A very happy new year to you all. Having spent the festive season with family and loved ones we are happy to be back with our other family, the Mombo team. 2017 was filled with many great memories and it saddens us to bid farewell to Mombo Trails Camp, which will forever be in our hearts. Mombo Trails was an experience never to be forgotten and it officially “closed” its canvas doors on the 24th of January. We will certainly miss it.
But, when one door closes, another opens. Welcome back, Mombo! Fourth-generation Mombo is here and she is certainly a trend-setting eye-popper. The new year started with the privilege of hosting His Excellency, Mr Ian Khama and his family, who thoroughly enjoyed their time with us. The official opening of Mombo was on Sunday the 28th of January and guests have been arriving in droves ever since.
The seasonal rains have started and the bush has suddenly transformed into the lush green “Garden of Eden” we remember from last year.
The usual spotted candidates such as Pula and her cub, as well as Blue Eyes, were seen regularly.
The wild dogs have moved away from the area and have headed down towards the southern part of the island on their usual walk/runabout, and we are looking forward to having them back soon.
Lion were seen in and around Mombo Camp (as usual), and we are happy to welcome two new additions to the Western Pride – tiny little bundles of joy stumbling over their own fat feet under the watchful eyes of mom.
There were some great sightings of both black and white rhino this month and it is great to see this incredible species thriving once more on Chief’s Island, and thus in Botswana as a whole.
Special sightings this month included two separate African python sightings on one game drive (where both were seen devouring impala!), Pula and her cub with an African civet kill, and a buffalo herd numbering more than a thousand strong spanning the open floodplain in front of camp.
The next few months will keep us on our toes, with the lush greenery making it that much more of a challenge to track and spot the residents.
With the seasonal rains comes a phenomenon like no other. Alates, commonly known as flying ants, are actually reproductive termites. Alates are only produced when a colony reaches a certain size, maturity, and is able to expand. The alate nymphs are kept near the soil surface and are nourished by worker and soldier termites. When conditions are right, the hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of alates from colonies around the area take flight to pair off with each other, allowing the species to remain genetically diverse. This process is known as swarming, and may occur over several days. Once a couple is formed and have successfully mated, the female will seek out a new location to start their colony. Alates lose their wings once they have coupled and the process of building a colony begins.How often alates are produced is dependent on the species and the age and size of the colony, and for most this swarming phenomenon happens only once a year.
This swarming brings with it in turn many different bird species that feed on such abundance. Raptors can be seen sitting on top of the mounds gorging themselves whilst other pluck them directly out of the sky.
Well done to Bee for winning this month’s Employee of the Month. Bee is a part of the Modiredi team and she continues to look after our guests in that caring “Mombo way” that we so pride ourselves on. Well done, Bee and keep up the good work.
We had a great tea party to bid farewell to Trails and welcome our new camp. We asked Advice Quokwe, an employee who has worked at Mombo for over 20 years and who has worked at all three previous camps, to cut the cakes and bless us all for the new adventure ahead.
The camp staff are starting to get ready for the busy year that lies ahead of us. With the new camp come new and exciting challenges and we are all looking forward to what 2018 has in store for us. Pula to Mombo 4.0!
Have a great month going forward,
Matt, Robyn and the Mombo family