Jacana Camp - February 2014

Feb 28, 2014 Jacana Camp
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Weather and Landscape
The weather for this month has been great with beautiful sunny days and refreshingly cool evenings, not forgetting the sporadic but brilliant lightning and thunderstorms in the late afternoons and at night. The rain amounted to less than half that of January and yet we are experiencing the first push of the inundation. The last two weeks of February brought in a noticeable amount of water and we have begun measuring the daily rate at which the water is rising. It is coming up by an amazing 2 cm per day, which for us all is very exhilarating. Considering the vast area that the water has to cover, it is simply staggering.

Our guests have been stunned at the marvellous sunrises and sunsets and on the clear nights, awed by the stars and the clarity with which we can see them out here.
Now that the rains have slowed, we are starting to have more regular visits from the solitary bull elephants. We believe in the months to come we shall see the return of the matriarch-led herds with their young ones ready to explore the ever-shrinking islands as the water rises. Our resident hippo, Harry, is still on the island most evenings and although he likes to graze in private, we can always hear him. What a joy for Laura and me as we excitedly track his footprints to discover where on the island he has chosen to graze for that evening, footprints that prove he might also be practicing his dancing around the boma.

The guides, with their keen eyesight and experience, have shown a few of our luckier guests the elusive and shy sitatunga – a very special sight indeed. Other sightings included large numbers of red lechwe, crocodile, tsessebe, common reedbuck, lion, steenbok, impala, spotted hyaena, baboon, vervet monkey, banded mongoose and pods of hippo avoiding the sun in their favourite pools. Laura and I are the only ones to have seen the incredibly shy small spotted genet that lives on the island; this is probably because he only comes out late at night and doesn’t appreciate anyone “blowing his cover” as he stealthily hunts small birds and insects.

Birds and Birding
The birdlife here at Jacana is something special and our guests always leave having seen some exciting and rare birds. Sightings of the elusive Pel’s fishing-owl are routine here with two breeding pairs living on islands relatively close to camp, making the mokoro activity that much more unforgettable. A graceful pair of wattled cranes is seen almost every day outside Tent 1, a special treat for our engagement couple as it added to the romantic atmosphere of their stay with us.

Given the aquatic experience out here, all the water-based birds have been showing themselves, and in impressive numbers. White-backed duck, pygmy geese, white-faced duck, spur-winged geese, African jacana and lesser jacana are just a few of the thriving species in this amazing water wonderland. Being the season for it, fledglings of all breeds are seen in their first moments out of the nest, nervously ready to take on the environment in which they live.

Activities in Camp
February was a very eventful month as we filled up with guests seeking to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of our lovely water-based camp. The people we have seen are from all over the world, dedicated travellers to say the least. We are very privileged to expose our worldly guests to our private little island of paradise strategically placed in the most beautiful section of the Okavango Delta. Boat and mokoro activities are the most treasured experiences that we can give our guests. We aim to emphasise the serenity of Jacana, allowing them to indulge in the traditional ways of the Motswana who were born and raised in the Delta. The feedback from our guests has been amazing, our friendly and inviting staff welcoming the guests warmly, ensuring they thoroughly enjoy participating in the staff’s cultural traditions.

Monday nights (‘traditional’ night) in the bush are what city folks could compare to their Friday nights. The enthusiastic singing and dancing spurs us all on to stand up and join them in their wonderful African rhythm!

“Almost makes me wish every day was Monday!”
- Mike, South Africa

The staff created two new songs for a lovely couple, Max and Fiona, who chose to get engaged at one of our fantastic sunset spots. This particular engagement was a highlight for us, as we spent several days preparing and planning this special moment for them. With such a supportive team behind us, we pondered several different options for Max. We decided to set up on a beautiful little island with an 800-year-old baobab tree (known as The Three Sisters) which created the perfect romantic sunset scene for their special moment. The layout was rustically stunning with a picnic blanket, pillows, champagne, snacks, Tiki torches, and a mokoro filled with water lilies, and floating candles. The exclusivity of the island meant we could only get there by mokoro so we had all our polers involved to ferry the equipment out to the island. After they arrived at the island, Laura popped the champagne and handed it over to Max, who could then “pop the question”!

“Obviously this is a once in a life time event and I could not have thought about a better location, setup, team and atmosphere. The team deserves to receive the title as the best "proposal" planners in the world! It was simply the best preparation and execution that any couple could dream of. There was absolutely no chance that Fiona could have said no given this impeccable setup…

Again, THANK YOU deeply from my heart for being a part of this wonderful mission and for helping a very happy couple on their way to getting married. I will never forget this day and your help.”
- Max, Germany

Guest Comments
“Seeing the lion and her cubs but just being on the water and the whole experience is fantastic. Best of all was the charming staff, all were very friendly. Travis and Laura were extremely effective, welcoming and unassuming. A very nice couple who are Jacana’s best asset.”
- Mike and Victoria

“Delighted to recommend Jacana to anyone. We thank Laura and Travis, you are so welcoming and friendly and you have a fantastic team of helpers here, we have a great impression of the people of Botswana and their wonderful countryside. Not to mention the lovely food! Hope to come back and see Harry again one day!”
- Jo and Graham

“The water-based location, warmth of the staff, food etc. the rooms and common spaces were very comfortable. Our guide Moruti, was extremely knowledgeable and taught us many new things. Everything was great. Thank you!”
- Stacey and John

“Absolutely amazing and personalised attention. Some incredible ability to identify special services/ treats for each individual client. Thanks Laura and Travis!! A lovely, peaceful setting and gorgeous facilities. An unbeatable guide, Kambango was knowledgeable and passionate. Keep doing what you are doing, you can’t go wrong! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you……”
- Bruce and Susan

Staff in Camp
Managers: Travis Aherin and Laura Provost
Guides: Tshenelo Mahongo (AKA, TH), Kambango Sinimbo, and Moruti Maipelo


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