Climate and Landscape
The vegetation is thinning out rapidly as the temperatures rise. However, along our stunning river frontage there is always green vegetation on the banks and this attracts numerous animals from far and wide. Elephant and various antelope are regularly seen snacking on water hyacinth in Henry’s Channel.
The sausage trees are beginning to shed their leaves and these are eagerly picked up off the ground by elephant and other browsing animals; the acacia pods are noticeably reducing in number now too. Meanwhile the Y-thorned torchwoods remain green and continue to be a delicacy for elephants.
With the windy season coming to an end we can already feel that October is on our doorstep. The daytime temperatures average in the high 30 degrees Celsius, while the nights settle around the low 20s. The air is slowly becoming still and dry and the occasional days when there is a breeze are very welcome.
Wow! We had some truly phenomenal sightings over the past month with numerous lion kills and leopard sightings.
Guests were privileged to witness an entire lion kill, which took over four hours to play out. It most definitely was not something for anyone with a weak stomach as their prey, an old buffalo bull, was literally eaten alive by three lionesses and their cubs. Guests were able to visit the kill for up to three days afterwards and appreciated experiencing the entire process of the kill and the feeding process of not just lions but the scavengers that inevitably join in.
Another extremely special sighting was watching a herd of 34 bull elephants swimming across the river during brunch. Our concession has seen an increase in buffalo, zebra and waterbuck lately too.
With the bush thinning out and the water inland drying up, we also welcome herds of eland that are making their way towards the river from the escarpment. They particularly favour the Natal mahogany trees which are generously scattered along the river front, allowing them to browse and drink in the same place.
The month ended on a high with guests being lucky enough to see six wild dogs. They were attempting to hunt but were unfortunately not successful. Nonetheless this was a special sighting for the guests.
With the temperatures rising, fishing has improved noticeably with the majority of our guests who tried their luck at fishing catching chessa, nkupe and tiger on the Zambezi River.
Birds and Birding
Our birder guests were treated to great avian spectacles this month with those opting for a Zambezi River cruise delighted to see the carmine bee-eaters nesting along the banks of the river.
Mourning doves are a lovely and iconic bush sound to wake up to and during the day, there were numerous sightings of African marsh harriers, a smallish wetland raptor.Western-banded snake-eagles and black-chested snake-eagles were seen cruising the skies over our private concession in search of their next meal.
One group of guests was extremely lucky to witness a martial eagle killing a fish-eagle along Camp Drive, which runs along the river.
Other impressive bird sightings were the yellow-billed storks – these are summer migrants which feed on fish and frogs here. In the next couple of weeks we look forward to welcoming other seasonal migrants such as red-winged pratincoles; increased African skimmer and woolly-necked stork populations are another summer highlight now too.
“Thank you for making this trip equally as memorable as our last. I am in one of my happiest places when I am here. Really appreciate the manners and quality of all your staff. Once again sad to be leaving.”
“When we landed at Mana West I shed a tear. Amazing to be able to share my favourite spot in Africa with my oldest son. Thanks to everyone, Amy, Dylan, Nyenge, Thys, Engelbert. Love the new Ruckomechi. Thanks for arranging wild dog, ellies around every bush and the two nkupe for my son.”
STAFF IN CAMP
Managers: Dylan and Michelle
Assistant Manager: Eddie
Trainee managers: Amy Goosen, Thys Olivier
Guides: Chris S, Nyenge Kazingizi, Engelbert Ndlovu, Kambazvi Mundoga, Tendai Marufu, Temba Ganje.