Climate and Landscape
Bye-bye, winter and hello, spring! This month’s weather was still cool in the mornings but the evenings warmed up and the afternoons are now classified as hot. With an average low of 13° and an average high of 29° Celsius, the vehicles have their roofs on again, allowing for optimum comfort in the African sun, while the midmorning surprise of a refreshing scoop of sorbet in the bush to cool guests down was ‘warmly’ welcomed! The water levels in the small river tributaries are now starting to drop.
The general game in front of camp continues to impress and makes for a great welcome into Trails.
Déjà vu waking up at 03h00 am to lions roaring outside our tent? No, just Mombo Trails! The various prides and the dominant Moporota Males were seen on a regular basis, often moving around investigating the Mombo Camp rebuild site.
Spotted! Pula still has a bundle of fur alive and it has been seen quite regularly. Pula has been moving her cub from place to place constantly, which is great and we are hoping she manages to look keep the little one alive. We will be monitoring her as best we can as the mortality rate of young predators in the wild is high. The team’s emotions are certainly on a rollercoaster ride.
There is a troop of vervet monkeys that has now made Mombo Trails their home and they are occasionally seen grabbing a juicy apple out of the fruit bowl at high tea. As frustrating as it may be, they just can’t resist grabbing the fresh fruits and one can’t help but be drawn to the cute, cheeky faces of the little ones.
The three cheetah cubs are growing bigger, stronger and wiser as the days go on, while our guides have recently seen another female cheetah with five tiny cubs still in their honey badger-lookalike phase.
The wild dogs still have their eight puppies, which now have their own distinct markings and, of course, their own personalities. The pack of seven in the north has not been seen as often and no den site has been found just yet. The pack of three seems to have split and there have been regular sightings of a single dog and a pair hunting around Trails camp on separate occasions. Many of the repeat Mombo guests may remember the story of the lone wild dog called Solo; we may have another Solo story on our hands – watch this space.
We did not realise how popular this section of the newsletter would be. After only one month of introducing this, we are already stumped by our new find. This month’s insect certainly challenges the cuckoo wasp for its beautiful colours. To be truly honest we have no idea what it is… if anyone can identify it then please let us know and be sure to share some information about this insect with us.
Birds and Birding
The red-billed queleas continue to grow in numbers and they can now be seen in their thousands up in the northern sector of the reserve. This vast number of queleas taking off in the dusty sunset makes for stunning photographic opportunities.
As the water in the pans and the rivers dry out, flocks of great white and pink-backed pelicans, as well as the infamous marabou storks, can be seen fishing in the shallow waters. Now that the fish are being forced into smaller pools of water, this makes for a much easier catch.
August 4th was International Beer Day and we were lucky enough to have one big family in camp who were happy to go along with a beer tasting, paired with mini cheeseburgers, and a beer pong table to match! We had a great evening playing beer pong for hours with three different generations within the family. It was definitely a hit and something we hope to do again next year.
We also had a very special celebration in camp of a 50th (Golden) wedding anniversary! The team got together to create a special gold-dusted cake with handmade fondant roses to be presented to the guests by our staff choir at a private dinner under the broken tree at Trails camp. It was a lovely evening and the guests thoroughly enjoyed it.
August Employee of the Month goes to Jack Kunduruka. Jack works as one of the camp’s general assistants. His responsibilities include cleaning, lighting, displaying and removing the lanterns, raking the sand in the mornings, afternoons and evenings, cleaning the guests’ game viewers and chopping the firewood – to name just a few of the jobs that are rarely seen but which the camp cannot operate without. Jack’s attitude and attention to detail is often so subtle it can go unnoticed, but he knows that the one-in-a-thousand who notices makes all the difference. Jack’s desire to ensure that all his tasks are done meticulously is an inspiration, not to mention his smile which is slowly but surely becoming the “Smile of Mombo”. Well done, Jack and keep up the great work.
Matt and Robyn