Climate and Landscape
After a leave filled with motorbike excursions around Bali’s beautiful rice paddies, Ubud, wood carving markets and a trembling volcano, we are happy to be back in the Delta.
The temperature climbed consistently through the month of October recording an average high of 37° Celsius and average low of 18° C. The full-day game drives have slowed and sorbet drops are the new favourite. There is something nostalgic about wetting a kikoi in your tent and placing it over your body to cool you down. The rains seem to have come early this year, with 15 mm falling suddenly over two nights. Magnificent lightning storms were seen around Trails camp, lighting up the surrounding floodplain. It’s time for the Amarula and hot chocolate again.
The rain is here. “Pula!” We are eagerly anticipating the significant event that is the arrival of the first impala lamb. With the birth of the first lamb the rest will quickly follow. The impalas use a survival mechanism where they “flood the market” with their young so that even if half the population of lambs is killed the impala are still left with a healthy new generation of growing lambs; guests will soon be able to see hundreds of these young antelope running around. With their overlarge ears, gorgeous doe eyes and spindly little legs they are simply lovely to watch. The predators certainly take advantage of this season but the impala always come out on top and are able to thrive in the magnificent Moremi Game Reserve.
The dogs are back in town! The large pack is back and more tenacious than ever. Seen trying to take on prey such as greater kudu and wildebeest, the pack is certainly enjoying itself around Chief’s Island. They were seen regularly and the pups are growing bigger and wiser as the days go on. On a number of occasions the pups were seen tormenting the hyaena that follow the pack on their daily hunts. The interaction between these two species is fascinating to watch. They can often be seen sleeping within ten metres of each other, completely tolerant towards one another but as soon as there is “food on the table” their survival instinct kicks in and it’s a free-for-all. The single dog is still around Mombo Trails Camp and seems to be doing well on her own but has had a number of her prize kills stolen by the larger pack.
There were great sightings of both black and white rhino coming out of the thickets in the early mornings and late evenings. Pula and her cub are still around and well, while the big resident male leopard, Blue Eyes, as well as a few other leopards such as Phefo (Pula’s niece) and a very shy unknown male, were also seen recently. The cheetah with her four cubs is still around, carefully picking her way through the maze of lion, leopard and wild dog on the island, and we were lucky enough to watch a male cheetah attempt a late afternoon red lechwe hunt! We seem to have the perfect balance of predators at the moment on Chief’s Island. Our “Garden of Eden” is certainly living up to its name and we are looking forward to some more great sightings next month.
We have identified our interesting insect as part of the family Reduviidae. Commonly known as assassin bugs, these insects come in all shapes, sizes and colours. They are prolific hunters using an ambush method, feeding mainly on bees, flies and even caterpillars. The prey is captured and with a quick stabbing motion of the insect’s long beak-like mouth-parts, the assassin bug kills it and proceeds to consume the body fluids. A pretty efficient killer!
A warm welcome to Faith Moutloatse who will be heading up our housekeeping department and to our new executive chef, Johan Van Schalkwyk. We looking forward to welcoming both into the Mombo family and wish them well in their respective roles.
The winner of our Employee of the Month goes to Wamuka Keobeilwe. Wamuka is one of our chefs who is always willing to go the extra mile to put delicious food on the table for our guests. Well done, Wamuka, and keep up the great work.
Until next month,
Matt and Robyn