Climate and Landscape
Winter at Vumbura Plains hasn’t really started but we are already experiencing quite cool mornings and late evenings. The guests are loving it, saying it is the perfect temperature. Throughout the last few weeks the Delta waters have fed the floodplains and woodlands, keeping them thick with lush green shrubbery and proud, vibrant leaves. The colours at sunset and sunrise are fabulous due to the dramatic cloud formations which bring out the most amazing primary colour hues. Although the annual inundation has yet to arrive – we still have a few weeks yet – the floodplains are brimming with water, while the sun is not hot enough to evaporate the surface water left by the rains, all adding to the beauty of the late wet season.
Throughout the concession the plains are filled with herds of red lechwe standing proud in the wetlands. These aquatic antelope congregate by the dozen, often standing very close together in what is known as a cluster, on their perfectly-adapted two-toed hooves. These fleet-footed water-lovers move with great agility and speed through floodplains, and occasionally challenge each other to a show of dominance, clashing their sharp upturned horns.
Far in the distance, towers of giraffe stand high, gazing across the plains, inspecting the area for any movement of predators or the odd male challenger. They move with grace, sloshing the water at their feet as they journey toward the high trees to browse. When startled they move clumsily and break into a gallop and then, as if in slow motion, they cover large amounts of ground in a short period of time, until they disappear into the thick woodland.
Parades of elephant march through the plains, stopping to shower themselves with the cool water at their feet, eating as much as they can as they move steadily along. Within their tidy single file lines, smaller young elephants raise their trunks high to keep them above the water to breathe.
Around the concession the wild dog packs weren’t spotted as much. These beautiful painted dogs blur in front of one’s eyes, moving with tremendous speed through the dense woodlands, fixated on their hunt, dodging left and right – almost as if to lose the trailing vehicle hurrying along after them, hoping to get a rare glimpse of these endangered beauties and their efficient and effective hunting techniques. They stop every so often to smell the area, playing and mock-fighting, until a movement or scent is picked up in the distance and they shoot off, leaving our vehicles to scurry after them. On one particular sighting of the dogs a strange incident occurred where they had come across a dead giraffe lying in the grass like a toppled statue; the dogs scavenged on the carcass for almost three days, not even leaving in the evenings but sleeping nearby.
Our ever-active lion prides had a superb month, taking advantage of the dense greenery, and effectively ambushing their unsuspecting prey. They have gorged themselves on warthog, impala, wildebeest and buffalo. Kettles of vulture hovered around, waiting in nearby trees, hoping for an opportune moment to swoop in and steal from the kill. The four male lions are back in the concession and for the whole month a cat sighting was guaranteed every day.
Resident leopard Selonyana and her daughter also dominated the charts – simply the most elegant, mature, camera-friendly leopard we’ve ever seen. The cub is doing well and we spotted the pair frequently in front of camp, Selonyana trying to teach her cub hunting tactics, mother and daughter afire.
Our big resident male elephant has also been in camp for a month now; he demands respect and we have learnt to live together… It was full moon few days back and the local hippo had a big party all around the camp area. Surely the hippo grunting is one of my favourite wakeup calls.
We would like to extend our deepest love and condolences to Mr Kgoa’s family and friends over the loss of their beloved daughter, Mr Jack’s sister.
Staff in camp
Managers – South: Canius (GM) Tebby (Housekeeping), Onnie (Guest Experience), Adrian (Front of House)
Managers – North: Kci (GM), Oabona (Housekeeping), Poppy (Guest Experience), Dzororo, Rachel (Front of House) and Taps
Guides: Emang, Willie, Ronald, ST
YesYNewsletter by Canius Elijah
Pictures courtesy guides and managers
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