Abu Camp – March 2018
Climate and Landscape
Our summer rainfall tends to end as March does, and there was a late (and welcome) flourish this year, although less so than in other, recent years. Overall, the Abu Concession has enjoyed good rains this year, which means that we head into the winter or dry season with the lagoons full, and the nights echoing to the celebratory calls of frogs.
The onset of winter was heralded by minimum temperatures slowly starting to fall to around 10°C (50°F), although maximum temperatures have remained as high as 37°C (99°F).
We have once again seen a wonderful demonstration of the synchronicity of Nature – by mid-April, the waters that form the ‘tip of the spear’ of the annual Okavango inundation had begun to arrive in the Concession. This is the principal reason behind the fecundity of the Delta: there is almost always water present, whether falling from the sky (typically in brief afternoon cloudbursts) or flowing in from Angola and Namibia.
The arrival of the floodwaters is greeted with joy and relief by all Okavango residents, although this year, the fact that so much water from localised rainfall remains in the channels and lagoons means that the annual inundation will contribute to a temporary embarrassment of aquatic riches – and attendant birdlife. Not that you’ll hear any complaints from us!
Throughout March and April, the Abu Concession has continued to provide the most spectacular game-viewing experiences for our guests, as the currents of life ebb and flow. While our resident predators tend to monopolise the headlines, the abundance of general game (often in large herds) cannot be overlooked.
The lioness with three cubs appears content to remain within the Concession, with a warthog kill meaning that she spent several days on the same island, providing some memorable sightings. Our resident female leopard, Bame, and her son (now old enough and large enough to assist with hunting) have had a dramatic time of it of late, having to defend their kills from larcenous hyaena. The age-old leopard tactic of hoisting meals into trees was once again successfully used.
Guests at our sister camp, Seba, have enjoyed regular early morning sightings of Bame hunting bushbuck around Seba Lagoon in front of the camp. We now have proof that while a fireside cup of coffee is great for waking people up, spotting a leopard at first light is even more effective!
A good indicator that you’re seeing something rare and unusual is if your safari guide gets unusually excited. So, the guests who were staying at both Abu Camp and Seba were left in no doubt as to the significance of the recent pangolin sighting at Mafunyane Pool – an event that certainly tipped the scales in favour of this month being one of our best for wildlife for some time.
As often happens with packs of wild dogs, we have seen what we suspect are social dynamics at play. The ‘blonde pack’ of fifteen now only numbers only fourteen dogs, while we have more recently seen packs of three and five dogs. These could be splinter groups from the ‘blonde pack’, or dogs that are new to the Concession. We’ll have to wait to find out, but in the meantime our guests have been enjoying some spectacular ‘painted wild dog viewing.
Motlotlo, meanwhile, is now around three months old, and continues to be enthralling and enthralled in equal measure. He is slowly acquiring the skills and knowledge he will need to be a bull elephant in the Okavango, but if he should slip up (it can get muddy here at times), he has his mother, Lorato, there to give him a helping trunk.
With greetings from the human members of the Abu Herd: Roger, Tshidi, Adrian, Kemm, Kelly, Alex, Taps Junior, Joe, Matamo, Big O, Jakes and GO.