Jao Camp - May 2013

May 14, 2013 Jao Camp
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Weather and Landscape
It seems as if winter is sneaking up on us in May as temperatures have dropped in the mornings and have constantly stayed lower at between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius. There are visions of slight low mist early in the mornings, which clears up when the sun shows its full glory as temperatures still hike up to plus 25 to 30 degrees Celsius.

The water levels have dropped a little this month, but the myriad waterways are still providing a pleasant habitat for the aquatic antelope that thrive in this area.

Jao seems to have some new personalities this month as we have had some very interesting visitors lately. One of our guides accompanied by some guests had a sighting of two male lions, known as Salt and Pepper, on Hunda Island mating with a local Jao lioness. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a new pride and the next chapter of many stories of the bloodline to come.

In attendance, there is a genet that still makes its presence known although it has been quite elusive this month. A young crocodile, which has become known as ‘Shoes,’ has taken up residence in a small pool behind the camp workshop – perhaps a safe place to grow a little bigger. Many crocodiles have been seen in the larger waterways while out on activity.

Vervet monkeys and baboons have been seen regularly around the camp area and as usual they have been up to mischief. Moruti, the resident civet, has become quite fond of Alejandra, one of the camp managers. This civet has been seen following her a number of times while she walked back to her room after dinner. On this token, a set of female leopard tracks have popped up around camp every now and then, reminding all that we are living amongst the full spectrum of African wildlife.

On one occasion we found a leopard not too far from camp, feeding on an impala carcass up in a sycamore fig. One of the many highlights for the month was the sighting of a couple of Cape clawless otters which were playing and fishing in front of the jetty and main area.

Hippo have been very active in the area both during the day and night, when they leave the security and comfort of the water to graze on grass. Quite often these bulk grazers would be heard more often than seen. We had a clear sighting of a mother and calf which is always quite exceptional, especially as the small family exited the water in good view of everyone around.

Large herds of elephant have been seen, especially around the airstrip area and in close proximity to the camp area. Many of the herds have new additions too as we have seen some tiny babies.

As for the resident hyaena clan, they are still around all over the place and up to their old tricks - just trying to find an opportunity where they can cause trouble. They gave our food and beverage manager, Charl, a big unexpected fright when he walked around the back of house not so long ago and came across two of them. They have even been sighted sleeping between Tents 6 and 7.

Antelope sightings have been pretty good with large herds of lechwe and impala leaping through the floodplains in front of camp. A sitatunga was also sighted from Tent 3 - always a real treat to see.

If you were wondering what happened to our “mafia-mongoose” family they are also still around, multiplying in quantities and making their little growling sounds all over the place - on the trot here and there.

The guests have been raving about all the different sights they've seen between bush brunch and bush dinner, including a lot of our other activities with marvellous sightings like leopard, giraffe, warthog, zebra and many others. Everyone had their own story about their special moment and surely some were not even mentioned, as it was a very exquisite and busy month, packed with fun.

Birds and Birding
The spurwing geese are flocking in huge assemblies close to the water sections next to the main camp road accompanied by a few other bird species for all the bird lovers.

Guests have been talking about a Pel’s fishing-owl close to Jacana Camp, sometimes seen on one of our expeditions. But then another Pel’s fishing-owl was seen making a spectacular catch, seizing a catfish close to our main camp area right here in Jao Camp later in May.

A hostile osprey attempting to kill a white-face duck - what a sighting! A very rare and an amazing glimpse of a purple gallinule was had on the way to Hunda Island as we were preparing for a bush brunch. What about a martial eagle killing a steenbok? Well, that was just another special occurrence that was recorded this month between the other 400 additional species of birdlife in the Okavango Delta.

Camp Activities
Our team offers great locations for tranquil sundowners, bush brunches, high tea and fine dining with the Delta at your doorstep overlooking the floodplains.

The rhythm of our boma nights and blazing camp fires combined with singing and dancing will get you into the African spirit.

Sala sleep-outs for the more adventurous have also been very popular amongst guests.

Staff in Camp
Managers: William Whiteman, Angie Whiteman, Barend Vorster, Alejandra Pablo Roa, Cindy Swart, Charl Bergh, Philli Ngisi and Marina Lunga.
Guides: Alberto Munduu, Johnny Mowanji, Bee Makgetho, Cruise Mollowakgotto, July Mogomotsi and Rasta Taetso.


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