Climate and Landscape
The bush has been rapidly drying out around Davison’s Camp throughout the month of July – the sandy patches on the edges of the waterholes are expanding as the steady trickle of animals increases to the pumped pans because the natural ones are now all but muddy wallows. Many of the trees have crisp, pale brown leaves, having been burnt by frost in June, and as more elephants converge from drier parts of Hwange, the smaller bushes of duiker berries and combretum are looking slightly the worse for wear with branches missing and having been robbed of any leaves that actually survived the cold spell. The teak trees are dropping their pods now, with cracks and snaps as they spread their seeds, the false mopane’s bright red seeds neatly eaten by the hornbills, and the Meyer’s parrots making an absolute racket on our new roof as they casually nibble on and drop them everywhere.
July has seen a handful of really chilly nights, our minimum being 4⁰ Celsius, while towards the end of the month the August wind seemed to be itching to start with the last few days being very gusty and dusty. The midday temperatures have been lovely and warm – an average of 24⁰ and a few enthusiastic guests have even braved the camp pool, albeit briefly! The clear, bright blue winter skies are slowly becoming more milky and hazy as it becomes dustier and faraway fires add a grey smoky hue to the horizon. The cloud cover also built up at the beginning and then again towards the end of the month, which did warm up the evenings marginally as some of the day’s heat was retained. The tiniest of drizzles one evening had us all confused, as well as the frogs in the pans as they all started their croaking… and have kept up the chorus ever since!
We’ve been very fortunate with sightings at Davison’s Camp this month – the number of sable herds and lone bulls coming to drink from our pan has been phenomenal. The largest was a herd of 21, their ink-black coats a stark contrast against the honey-coloured grass. We have also had a very shy young eland bull inhabiting the teak and false mopane woodlands around camp, ambling down to the waterhole to drink in the late evenings. Our resident herd of zebra enjoyed some respite from the lions as the pride moved off to the Makalolo Concession, so the dazzle could be seen grazing peacefully in front of camp most days. Only one or two of the bigger herds of buffalo have come and gone in a cloud of dust, but we’ve had a surprising number of giraffe gracing us with their presence at the waterhole while the elephants came in their droves. One night drive the highlight was definitely an elusive little serval hunting along our vlei line.
More uncommon sightings were a leopard with her cub, an aardwolf, a puff adder as well as a honey badger. One of our staff members was lucky enough to come across a leopard with a perfect miniature version of herself as he drove between camps one night, while the aardwolf was seen by guests on an evening drive in to camp. These shy and nocturnal creatures are often not even on guests’ “shopping lists” of animals that they would like to see, so when their rarity is explained it’s exciting for everyone! The exquisitely-patterned puff adder was seen safely curled up under a log and the honey badger was spotted sauntering down the sandy road one early morning; he kept indignantly looking over his shoulder at the vehicle following slowly behind him until he shuffled off into thicker bush.
The lions have again been dominating the cat sightings – there are five cubs still with the pride and when they have been seen, have been looking well fed and growing quickly. The pride as a whole seems to be more successful on their hunts although when an elephant died of natural causes, they had no problem adopting the scavenger status feeding off the carcass. By contrast, some guests had the absolutely incredible experience of witnessing a buffalo which had been harassed by a group of hyaena, finally exhausted, being brought down by one hyaena on its own – and they caught this all on video!
Staff in Camp
Camp Managers: John Russell, Shayne Templer
Assistant Manager: Kimberley White
Trainee Manager: Leonard Mutsvangwa
Pro Guides: Elliot Nobula, Ntando Mkwebu
Learner Guides: Mike Nyoni, Brian Pangidzwa, Livingstone Sana, John Russell
Housekeeping: Nqobile, Solomon, Eddy, Phillip
Kitchen: Bernard, Previledge, Vusa, Kaisa, Omar
Waiters: Snevous, Felix, Announcement, Clever
Security: Mpande, Charles, Edmore
Maintenance: Lashani, Bhebhe, Kabu, Victor, Cosma, Malaki