Climate and Landscape
March has been a fantastic month, weather-wise. There is a slight chill in the air in the early mornings and late evenings, which indicates the beginning of winter and time to bring out the warmer jackets. We had average lows of 19° Celsius and highs of 30° C, with 127 mm of rainfall.
The game viewing was really good considering the lush greenery. To begin with the predators, there were lots of lions around. The very large male, who is slowly becoming a legend, was seen often surrounded by his Moporota lionesses in the northern sector of Chief’s Island, whilst the Mathata Pride was seen reunited as a pride of 14 not too far from camp. It’s thrilling to be able to fall asleep listening to them calling to each other.
After a run of no leopard sightings for about two weeks, on one afternoon drive, guide Yompy Diye was watching a bird hop from branch to branch while his guests tried to get photos of it. Suddenly he spotted some rosettes in the tree. Excitement… leopard… finally! Phefo, who is not sighted often, then decided to come down from the tree and much to everyone’s surprise she was greeted by two little bundles of joy. The Legadima legacy continues. Her granddaughter Phefo (Maru’s daughter) has new cubs! As stated in previous newsletters, leopard cubs have an extremely high mortality rate so we will be watching these two carefully and with hope.
On the same day as the cub sighting, Blue Eyes, the big resident male, was seen around the old Mombo Trails site. When it rains it pours – clearly, the leopards are back, as the Twin Pan female leopard was also spotted with her two adolescent cubs.
However, Pula has not been seen for a few weeks now and we are all hoping that she and her cub are doing okay. We will keep you updated.
Cheetah have still not been seen this month; at this time of year they are near-impossible to find.
The pack of 13 wild dogs was seen regularly over the month and they seem to be enjoying the new Mombo as much as we are, continuously using the camp as a hunting ground.
Rhino sightings were few and far between, confirming just how special it is when we do get to view these prehistoric-looking animals in the wild.
We also seem to have a new resident in camp… a porcupine who is very comfortable bustling around the pizza oven or back of house in the evenings, looking for bits and pieces to eat! They are of course nocturnal and like to feed on bulbs, roots and bark. He is quite a sight to behold with his bunches of sharp quills and tiny pattering paws.
Considering the time of year this month’s interesting insect has to go to the mosquito as, with the big rains and standing water, they are out in force. However, we have no wish to deter travellers from coming to this area as a little dab of Peaceful Sleep (insect repellent) keeps them well away.
The mosquito has always been regarded as a nuisance but to clear up some facts about these little guys, the female Anopheles is the species of mosquito that potentially carries malaria. It is important to note that the mosquitoes themselves do not cause the malaria disease. However, mozzies do provide an abundant food source for multitudes of other animals!
We were lucky enough to have Birdlife Botswana’s Pete Hancock join us at Mombo for the Birding Big Day. Happily most of our guests at the time were keen birders and thoroughly enjoyed the day and the very informative talk by Pete on different bird species of the Delta and their particular habits. Guests who didn’t think that they were into birds soon became bird lovers. The bird talk was extremely interesting and it was such a pleasure having Pete’s expertise to draw on in camp.
This month’s employee of the month goes to Nanzala. Nanzala is our Technical Services Supervisor. Her task is a mammoth one and she is the glue that keeps this camp firing on all cylinders. She is always willing to go the extra mile, especially during the hours of the early mornings and late evenings. Well done, Nanzy – and keep up the amazing work.
Until next month….
Matt, Robyn and the Mombo family.