Climate and Landscape
We recorded a maximum of 43° Celsius and a minimum of 19° C at Jao this month, and there were one or two electrical storms, with some impressive and powerful lightning shows. Rainfall for the month was 39 mm. The days were hot and slightly breezy, with a touch of humidity.
Things cooled down a little after some hard rain left us with soft, misty mornings. Sunsets in the Delta are still some of the most beautiful in the world – truly quite painterly.
Although it is very dry for this time of year, green grass covers the land where water flowed not long ago, and here and there are waterholes with water lilies in full bloom.
The water levels are very low at the moment and we are seeing red lechwe around on the floodplains and in front of camp in great numbers. Our guests were incredibly lucky to see wild dogs in action, taking down a lechwe right in front of Jao.
Sightings of hyaena and leopard were observed in camp where the hyaena were thoroughly entertaining by chasing after the impala and red lechwe. An elusive African civet was also seen, and to top it off, one of its litter was also spotted in camp close to one of the guest rooms.
With the break of dawn elephants big and small head off on their daily mission to only they know where – what a magical sighting as they are lit up by the day’s first soft rays of sunlight.
Our resident camp buffalo is still grazing in and around camp and was regularly found snoring away close to the raised walkways or making an appearance during dinner.
Birds and Birding
As far as bird sightings go, we have been seeing an impressive array of raptors in and around camp. This is probably due to the presence of the flying ants that came out to breed after the first heavy rains, bringing small mammals and many raptors to feed on them.
We also spotted a juvenile Pel’s fishing-owl calling every so often for mom and dad.
It’s the season to be jolly! Most of our guests enjoy a ‘white’ Christmas, but here at Jao we celebrated a lovely summery Christmas Day with our guests, setting up beautifully decorated tables with white tablecloths, tinsel, baubles and candles – of course, a Christmas table would not the same without the crackers.
Santa Claus also made his way to Jao and delivered a special gift, neatly wrapped, for each of our guests, placing them on each person’s pillow.
Staff in Camp
Managers: David Dodson, Michelle Burger, Charl Berg, Okker Stoltz, Vivian Beukes, Marina Lunga and Margaret Matlapeng
Professional guides: MD, Tjandapiwa Lesife, Paul Moleseng, Meshack Mbwe and Johnny Mawanji