Little Ongava - November 2010

Dec 1, 2010 Little Ongava
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Weather and Landscape
Finally the rain reason is upon us. We received the first few drops in mid-November and since then it has been raining almost every night. Much to the delight of the guests we are receiving soft showers rather than thunder and lightning which would keep them awake at night. While the overcast and rainy weather is keeping the area a little cooler, we are still experiencing muggy days.

As one can only imagine, the rain has brought about huge relief for our wildlife at Little Ongava. This means plenty of food and water and that distances between waterholes and grazing lands shrink substantially. If the rain continues as it has, within a few weeks we will be transformed into a green paradise. Currently only the deciduous trees have green leaves, such as the shepherd's tree, a few species of acacia and the mopane as it has a deep root system to reach the ground water. These are the only source of food for browsing animals during the dry season when most of the trees have shed their leaves.

The rain has also brought with it the emperor moth, also known as the mopane worm. These young moths have been spotted hovering above lights at night. The female adult mopane moth lays its eggs on the leaves of the mopane tree, on which the larvae hatches and the worms feed on. The mopane worm is harvested during the rainy season by the local people and eaten as a scrumptious delicacy - a great source of protein!

Wildlife Sightings
Game viewing for this month has been great in both the Ongava Game Reserve and Etosha National Park. During late mornings and late afternoons the waterholes are occupied by various species of game all congregating to quench their thirst. This month there have been sightings of the largest antelope, the eland, to the smallest, the Damara dik-dik; the latter is rare to see on our side of the reserve. Lion, black and white rhino did not disappoint our guests this month as they were seen on a regular basis.
However, what we interpret to be our best sighting this month were three cheetah brothers, spotted in the open plains. The guests had a chance to spend time with these spectacular, lithe cats. We have never seen them so relaxed as they often flee on the sight of a vehicle.

Our floodlit waterhole at the lodge remains famous for game viewing not only at night but also during the day. As one of the best game viewing areas, it is wonderful to sit in the lapa and consume a refreshing drink while the animals literally come to you. During dinner one has a very good chance of seeing lion, black rhino or spotted hyaena coming in for a drink.

Much to the delight of our bird-lovers, the summer visitors are all flocking back. The Southern Masked-Weaver can been seen on a daily basis as they eagerly wait for the emergence of fresh shoots of green grass in order to make their nests in time for the breeding season. Raptors such as the White-backed Vultures have been spotted hovering in thermals in the sky and on carcasses feeding. The elegant Secretarybird, Northern Black Korhaan and the Pale Chanting Goshawk are regular sightings both in Etosha and on our reserve.

Latest news from our neighbouring Etosha National Park is that the elephant are beginning to migrate further to the northern end of the Park; regardless game viewing in Etosha is still wonderful.

Special Events
A male and a female lion were collared with radio transmitters by the Ongava Reserve Research Centre this month. The main purpose of this exercise is to collect data on lion movement patterns, as there is free movement of lion between the Ongava Reserve and Etosha National Park. The centre does extensive research on rhino and lion on the reserve; Ongava has a custodianship programmed with the government and any information collected on black rhino is sent to them.
Guest News
"Namibia, a country of fabulous contrasts! Each part we saw was wonderful. Super accommodation, great food and fine staff. Franco - a gem. He knows so much and sees so much. We were lucky to have him and Florensia"

"We were overwhelmed by the friendliness of the people and their professionalism. Mike was an extraordinary guide. We also very much enjoyed the fantastic views. Adding to that is the enormous privacy of little Ongava. It was the right choice. We will be back."

Managers and Guides
Camp manager: Florensia Mutrifa
Relief Manager: Michael Kaeding
Camp Guide: Franco Murao
Relief guide: Michael Haidongo

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