November in the Okavango Delta was one of the hottest and driest months on record – and as a result, our little lagoon in front of camp became more and more of an attraction to game. Every day we were lucky enough to see elephant and buffalo at the water – and as the month went on, the list grew: giraffe, reedbuck, zebra, impala, kudu… even a family of warthogs took up residence.
Out in the bush it was no different. Over the course of the month we saw four different prides of lion, as well as a coalition of three males, our regularly-seen dominant male “Boxer” and for the fourth month in a row, a new lion, this time a huge black-maned male from the east. Boxer is going to have to watch out….
What was most remarkable about November was the presence of many herds of buffalo in the general vicinity of camp. There were several days when three, four or five herds each numbering 100+ buffalo were seen – some herds were as big as five or six hundred. Add to that hundreds of zebra in and around the floodplains, and one can understand why we’re seeing more and more lions.
November is also noticeable for the arrival of the summer migratory birds. The woodland kingfishers announced their arrival (albeit a few weeks late) with their piercing trills and their vibrant turquoise plumage. The carmine and blue-cheeked bee-eaters are also back competing for the “most colourful and elegant” prize. And the water birds have been feasting on the fish trapped in the shrinking lagoons. At one pool, there were saddle-billed, marabou, yellow-billed, openbill and woolly-necked storks as well as hamerkops, pelicans and fish-eagles.
We also have to mention the sunsets – summer sunsets are just so dramatic, often with an array of clouds reflecting the sun’s refracted light in all kinds of pink and orange hues. They provide the perfect opportunity to stop for a moment to process all that one has seen during the day.
And how can we forget the impala lambs? The middle of the month saw hundreds of pairs of long thin legs and big ears pop out all over the place. Within just a few days, the impala population increased by almost 50% as almost every adult ewe gave birth to the “cutest thing you’ve ever seen.”
All this makes it very clear that the heat (of which there was a lot – the average maximum was 34° Celsius) and the prospect of rain (of which there was hardly any – in fact only 7 mm – but what there was, was wildly magnificent) should definitely not deter anyone from visiting the Okavango in November!
Our guests echoed these sentiments with comments like: “The safari, the animal viewing and experience was great! The whole experience was outstanding! The managers were great! Our guide was great. Your whole staff was friendly and helpful – thank you for a great experience.”