Climate and Landscape
Rain, rain and more rain. February finally produced significant amounts of rain and the bush is looking lusher than ever. We had an average high temperature of 31° Celsius and an average low of 19° C, with more than 120 mm of rain.
After the heavy rains we are thrilled to see the wild flowers coming into bloom, transforming The Place of Plenty into a colourful painting.
All the pans are filled with water and the general game is loving the bountiful feeding grounds. A group of four big, old bull elephants were frequently seen around camp and they seem to also appreciate the new camp layout – which was designed to accommodate them – stepping over the walkways ever so delicately, and walking under the bridges that separate the two camps. Their relaxed nature provides great photo opportunities for the guests. We were lucky enough to catch Stompy, one of our oldest bulls, in a quiet moment next to a bridge, happily snapping off branches from a nearby tree. It was fascinating to watch how he used his foot to anchor one end of the branch whilst using his trunk to snap the other end off so that he could fit it comfortably into his mouth!
The lion cubs are growing bigger and stronger, and their personalities are starting to emerge. A few afternoons ago, whilst the lionesses slept peacefully in the shade during the heat of the day, one particularly boisterous cub could just not sit still. He was seen rolling around in the grass, playfully smacking his siblings, fidgeting with mom’s tail and glancing at us cheekily every few minutes! What a special photo opportunity!
Recently, whilst out on a drive, we stopped the vehicle to listen to a loud rumbling noise that sounded very similar to a C130 Hercules coming in to land – only to turn the corner and find an enormous herd of buffalo stampeding over a ridge. What a spectacular sight this was! We followed up to see what had startled them but there were no predators close by. They must have been spooked by something, but certainly provided us with quite an experience!
Leopard sightings were fantastic this month and there have been some new sightings of the green-eyed female that we mentioned in a previous newsletter, as well as the skittish male who we are yet to identify. Blue Eyes, Pula and her cub were seen regularly, even with the bush being so thick and lush.
The wild dogs were scarcer, seeming to have come back just to show off in front of camp last month and then leaving again.
This month’s “Interesting Insect” is the centipede, not everyone’s favourite creepy-crawly, but nonetheless fascinating. Centipedes are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda. Here are a few facts about these creepy (literally) little guys...
- Their first set of legs is not used for walking – instead these are modified to form venomous fangs, which they use to inject paralysing venom into their prey.
- They can regenerate lost legs.
- They take very good care of their young.
- They are formidable predators.
Our reasoning behind choosing this insect is that after the rains they come out and are always a good talking point. Most people steer clear of these stealthy insects but they really are fascinating when you know a little bit about them, so the next time you come across one do take a few minutes to admire it.
Birds and Birding
A little scops-owl was seen perched in a tree close to the office and we captured some great images of it. These diminutive owls are not often seen so it was great to be able to show guests the little fellow.
The birdlife just gets better and better at this time of the year, and we managed to watch a tiny malachite kingfisher swoop down and grab a spider out of a puddle of water. For the avid birders out there, the Place of Plenty awaits.
Well done, Pelonomi Kebiditswe, for winning this month’s “Employee of the Month.” When we arrived at Mombo, Pelo was one of the kitchen scullery hands, but after a few months she showed serious potential and interest in the front-of-house side of our camp operations. We moved her into the role of waiter. She has since shown tremendous enthusiasm and commitment to her new role, which is extremely inspiring and motivating.
Until next month,
Matt, Robyn and the Mombo family.