Davison’s Camp – June 2014

Jun 30, 2014 Davison's Camp
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Climate and Landscape
The grass around Davison’s Camp has now dried out and is a straw-like colour. Most greenery now is provided by the large rosewoods around the camp that shade both the guest tents and the herds of elephant grouping together to escape the hot African sun. These huge evergreen trees also provide shelter and food for roosting birds such as guineafowls and hornbills, and provide a sense of security for our resident troop of baboons. As the grass gets shorter and the bush thins out, it is easier to spot the large herds of elephant coming down to the waterhole for a drink. The reeds in the waterhole have also taken on a brown colour and are not looking as lush as they do in the green season; however they still provide the perfect home for all our non-migrant water birds.

June has been surprisingly warmer than we were expecting, with only a few icy days… and when we say icy, there was literally ice on the main area deck as well as our glass coffee table! That day was our coldest recorded so far at -2° Celsius. Our maximum temperature for June was 27° Celsius at the beginning of the month. The days however are generally very pleasant with an average high of 22° Celsius and an average low of 8° Celsius. The wind has been relatively well-behaved with only a few days where gusts of wind have caught us by surprise. Is the real Hwange winter yet to arrive?

June was our busiest month here at Davison’s, in terms of sightings. The lions have put on a good show on for us throughout the month and there is no sign of them moving away. A mating pair of lions was seen at Little Samavundhla earlier on in the month and again in front of Davison’s Camp later in the month, where both guests and staff got to enjoy this special sighting from the deck of the main area. The mating pair stayed close to camp and was heard throughout the night calling for the rest of their pride.

Lions mating at Davison's Camp in the Hwange National Park

This pride of about 26 lions was also seen feeding on an elephant carcass close to Scott’s Pan. With full bellies, the pride – including cubs – remained in the area for a few days before arriving in front of camp to kill yet again; this time the prey was a buffalo. With the sound of the buffalo herd stampeding, we quickly jumped into the vehicle to go around and watch these extremely large cats feeding on an adult. Knowing that dad eats first, the cubs and females patiently sit waiting until the male has finished before they start to feed.

Cheetah have been seen close to camp and one was sighted by staff as it came cautiously through the grass in front of the main area, making its way to the waterhole where it drank. It did not hang around for long before slinking back into the taller grass and disappearing.

Setting up sundowners for a group of guests turned out to be interesting as we came across two male cheetah that were marking their territory and showing some interest in the waterbuck and impala around the waterhole. Guests were lucky to see these two beautiful cats, before joining us at Makalolo Pan for a drink and some snacks.

The elephant are picking up in numbers, gathering around the waterholes during the heat of the day. They are slowly venturing into camp where there is still some green vegetation – causing occasional traffic jams for camp staff!

An African rock python more than three metres long was seen curled up in the open at Airstrip Two. As a protected species, this size is very rare to see and given the season we are in, it was clear that this reptile was trying to conserve energy and warm up in the winter sun.

Wildlife percentages: Giraffe 97%, lion 80%, sable 60%, buffalo 74%, waterbuck 83%, wildebeest 93%, black-backed jackal 93%, cheetah 13%

Birds and Birding
The water birds that have remained behind here at Davison’s Camp are always a great sighting, from the lone grey heron which quietly makes his way around the waterhole to the noisy Egyptian geese which cause chaos and noise as they chase each other around. Black crakes are also heard in the early mornings and evenings but are hard to spot, having the reeds for protection. A pied avocet was sighted at Madison Pan; this bird is an uncommon resident and found at inland water bodies, making this a very special sighting!

Guests Comments
We could have not asked for a better guide than Livingstone. His kindness and knowledge for the flora and fauna is amazing. I was amazed at how he could tell an animal’s gender, height and age just from a footprint. All of the staff from John, Shayne, Kim, the chef to the server made us feel welcome and at home from the day we stepped off of the jeep on day one to our departure

Seeing lions mating and outside my tent! The game viewing and overall experience was exceptional!

Had a wonderful time! The staff and guides were very professional. Food delicious. What can I say about the safari but fantastic and very educational! Thank you all for a great trip!

Birds and camp news from Davison's Camp in the Hwange National Park

Staff in Camp
Camp Managers: John Russell and Shayne Templer
Assistant Manager: Kimberley White
Trainee Manager: Leonard Mutsvangwa
Pro Guides: Elliot Nobula and NtandoMkwebu
Trainee Guides: Mike Nyoni, Brian Pangidzwa, Livingstone Sana and John Russell
Housekeeping: Nquobile, Solomon, Eddy, Phillip
Kitchen: Bernard, Previledge, Vusa, Kaisa, Omar
Waiters: Snevous, Felix, Announcement, Clever
Maintenance: Lashani, Bhebhe, Kabu, Victor, Cosma, Malaki
Security: Mpande, Charles, Edmore

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