Climate and Landscape
The Delta is particularly dry this year… our longest-serving staff member has been here about 12 years and he remarked that this is the lowest he has seen the water since starting at Xigera.
Two baobabs were blown over by ferocious winds that came up towards the end of the month; incredible to think these giant trees could not withstand the storms. One of the fallen trees was about 25 metres high with a trunk some 3 metres in diameter.
The game drive areas are open, and the floodplains are dusty with no sign that water ever flowed here. The rainfall is late and the small puddles left in the normally permanent channels are also quickly disappearing. From time to time we saw the smoke of bush fires started by lightning, though they were extinguished quickly, either because the grass is still too green to burn or too short to sustain the burn. So they weren’t too much of a threat.
The low water level has made game viewing amazing in some respects, and more difficult in others.
The elephant have moved in to the woodlands, out of the Delta into the areas that have had good rains, leaving us with just passers-by in the form of lone bulls and the occasional breeding herd.
Lion and leopard formed part of the impressive parade of wildlife, while big game like giraffe, buffalo and zebra, as well as kudu, were seen in the north-western area of the concession, adding a great dimension to the game viewing at Xigera. The impala have dropped their lambs, and there is plenty of new life in the open areas.
Birds and Birding
Ostriches were found in the area regularly but we know that as soon as the water arrives they will move off to areas with good open ground that is not too wet.
Although our water levels are very low, we continue to offer our mokoro activity. It’s just a 45-minute drive west of camp and we see an amazing variety of birdlife, from colourful malachite kingfishers to magnificent wattled cranes and odd-looking marabou storks.
Newsletter Compiled By Quest