Vumbura Plains - June 2017

Jun 6, 2017 Vumbura Plains
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Climate and Landscape
The winter season is still going strong, although this June has not been the coldest in the Okavango compared to those of the past few years. We are still seeing minimums of 9° Celsius and maximums of 27° C. It is usually much colder in the early mornings and late evenings but the temperatures rise as soon the sun does. I see the floodplain waters are lowering bit by bit but Tumo’s Bridge is still closed. This will be until the water has dropped sufficiently so that the road can be maintained before it is used again.

Wildlife
Animal sightings have been phenomenal this month. Big herds of buffalo with calves are grazing in our area alongside breeding herds of elephants. We also still had excellent sightings of our special antelope, the sable, and they have a good number of calves with them.

There is also a lot of lion activity around. The four lion brothers have made Vumbura’s Kwedi Concession their new home. Finally they managed to find mates with two of the females from the Kubu Pride. They seem to be covering a large area of the concession as they are seen all over the place, from the Kaporota side all the way to the airstrip and beyond.

The Kubu females also seem to be moving around with the boys now as they have started coming into camp more and more often. They came once and rested by North Camp’s pilot tent, which made for a big road block for the evening turndown ladies, and the guests had to be driven around to their tents. They are keen climbers and one morning we found their tracks right on the boardwalk. The boys can be heard most nights calling close to camp around the Kaporota Crossing and Tau Lodge areas, as are the females. The big male Manyathela is also still healthy and going strong. He killed a buffalo on his own very close to the airstrip.

Mmalebala the leopard has given birth to two cubs and she has now started moving them around as they are beginning to grow. She was seen north of the airstrip mobilising with the cubs. They are generally still in hiding as they are vulnerable to enemies such as baboons and other competing predators. We are pleased to say that the cubs are doing well and are very well fed.

Other leopards in the area were also sighted mating around the Botshabelo Road so we are looking forward to a new cub soon! These two leopards were spotted by very lucky guests who witnessed them being stalked by a male lion. Realising this, the two leopards ran up a tree for safety. The lion then gave up and swiftly turned his attention to a young buffalo which sadly was not so lucky to escape. Selonyana is patrolling around the mokoro station side and has been seen mostly resting around the area.

A female cheetah and her three cubs are still doing very well together as they have been making kills in sight of our guests. Even though sometimes they don’t make it through their entire kill because other predators are waiting to take it from them, they are still in good shape and well fed. They had an encounter with the four male lions after they made a kill and were only half-way through it; they lost their kill to the lion unfortunately but luckily none of them was hurt during the action.

African wild dog are also all over the area. With all the water around the concession, the dry areas have become a little smaller which makes it easier to find them. The Golden Pride now consists of 17 dogs. Though there are still sightings of the breakaways, the pride has managed to grow. The two alpha dogs made an impala kill which they feasted on before taking some food for the rest of the pack, with leftovers going to the storks and vultures.

We look forward to what Mother Nature has to offer this coming month!

Staff in Camp
Guides: Ob, Zee, Ike, Onamile Lekgopo (Guide Trainer) and Archie (Trainee Guide)

Newsletter Compiled by Tumisang Tumi Phala

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