The virtually non-existent rains during our summer saw us going into the dry winter months with minimal grass cover and thin vegetation. Midway through winter the bush is already desiccated, the outlying pans devoid of water, and game concentrations on the permanent water-sources that much more intense. Coupled with the improved visibility due to the poor cover of vegetation, game viewing has been outstanding. While this is good news for our guests, it is discouraging for the environment. We’ve been through it all before, and worse, and have hopes of a better season of rains this coming summer.
One of our elephants succumbed to old age and died close to Delta Camp, on the river’s edge. Predator activity has been amazing – some very large crocodiles have been sighted, and lion and hyaena too have been at the carcass. In particular the night-time squabbles of these two species has been extraordinary, particularly the frustrated giggling of the hyena, one of the archetypal though seldom-heard sounds of the African bush, and barely believable even to the initiated.
It is of course elephant season, and they are in and around the camps in great profusion, calmly and systematically trampling what’s left of the undergrowth, rattling the palms and feasting on the nuts that cascade from the crowns, and delighting us.