Davisons Camp – March 2018
Climate and Landscape (Davisons Camp – March 2018)
Ostrich Pan in front of the main area has become an ecosystem all of its own. The lush “microsystem” it has created has replaced the once-present algal blooms with forests of sage reeds. Meanwhile the teak and acacia woodland around our Concession has become a lush habitat that is hiding our gentle giants, the elephants, who have yet to reveal their presence.
The false mopane grove here at Davison’s has taken a battering, with some of these ancient towering giants succumbing to the forces of wind and rain. After trimming the tall grass in front of camp, many browsers have returned, which in turn has attracted other interested eyes to the area.
It was a warm month with consistent and predictable temperatures ranging between 20° and 35° Celsius.
We had a wet start to the month with the rains seemingly refusing to cease. The last few days gave us beautiful thunderstorms that took our overall rainfall to 112 mm. Winter is coming but the seasons will not change too abruptly. Instead the maximum temperatures have been dropping gradually, giving us cool evenings and a hint of what is to come.
The animal sightings this month were just as unexpected as last month, with unusual numbers and some very elusive species for the rainy season a common occurrence. This could be a sign that the dry season has many pleasant surprises to offer too. The occasional thunderstorm did push the game to the safety of the treeline, making them more difficult to spot, but our experienced guides are always on the lookout for small, tell-tale signs of their presence.
Of all the animals, the lions were by far the most entertaining. It seems all three prides now have cubs hidden somewhere in bushes and under logs, and our sightings were the highlight of many guests’ trips. Douglas was the first to spot a female at Back Pans clearly trying to lure intruders away from her hiding place. With some patience and great timing, the female, once in the Stumpy Tail Pride, then revealed the blessings she had been hiding in a dead log. Since that day the cubs have not been shy around cameras!
Davisons Camp – March 2018
Ngweshla is where a different litter of three cubs was spotted – very shy, and for a while only ever seen on their own. The mother has been doing a lot of hunting with Bhubhesi’s pride, with evidence of many kills spotted around Ngweshla and all the way down to Big Somavundla.
On one amazing sunset drinks stop, Mike, Douglas and Tinashe had set up sundowners near a waterhole, only to be witness to an incredible spectacle as the Ngamo Pride, actively hunting wildebeest, herded the prey in the set-up’s direction. Ngamo was alight with activity, and it was amazing to see such coordination, even from the inexperienced cubs which also joined the hunt. The pride was not successful then, but the next morning brought out their true cat nature.
A strong male cheetah has become the centre of attention at Ostrich Pan. His presence is never missed as the loud barks of the baboons, as well as the alarm calls of the fork-tailed drongos and southern-crowned shrikes alert us. The waterhole becomes even quieter when he is around, though it is evident he misses his lost brother [guides believe he was killed by a baboon], as the kudu kills have become fewer, to the point of non-existent. Davison’s seems to be his hunting ground these days, which we greatly appreciate, as guests are able to enjoy an amazing safari from the comfort of camp.
All in all, the game sightings were phenomenal this month and we feel blessed for each day we saw so much activity.
The rarer sightings like bat-eared foxes and a caracal were the cherry on the Amarula cake for sure! Richard had a great time with those rarities and was even able to spot the currently-elusive buffalo, which will return in the dry months to follow.
Birds and Birding
With so much greenery around and so many insect species still active, the birds have been fattening up and enjoying the bounty of the land. The palm swifts and carmine bee-eaters take advantage each time the tractor goes out to do maintenance work; they also fly around the game drive vehicles for that matter, picking off disturbed insects as the vehicles move over the grass.
The southern ground-hornbills left their protected isolation in the false mopane grove and began to appear daily at Ostrich Pan. Their deep calls in the morning act as a makeshift alarm call for everyone to go out looking for more of the amazing birds on our concession.
Mike had a very rare and special sighting of a painted snipe in a very unusual area: Ngamo Pan. The pan is home to a pair which has nested ‘in clover,’ with the male displaying polyandry and taking great care of the nest and his precious cargo.
Paul was also happy to find our Ngamo mascot, Peter, the great white flamingo with his broken wing. Peter could not migrate with his flock a few years ago but is now mimicking the foraging tactics of the local sacred ibises and African spoonbills. He has somehow evaded the clutches of the many predators that could easily take advantage of his flightless situation.
Davisons Camp – March 2018
“Visiting the village was amazing! We are very interested in helping the school after that visit!”
“The guides were super and knowledgeable. The staff was all attentive and courteous.”
“Beautiful landscape with good sightings of a variety of animals despite the long grass and weather conditions.”
Staff in Camp
Camp Managers: Themba and Cossam
Assistant Managers: Tinashe and Brad
Trainee Manager: Mani
Pro Guides: Themba, Mike
Guides: Paul, Richard and Douglas