Climate and Landscape
March marked the end of the rainy season in Hwange National Park. With a total of just under 670 mm from October 2016 to date, we cannot complain as most of the natural waterholes that are not pumped are still full to the brim. This suggests that that there should be plenty of water for the animals throughout the dry season and will help ease some pressure on the pumped waterholes.
The grass is starting to change colour from lush green to golden brown and the trees are showing signs of shedding their leaves as the soils start to dry up and winter slowly creeps up on us. As we moved into the last week of March there was a noticeable drop in temperature in the evenings and early hours of the morning which could suggest that we are in for a cold winter – bring out the jackets!
As availability of food is one of the factors that determine the movement of animals, we have observed that a lot of the game has concentrated in areas where there are short grasses like couch grass, one of the favourites of the grazers. As a result, large herds of wildebeest, zebra and eland dot these large open areas, predominantly on Ngamo Plains.
March was also a month of great lion and cheetah sightings. At Ngamo Plains one morning, an amazing sighting was witnessed as a territorial male lion chased and attempted to catch one of the members of a family of cheetah. His efforts were fruitless however as the cheetah put his fleet-footed elegance into play, tiring the lion in a short period of time.
As if this was not enough, on the afternoon of the same day, the family of cheetah became the focus of a troop of baboons who wanted to chase the family from the area. What came next was a game of cat (baboons) and mouse (cheetahs) as the baboons tirelessly chased the family for a fair distance across the plains. After escaping this ordeal the cheetah moved off to an area of Ngamo where they could rest without being disturbed. All while this was happening large herds of plains game, which were grazing at a safe distance, occasionally lifted their heads to see what was going on around them. This was surely a sorry day for the family of cheetah, but for our guests it was the total opposite and would be a day that they would most likely never forget. It was a day of “National Geographic” moments happening right in front of their eyes, truly incredible.
On another occasion a pack of seven wild dogs was seen scouting around Scott’s Pan. At first it was assumed they might possibly be hunting but before long they started to call. It turned out that the pack had split as for the next hour they continuously called each other until they had once again reunited to a pack of nine. They did not venture far from the Pan and as darkness engulfed what little light was left there was the unmistaken call of a hyaena as well. The silence of the night was broken shortly after by the shriek of the hyaena as the pack of nine wild dogs started to attack the intruder hyaena. It did not take long before the hyaena, knowing he was outnumbered and unwelcome took flight into the safety of the thickets, yelping as he ran. The wild dogs then proceeded on their mission, disappearing out of sight.
Birds and Birding
We also say goodbye to some of the Palearctic migrant birds as the time has come for them to head back to their breeding grounds. As the birds circle above, it is as if they are telling us “goodbye and we will see you again soon,” a phenomenal sight in itself.
“Just wonderful, nothing more to say.”
“We loved finishing our beautiful safari in such a special place.”
“Hidden gem”, loved our stay. Thank you Linkwasha.”
Staff in Camp
Camp Managers: Jeremy Claringbould, Joe Hanly Assistant Managers: Avias Ncube, Cynthia Ndiweni, Yeukai Chihambakwe Trainee Manager: Bridget Mack Pro Guides: Joshua Magaya, Learner Guides: Livingstone Sana, Eustace Mativire, Lovemore Nowhake