During September, we said goodbye to the once-full and deep water channels flowing through Abu Concession and, and welcomed instead the summer temperatures, which can reach around 40+ degrees Celsius during midday. The water will of course return with next year’s Okavango inundation, and for now we are learning that in Nature, every loss is compensated for with a gain – in this case, the concentrations of migrant bird species, elephants, and general game which are drawn to the isolated pools of water which remain. The leaves are falling by the hundreds each day as well, allowing for better visibility through the thick bush and making game easier to spot.
This month was filled with leopard sightings, with five different leopards all seen within a 30-minute drive of Abu Camp. The highlight of the month was the re-appearance of a mother leopard and her one-year-old cub, as they held onto a bushbuck kill in a tree five minutes from Abu Camp.
Lions were seen less frequently in contrast to previous months, but a pride from the western part of the concession has been making its presence known. One of the adult males of the pride is collared, as he is part of a research effort sponsored by the Elephants Without Borders NGO which is based in the Abu Concession.
The birds are beginning to return, with the migratory yellow-billed kites having been spotted in the Concession, adding to the 400+ species of birds normally resident to the area.
Wedding at Abu!
The Abu Herd was honoured to take part in a guest wedding during September and they really seemed to get into the spirit of the day! The groom, Kenny, rode Shireni to the morning wedding ceremony where he met his bride, Lynn, after her ride on matriarch Cathy. Newlywed Abu staff members AKA and Elsie stood in for the family elders (an important role in weddings in Botswana) for the ceremony, and Shireni was even the “best man” to Kenny, handing him the rings at the crucial moment. We were all thrilled to be part of Kenny and Lynn’s beautiful day.
Naledi’s weight is now up to 430 kg! Also, her tusks have just broken through the skin, and they are starting to show if one inspects closely. Sometime soon we are going to have to admit that she is no longer a baby. While she is “tusking” (the elephant equivalent of teething), we are trying to keep our new game drive vehicles away from her as she finds it soothing to rub her mouth against the vehicles. Unfortunately this is not so smoothing for the game viewers’ smart new paint schemes!
Abu in the Press We were thrilled to see that Abu Camp was listed as a 2015 Andrew Harper’s Readers’ Choice Award winner in the Top 20 Safari Lodges and Camps category.
We received this beautiful feedback from some recent guests:
- -We return home with Abu Camp withdrawal pains. It was the most wonderful experience, mainly due to the incredible efforts of Aaron and Jamie Rose. Like conductors of an orchestra, they guided all their gifted musicians to come together, echoing beautiful music in harmony, giving revitalising, relaxing pleasure to all to hear. The attention to detail, the awareness and anticipation of guests' needs and wants was beyond anything we have ever experienced in all our many travels. It was truly a personalised, tailor-made experience. Professional, warm, friendly we started to think Aaron was telepathic and could read our thoughts. So many people there to be grateful to – always a smile, a greeting. We felt welcomed and special – did we die and go to heaven?
- A guide can make or break a trip. With Taps on safari, we saw, we heard, we learned so much. In finding animals, he really is an eagle with eagle eyes and is disguised as a human being.
- Not only were the million-star accommodations beautiful – a home cradled in a forest – but user friendly as well, making it easy and comfortable for us. Abu Camp is very unique in its opportunity for close contact and exposure to the wonderful family of elephants there. And we appreciated meeting those who care for them. Bee, who we feel is an elephant whisperer, accommodated our requests and kindly photographed and captured our treasured special moments with these gentle giants. - Although we always had an appreciation for the elephant, we did fall in love with these magnificent creatures. Animal preservation concerns and interests are really accomplished with the heart.
- We return home delighted, rejuvenated, moved, thought-provoked and grateful – full of wonderful conversations and stories of survival, generosity, love and graciousness that were both human and animal. We carry with us memories of a gastronomical dinner feast by a crackling outdoor fire – giraffe silhouetted against a blazing sunset sky – a last dinner with full moon, hanging lanterns dotting the trees and food – glorious food – delivered by Elsie's gracious hand – and the elephants, the elephants, the elephants.
- This trip was a dream come true. Thank you for making it an inspired, magical journey of mind and heart. We are grateful beyond what words can express.
That’s all for this month, with very best wishes from the Abu herd!