Climate and Landscape
If February could be summed up in one word, it would simply be – wet! 423 mm of rain fell during the month at Linkwasha, transforming the wilted vleis into swamplands, and the roads into rivers, awash with red-billed teals and terrapins. Everywhere we went, the ground was completely submerged, with some of the areas more suited to a mokoro than a Hilux. While the water flowed abundantly, however, so too did the wildlife.
The Ngamo Pride of lions seems well-established, and the seven cubs are bigger and healthier each time they are seen. One of the cubs was injured during the month, and the prospects of it surviving seemed very slim. It’s now a few weeks later and the cub is still recovering, and managing to keep up with the pride in spite of its limp. Wildebeest and zebra dominate these plains, and with many of them accompanied by their young, there have been endless opportunities for the lions to capitalise on.
Closer to camp, three females have been regularly spotted, raising suspicions that they are currently nursing some new cubs. Another all-female pride has slowly been making its way into the area, though they are careful to avoid meeting the other lions. They managed to take down a giraffe in the forest close to the Wexcau anti-poaching camp, which meant they settled there for a few days before moving off again.
The cheetah were frequently sighted as well, often around camp. On one afternoon, as the coalition pair relaxed in the grass next to the pan in front of camp, they were disturbed by a baboon. They were quite slow to react though, and in an instant the baboon was upon them. With expert agility, they managed to leap away from his outstretched arms and out of reach of his deadly fangs – a very lucky escape.
The rain has brought with it a number of other interesting critters to enjoy. The insects after the storms come in many shapes and sizes. One example is the giant acacia click beetle, which at 8 cm long, is bigger and more intimidating than most others. When on their backs, they produce a violent click which springs them into the air and back onto their feet in quite an acrobatic display.
In another amazing display of fascinating green season behaviour, a spider-hunting wasp was seen in action. Using its venomous sting to paralyse, it was seen dragging a baboon spider to a safe place where it will lay its egg in the (still living) abdomen of the spider so the larva can feed.
Birds and Birding
While the wildlife sightings were good in February, the birding was incredible. Thousands of white storks circled the sky above camp, before each and every downpour, finding a place to settle for the storm, and afterwards, a place to feed on the alates and frogs that emerge. A similar feeding frenzy involved the carmine and European bee-eaters, hawking small insects from the sky, while Hottentot teals, whistling ducks, and even southern pochard were seen around all the water sources.
“Top notch, in every imaginable way!”
“Amazing. Beautiful. Friendly. An experience of a lifetime.”
Staff in Camp
Camp Managers: Jeremy Claringbold and Joe Hanly
Managers: Yeukai Chihambakwe, Avias Ncube and Bridget Mack
Pro Guides: Joshua Magaya and Tendayi Ketayi
Learner Guides: Livingstone Sana, Eustace Mativire, Lovemore Nauwakhe and Edison Chikukwa