Climate and Landscape
At this time of year the landscapes are uncluttered and it’s easy to view game on the concession; most of the ordeal trees are still shedding leaves while the peeling-bark ochna (also known as peeling-bark plane) trees are starting to leaf, creating a fascinating contrast in the same area. Along the roads and animal trails carpets of leaves are trapped in these corridors as the wind cannot blow them off the narrow paths. Shade is now scarce for the elephants as most of the big trees are still bare – other than the rosewoods which still have their green canopies and most animals will use them for refuge during the heat of the day.
There is still good graze for the animals although it is very dry; most of the wildlife is in good condition with enough water for them to drink. 2017 has been a very interesting year as there is still water in the natural pans. Usually at this time of year animals rely solely on the pumped pans. Ngamo Plains, which usually resembles a desert by now, is telling a different story this year. It’s still a haven for plains game with couch grass in abundance; the whirlwinds and dust experienced in previous years in the Plains might be history this season.
Mornings are still chilly and two layers are common among guests. However, the nights in Hwange are very comfortable despite the blazing midday sun.
This month our highest temperature was 39° Celsius with a minimum of 13° C.
Such interesting lion dynamics in the area. The Stumpy Pride had completely left the park for nearly a month, so long in fact that we suspected they had become nomadic. Our major worry was human-wildlife conflict as they strayed all the way to the villages. Cats usually revert to cattle when they move out of the park; we thought the big pride was going to be killed in a battle but luckily they are back. Stumpy’s sub-adults and cubs are looking good and the young males’ manes are starting to show.
In the Mbiza area there is a single female leading tiny cubs. For some time we were confused thinking that the pride was back, so it will be interesting to see how they will interact. At Ngamo the cubs are growing well, though they have lost one of the bigger cubs.
This month guests had great sightings of wild dogs. For some days they were seen around Davison’s Camp and guests saw them in the mornings coming to drink in front of the pan, and sometimes hunting and killing impala and duiker. Two different packs were seen, leading puppies of 12 and nine. Most exciting of all was to see the pack feeding their pups.
The family of five cheetah has finally separated and nobody has seen the mother since the day they parted. It’s very possible that she might come back to the area to give birth again because of the abundance of prey. Meanwhile her sub-adult offspring are roaming the concession. Guests were very lucky on one of their game drives when they witnessed an impala kill. They seem a formidable team and are very comfortable with their skills and the technique of killing their prey.
The plains game population is improving around the waterhole and in the plains. Eland have already started dropping their young and other antelope are slowly joining too. With the abundance of grass, the buffalo are looking healthy and this year the dry season won’t have a negative effect on these animals compared with previous years.
“The staff was great, guides were fun and professional. So many animals.”
“Staff and guides were exceptional. Clean rooms, common area. Guides were the best.”
“The staff was so much fun and full of energy, just adorable”
Staff in Camp
Camp Managers: Themba and Bee Sibanda
Assistant Manager: Marvelous and Tinashe
Guides: Themba, Tsoka Mike, Richard, Paul and Douglas