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News September 2014

Botswana

  • Mombo GM Graham Simmonds recently captured a short clip of resident leopard Pula moving here two cubs. Caught crossing an open vlei despite the unwanted attentions of a warthog and a pack of 6 wild dogs they made it safely to a sausage tree – their home for the night!
  • Guide trainer Chantelle Venter at Duma Tau gave guests a surprising first wildlife encounter a few weeks ago. She collected the clients from Maun and en route to camp tracked down a leopard noticed earlier in the day. The group paused then retreated with the vehicle as three kudu approached. Five minutes later the 35kg leopard launched herself onto one of the cows and within a short time the 170kg kudu was suffocated. That’s prey nearly 5 times heavier than the leopard itself! Unfortunately nobody managed to get a photo of the leopard dragging her victim to a tree perch away from scavenging competitors’

Zimbabwe

  • Victoria Falls resident Sue Goatley has been appointed CITW (Children in the Wilderness) Coordinator for Zimbabwe and Zambia. We welcome her plans to improve levels of literacy ensuring that there’s a sustainable, interactive and easy to follow environmental life-skills programme available to all children in primary education.
  • In southern Africa, especially in the valleys we’re heading into the “suicide months” of October and November when temperatures soar to almost inhumane levels, the air becomes dry and static as every creature lives in stressful anticipation of the start of the rains sometime in November. A recent photo report by Mike Myers in Hwange absolutely typifies the how the “wind spreads over depleted landscapes like butter on hot toast”, how the “dust hangs in the air and the dry teak leaves scrape noisily across the plains” dusty and depleted landscapes, how the “sunsets are dramatic and bold with an oversized red orb that slips quickly through the thick air into a tree-lined horizon, taking the heat with it as it goes”. Read Mike’s full blog post.

Zambia

  • We’re approaching that time of year when the famous Mfuwe Lodge elephants use the lobby as a thoroughfare as they’re lured to a wild mango tree near the dining area. Recently however a pride of lions decided to occupy one of the walkways instead….(pic courtesy Andy Hogg)
  • The Luangwa is blooming! Bushes, flowers and trees burst into flower as the heats in the grasses turn gold. The sweet scents of the Woolly Caper-bush, Wild Gardinia, Wild Jasmine and Bushwillow fills the night air. The most impressive and probably most important flowering flora at this time of year is the Sausage tree (Kigelia africana). The sausage fruit has an average weight of 8kg, though there have been records of “sausages” weighing over 20kg in the Valley!
  • Wild dog pups are about at Kuyenda in this 4 minute video clip on the “Luangwa’s Painted Wolves”.
  • The microlight used at Chikoko, Tafika and Mwaleshi Camps is currently out of action. John Coppinger reports that microlight flights will be on the cards again next season.
  • African Parks Zambia have sadly announced that the Liuwa Plain National Park’s sole male lion has died as a result of disease or poisoning. The pride male’s carcass was found by the park management close to Miyanda Pool on the 16th September.

Namibia

  • Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is hot news a month after opening. It delivers on scenery and rich diversity of this harsh desert landscape. Recent reports wildlife reports include giraffe galore, 14 elephants, comprising three different family groups and many lone bulls, brown hyena and seven lions. There’s a black rhino about too.
  • Attention in the area has brought up another secret from a few years ago (granted quite a bit further south down the coast from Hoanib river mouth – one of the best waves on the planet that you’ve never heard about at Skeleton Bay.

Tanzania

  • We’ve had reports that some recent rain in the Seronera area is drawing some wildebeest and zebra in that direction but there’s still plenty of migration action up north.
  • There’s been some heavy rain in the Lamai wedge, Masai Mara and also on the southern side of the river at Kogatende and Bolagonja. Some general movement has started with crossings to the south, so the Kogatende area is filling up with game and there’s plenty of action. There are some small splinter groups venturing further south already, especially zebras, but the main herds are still in the north. Follow the action on our map of the wildebeest migration.
  • A few month’s back we dropped a note on the Great White pelican at Greystoke Mahale. Well there’s been a guide/management team changeover in camp. Kerrie and Jeff who’ve taken care of this youngster over the last year have revealed that “BigBird” originally thought to be a “she” is in fact a “he”!
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