Climate and Landscape
The water here at Tubu disappeared early this month. I don’t blame it though. If I was the water, I would have also run away from the heat we have been experiencing for the past month. Summer is here. The temperature was playing around the mid-thirties Celsius, making animals and humans alike head to the shadier parts of the island at noon. Luckily, it does cool down in the evenings and was even a little chilly in the early mornings. The wind also provided some relief from the heat on a fair number of occasions.
With the lower water levels, we have taken our motorboats out of the water, giving them a well-deserved break after a season of hard work. The water was, however, still gracious enough to let us mokoro this month and guests took full advantage of the last of the water activities.
Zebra was without a doubt the flavour of the month here on Hunda Island. The pride of lions was obviously very hungry and took down a couple of zebras over the course of the month, providing hearty meals for the whole pride, especially some hungry youngsters. The guests also reported that they are messy eaters, but I’m pretty sure that’s just in their nature.
On one occasion it was actually not the lions that were first in line for their zebra meal, but the vultures. A zebra seemed to have died of natural causes, giving guests the opportunity to watch the different vultures interacting with each other. The sighting added much truth to the saying “bigger is better,” with the larger vultures easily chasing the smaller vultures away and claiming the zebra as theirs.
Seeing elephant families is always amazing. They look like the perfect, happy family: adults marching ahead, babies half-running, half-walking to keep up with their parents with the youngsters being typical teenagers and trying to stray a little further from the herd. One of these families was seen crossing the airstrip minutes before an aircraft was due to land, causing the pilot to have to circle a couple of times above the airstrip, waiting patiently for the herd to cross but also providing some last-minute entertainment for the departing guests. We have also had a couple of elephants make their way across the floodplain in front of camp, with a few of them making their way past very close to camp. One guest actually got very up-close-and-personal with one of these guys when he was alone in the pool and an elephant was munching away on the tree next to him.
The leopards were a little shy this month with only one or two reported sightings on drives. A couple of guests were, however, very lucky to wake up one night to find a leopard wandering below on the ground in front of their tent. Needless to say they didn’t feel the need to join a game drive the next morning, having experienced that beautiful sighting the night before.
Birds and Birding We hosted quite a few photographic groups at our camp this month, and all of them were treated to beautiful bird sightings. As guests came back into camp, they told us of the likes of African spoonbill, slaty egret, little egret, rosy-throated longclaw and black-winged stilt. The guests who went out on mokoro activities also regularly saw (and photographed) the sought-after and beautiful malachite kingfisher.
Finally, what better way to end your day in the Delta than enjoying a sundowner to the iconic call of a fish-eagle?
Staff in Camp
Managers: Jared Zeelie, Philile Hlongwe, Sharon Nyamangaro, Shabba Masesane, Pierre Cronje, Andriana Botes, Marius Neuhoff
Guides: Radipitse Onalethata, Seretse Xaeko, Maipaa Tekanyetso, Kaizer Rams, Phenyo Lebakeng