Climate and Landscape
July was a relatively warm month at Savuti with an average temperature of around 28° Celsius. The highest temperature peaked at 34° and the coldest 0° – that is quite a difference, any which way you look at it! For most of the month the mornings started at around 8° and the afternoons topped out between 28° and 30°.
The waters have not come down the Savute Channel this year and the water level is sitting roughly 30 cm lower than it was this time last year. There was an earth tremor along the Linyanti fault line in June last year so it will be interesting to see if the Savute Channel will begin to dry up, returning to being a dry channel, as it was for 26 years between 1982 and 2008.
July proved to be a very productive month with the DumaTau Pride getting back together – they were first seen at Shumba Pan with seven lionesses and 10 cubs feeding on a giraffe. The two DumaTau males were a few kilometres away feeding on a female kudu which they had come across. The male was then seen moving from Backflow towards Savuti along the Channel.
Another group of seven females, which we have not seen before, was seen near the Namibian campsite across the border on the other side of the Linyanti River; one of the females was wearing a collar.
A young female leopard was seen in and around Savuti on a regular basis this last month. The guides believe her to be roughly eight or nine months old. The Calcrete Female was seen to the west of Livingstone Hide hunting impala; she clearly was successful as, later on in the day, she was seen again with her kill in a tree.
Mmalebadi the female leopard was not as lucky as she sat watching the Zib Pack of wild dog devour her fresh impala kill. Happily though, a few days later she was seen near Mopane Bridge with a baboon kill.
As ever, African wild dog were seen on a regular basis all over the Concession; the Zib Pack has recently had pups – there are a total of 17 and are said to be roughly six weeks old – which takes the total of the pack to 35.
The LTC Pack was seen resting after a hunt at Forest Pan, then again in a big open area eating a sub-adult impala.
The elephant herds are back in force and are seen daily from the main area of Savuti having a drink. The herds have been getting bigger and bigger and the largest seen to date comprised roughly 60 adults and 10 little ones.
Birds and Birding
The birding as always was top notch at Savuti with one of the best sightings being a martial eagle sitting in a tree feeding on a guineafowl. The openbill storks, which normally frequent the tree at Tent 2, have started to dwindle, numbering just five at our last count on the last day of the month.
A secretarybird was seen around the Backflow area a number of times.