Weather and Landscape
We are slowly starting to feel comfortable again with the temperatures in the mornings and only one or two layers can make it all the way through the day. This is the time of year when you can be sure of winds and dust when out on safari. We still barely see clouds, but rather one can see a slight haze in the sky from the fires that are going on in neighboring Namibia where wild fires have been taking place along the Caprivi Strip. This haze makes for the most beautiful sunsets.
The jackal berry trees that have been attracting elephants into the camp now have little or no fruit left and therefore very few elephants have ventured this way. Even our resident elephant that has been keeping everyone on their toes is absent at times. Driving along the Linyanti Swamps you can see herds of elephants coming down to drink. When flying in or driving through the mopane woodland you can see big grey movements through the scrub as they move in their big numbers. The sunken hide is the best place to see elephants coming down to drink and getting close to them; a wonderful feeling.
Kings Pool is one of the few places where one can see a big coalition of male lions. These five males continue to rule the area save for the very few females they encounter around their territory. It’s good to see these males moving together as a group unlike before when they often separated.
There is one female leopard that we see in the area quite often. This female has had two cubs before who separated from her at a very early age. They were as young as 12 to 14 months which is most unusual seeing as most cubs only leave their mothers at around 24 months. At the beginning of this month we saw her with a very young cub that was less than two months old so this is her second litter. Occasionally she meets up with her first offspring and she shows aggression towards them.
This month has been filled with surprises; some female African wild dogs would sometimes leave their natal group to join another pack for a chance of dominance. The two packs we have had here have finally joined together but with two dogs missing - the pregnant female and a male from the previous pack of six. Now as a pack of eight, these dogs hang around Kings Pool Camp, unperturbed by the human presence, chasing resident impalas around. Every now and then some of the impalas go swimming unintentionally and get taken by crocodiles trying to swim back to shore.
A lot of natural waterholes are drying up and roan antelopes are forced to go to the permanent swamps for a drink. One often sees a solitary bull or a few groups moving together.
Birds and Birding
With the winter season almost over, a lot of summer migrants are starting to show up in the area. The southern carmine bee-eaters are back and it looks like they will be using the same breeding site which they have used for four years in a row. Last year they lost most of their chicks due to the heavy rains that occurred and nesting on the flat ground the water accumulates easily.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Jacques Le Roux, Michelle Koen, Rikki Lotter, Frank Maule and Kemmonye Wright.
Guides: Lemme Dintwa, Khan Gouwe and Ndebo Tongwane
Newsletter and pictures by Lemme Dintwa