been high enough to permit boating and mokoro activities. While we have lost some marginal game drive areas, the relaunch of our water activities has more than made up for it.
A mokoro excursion is perhaps the quintessential Okavango Delta experience: gliding silently through the golden grasses, looking out for African jacanas seemingly walking on water, and brightly-coloured painted reed frogs clinging to the long reeds.
A unique feature of mokoro activities at Abu Camp is the presence of the Abu Herd. Judging from their vocalisations and energetic play behaviour, it seems that the elephants really enjoy accompanying the polers and our guests through the shallows. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise: two of their favourite things (food and water) are present in abundance.
We’ve also recently expanded our guest activity offering to include more guided walking safaris. The Abu Camp guides recently brushed up on their tracking skills with a walking course at the renowned Okavango Guiding School, and are now able to give our guests a completely new perspective on the Delta.
Someone once said that if a game drive is like watching a movie, then a walking safari is like reading the book – and believe us, when it comes to bush knowledge, the Abu Camp guides are very well-read indeed.
Several recent sightings of wild dogs in the Concession have been among the most exciting moments on game drives during June, and photographers have been revelling in the opportunities presented by splashes and reflections as hunter and hunted have made their way into – and sometimes through – the water.
Two of the biggest current news stories from Abu Camp are still firmly in ‘watch this space’ territory. You didn’t hear it from us, but preliminary work has begun on our new sleep-out hide. We’ll keep you posted. Likewise with Lorato’s pregnancy… all the signs are there, and our elephant handlers are unanimous in their verdict that she is indeed expecting, after several mating episodes with wild bull elephants.
The only question is when… The smart money is on early 2018, but this is not the sort of thing you can rush. After all, the bush moves to a different beat to the city (and thank goodness for that). We have, however, told the construction crew that we’d like the new hide to be ready before Lorato’s calf is born!
As we said, watch this space. And with views this beautiful, that’s no hardship!