Little Makalolo – June 2014

Jun 30, 2014 Little Makalolo
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Climate and Landscape
As we witness every new sunrise and each vibrant sunset at Little Makalolo, we watch our landscape change, mature and adapt. As our landscape and its vegetation transforms, naked trees stand barren on the horizon, often ornamented with frost as each day’s first light brings new hope for warmth and rejuvenation. Hwange’s plantlife has clearly taken on the battle with the raging winter winds and frosty mornings, yet continues to tell an admirable tale of trial and tribulation. We watch as elephants seem to inhale the last of the brittle and lifeless foliage, leaving a barren and desolate backdrop to an ecosystem that longs for warmth and nourishment. Natural pans lose their last drops of moisture to the thirsty skies which have long since showered down upon us, but amongst the pans and the admirably managed water levels, life is nothing but abundant.

The last few weeks have certainly seen the sharp side of Hwange’s winter, with sub-zero temperatures featuring as early as the middle of June, providing a clear suggestion of what is yet to come. With an average minimum temperature of 7.4° Celsius and a typical maximum of just 26.9°, we are well into enjoying the winter wonderland which, while it nips at our noses and fingertips in the early mornings, makes for cosy and intimate encounters around the blazing fire in front of camp. Winds continue to grow with force and tend to bring about unpredictable bouts of short-lived cold fronts, only to be whipped away into the distance and replaced by a sense of calm and tranquility as Mother Nature licks her wounds under the thunderous cloud cover that provides warmth and shelter. We watch as whirlwinds bustle along the horizon, whipping up the Kalahari sands as they dance and perform under the beating sun, baring parched and dormant soils typical for this time of year.
Little Makalolo has had a very exciting month’s worth of animal sightings, from the small and elusive to the big and bold. Following on last month’s excitement of a rare aardwolf sighting, June did not disappoint with the presence of another seen in the Mbiza region of our concession. What a thrill to come across these special creatures!
 Lions at Little Makalolo A little easier to find have been the lion in and around the area, seemingly back to be being a large and happy pride after some solo time over the last few weeks. With a figure of 97%, the probability of seeing lion within the concession proved promising for our guests this June. And… not only are they back, but so are their appetites! Whilst a dead elephant towards the beginning of the month seemed to be fast food to the average onlooker, it didn’t come without a little hard work and persistence. Lion and hyaena wars were evident from the start, as each fought for priority over the kill. The sighting delivered extravagant spectacles of nature at its finest, magnetically attracting predator and scavenger spoor of all shapes and sizes. Of course, vulture activity was significant too, making for an endless display of mesmerising activity.

Hunger called again in the last week of June, and close to home too as a pride of lion took down a large buffalo within sight of Little Makalolo Camp. Lion roaring and jackal calling was music to our ears for the days that followed, as we watched the carcass slowly diminish with every setting sun.
Hwange’s elephant presence has magnified too as the dry season digs its claws into our parched soils, enticing more and more of these noble and terrestrial wonders to our water’s edge. Their intelligence can only inspire us as they move in from the outskirts of the Park, outpacing the rate at which natural pans continue to dry up. Watching them frolic and splash before indulging in an exfoliating sand bath from our new and improved game viewing hide overlooking the water’s edge has become a productive and popular viewing site for guests and their cameras. What a pleasure! Elephant at Little Makalolo

Topping off the month was the momentous ‘cat trick’ our guests and guides were proud to have accomplished, where in the matter of a day they logged fabulous sightings of lion, cheetah and leopard too – all three of the big cats! Closing the month on such a high note leaves us waiting with bated breath for the excitement and wonder that July will bring.

The wildlife of Little Makalolo

Birds and Birding
We still take great joy in the presence of our resident Meyer’s parrot, whose family has joined him now too. So, with four quirky characters ruling the roost, their synchronised morning calls make for the perfect chime. Another exciting sighting in camp was a juvenile little banded goshawk which wallowed in one of our deeper bird baths, long enough for our guests to marvel at the detail of his feathers and definition of his features. Elsewhere in the concession, sightings of the pied avocet have dominated in the shallow waters of natural pans, providing many a photographic opportunity to capture its long and delicate upturned beak that is not always noticeable from a distance.

Wildlife sighting percentages: Lion 97%, elephant 100%, black-backed jackal 60%, roan antelope33%, spotted hyaena 17%, Cape buffalo 100%, giraffe 87%, wildebeest 87%, sable antelope 70%

Guest Comments
“From the drive in from the airport to throughout the entire time, all expectations were exceeded tremendously!”

“Thank you for an amazing experience. We love your camp, your kindness, hospitality and delicious food.”

“Went above and beyond expectations!”

“Everyone was welcoming and always willing to help you with whatever was needed…”

Staff in Camp
Managers: Themba, Buhle, Charles, Aimee and Jess
Guides: Themba, Robert, Buli, Douglas, Ntando, Brian and Eustace
Waiters: Valani, Tawanda, Jabulani and Pino
Kitchen: Mayisa, Shepard, Innocent, Benedict and Mkhize
Housekeeping: Pagiwa, Artwell, Angel, Ernest and Rambo
Maintenence: Pious, Mpindi, Samson and Bekithemba

Thought  for the Month
“Travel makes one modest; you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
~ Gustave Flaubert ~


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