Climate and Landscape
Winter is here and we are smack bang in the middle of it. It’s been a very different kind of winter I must say, very inconsistent, with some very cold days as well as some very warm ones. Seems to me that climate change is a definite reality.
The minimum temperature went down to 3° Celsius – now, as a guest, imagine waking up to these temperatures and having to go out on a boat or an open game viewer at 6am, and then finding a hot water bottle on your seat. It’s like striking gold. Guests were bouncing up and down on their seats with excitement, what a pleasure to see that something so simple could completely change a morning and the activity. Winter days in Botswana change very quickly from cold to hot though, and in a matter of a couple of hours temperatures reach 29° C by midday and it feels like a mild summer’s day.
The water’s peak has long gone, it passed in May, and we are seeing a notable drop in levels. A sure sign of this is moving of our mekoro from the sleep-out hide to another location as the hide area has become too shallow for poling. The guides are starting to get excited that the roads which were closed due to the inundation are soon to be reopened.
The highlight of the month was an amazing encounter between a young leopard and a porcupine, recounted here by MD…
“Is this possible?” was the question going around the game viewer at this amazing sighting. An hour and a half later the young leopard was still at it – it was non-stop action and we couldn’t take our eyes off them for a second as we could only imagine what a crazy task this youngster was attempting.
The leopard was trying to get its body as flat on the ground as possible, while twisting its face as if looking under the porcupine’s body where there were no quills. It was trying to flip the porcupine over with its paws to get to its soft underbelly. The young cat went on and on, eventually taking a break to climb up a nearby marula tree and pull some of the sharp quills out of its paws and brush off others that were quite deeply embedded in its face.
One of the families really got into it, making a gamble out of the outcome. “Can’t be possible,” was muttered around the vehicle. Eventually guests who put their money on the leopard had a bit of extra money in their pockets after the drive!
Yes, this youngster pulled off what was considered to be a completely unrealistic mission of stunning the porcupine, getting underneath it and managing to get it by the throat. The guides themselves admitted that they are unlikely to see such a sighting again in their lifetimes and had never seen such a battle between predator and prey.
The family that was with us was on safari in Africa for the first time – however, their grandmother, who had sponsored the trip, has been a regular visitor to Africa over the last 17 years. She suggested that her grandchildren didn’t deserve to see such an amazing sighting on their very first visit as she had taken 17 years to catch the battle of the quills – and she thought she had seen it all!
We had an amazing month with many families coming in and spending three to four nights at Jao; this allowed them to fit in all our activities and even spend some time in the camp in the afternoon and enjoy the Jao sunsets.
Mokoro trips were amazing as we have moved the activity to the Jao floodplains where the frogs and birds were spectacular, not to mention the sunsets.
We also managed to get several bush brunches in while every second day we set up a WOW to create wonderful surprises for our guests – out in the bush and in camp.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Peter Moutloatse, Faith Moutloatse, Jacques Bester, Nadia Botha, Mompoloki Lookie Saakane, Marina Juma
Guides: Mojakwe Tembwe, George Buyisani, Moengotsile Malebogo, Tjandapiwa Lesifi