Climate and Landscape
October was slightly warmer than September with a minimum of 18° and maximum of 36° Celsius. On average the heat increased by three degrees compared to September. The average rainfall this month was 6 mm with promising clouds building up by the day; we know the rainy season is close. We witnessed some veld fires around the concession north of the airstrip, along the Motsumi and Moporota roads, but this only benefited the vegetation as it is now all green and the grass is also recovering.
The floodplains are decorated with plains game starting to give birth: tsessebe are dropping young, as are the impala. Buffalo have been grazing our plains from the east of Vumbura Plains Camp to the west of the airstrip and up towards Little Vumbura.
This also brought good sightings of lion around the area where the dominant coalition comprises the four Vumbura Boys. There were also good sightings of female lions around the concession and the Kubu Pride female with her two juvenile cubs was seen three times this month around the airstrip and Mbishi1 areas.
We also had very good sightings of leopards, with Selonyana and the cubs of Mmalebala being seen regularly. We suspect that Mmalebala is dead as she has not been seen for more than a month (which is very unusual) and her one-year-old cubs have been wandering around by themselves – not normal for cubs that young to be parted from their mother.
There was also an unusual sighting of two dead elephants. This raised eyebrows as it came right at the time of an outbreak of anthrax in Namibia and we were concerned about our wildlife. There are big herds of elephants gathering around the water sources with a lot of new calves. As it is very hot the elephant were seen in numbers, even on morning drives, in and around the floodplains.
The Golden Pack of wild dogs did not miss out on the action and we had sightings throughout the month of October as they introduced their new pups from the den to the rest of the concession. The Golden Pack was the only wild dog pack that we saw this month. They are still healthy in number, with 13 adults and eight sub-adults.
One female cheetah was spotted sleeping around Jacks Pan.
Birds and Birding
Our Kwedi Concession in the Okavango Delta never disappoints when it comes to birding and we had great daily sightings of aquatic bird species such as saddled-billed storks at the lagoon in front of Vumbura Plains. Among other species the southern ground-hornbills were sighted quite often as they fed on insects and even frogs in the drying floodplains.
Some carmine bee-eaters were also seen regularly around the open grassland between the camp and our airstrip. In addition, we had beautiful swallow-tailed bee-eaters arriving throughout the month. Other migratory birds which have showed up included woodland kingfishers and ospreys. A final lovely sighting was an ostrich with 15 chicks.
Staff in Camp
Managers: Phenyo, Poppy, Tilly, Motty and Ruth
Guides: Emang, ST, Willie
Managers: Joel, Sean, Todd, Tumi, KK and Megan
Guides: Speedy, Lazi, Tebla, Go
Newsletter and images: Speedy and Tebla