The majestic Tubu leopard has recently given birth to two of the most adorable little cubs ever seen, with their chubby little faces and their tiny little spots. So far, mum has kept them hidden from danger and the threats that they will one day have to encounter. Only a handful of lucky guests have managed to see them currently, and an even fewer number of pictures have been taken of them. We hope they will become the future generation of leopards at Hunda Island and we have faith that they will survive the season, as the water is moving in slowly, making the island smaller and bringing animals, both predator and prey, closer to each other – as if an unwanted neighbour has pitched a tent in your very own backyard.
The Jao Pride, which consists of one dominant male, two lioness and five cubs have been seen too. The cubs are around three months of age and have become very boisterous and playful, but never straying too far from the protective paws of mother. At this stage their environment is a huge playground, as they constantly chase each other through the long grass. Their playful antics have provided our guests with some great photos.
A couple elephant bulls have moved into the camp area, taking advantage of the tasty vegetation growing amongst the camp structures. These gentle giants are always the talk at the breakfast table and sometimes are the loudest snorers in camp at night.
The resident hyaena have really become brazen lately. It has become a regular occurrence to be visited by the canine-like predators at camp, when enjoying a refreshment at the bar or fireplace. A couple of individuals will wander up into the main area’s terrace and quietly move between the furniture, in the hope of finding a tasty morsel or two. If one sits quietly and patiently, these creatures of the night will happily continue with their camp foraging, all the time keeping a watchful eye on the observer.
The resident troop of monkeys have reared their babies well, as they have taught them how to swiftly and elegantly move through the trees in the same manner as the adults do. We have endless laughs as we watch the vervet monkeys move around camp in the tree line – the parents forever watching closely as their clumsy yet adorable young ones try to keep up and show off their new-found talent as they go along.
A number of hippo have been out and about. They are most commonly seen in the water, but lately we have seen them quite often outside of the water, grazing along and under the boardwalks. These bulk grazers give us a reminder of why one should not wander around at night.
Bat activity has been exciting too during the month. We have the occasional sighting of them as they dart through the darkness, but they do provide us with a serenade during the evening hours. Their clicks and squeaks and the chirps and beeps are incredibly synchronised in a way that only nature can explain.
The Woodland Kingfishers have all moved off as the summer months have come to an end. The resident Pied Kingfishers have provided us with great entertainment, quite often from the breakfast table. It is really funny to watch them test the water temperature, swiftly diving into the water and exiting just as swiftly, quickly flying to a perch and shaking the water off their feathers. When they do start hunting, they hover over the water like a helicopter until a target is acquired. Once they have honed in on a target, they dart into the water, using their long beaks to seize the fish.
A pair of Green Wood-Hoopoes have built their nest in a cavity in a fig tree behind the camp’s ‘loo with a view’ – this is a toilet with a large window that allows for awesome views of the plains – the perfect spot for some bird watching. The hoopoe pair energetically dart in and out of the nest, constantly feeding their demanding young ones.
Saddle-billed Storks have also provided great sightings as they fish in the shallow waters. They use the bright red colouration on their legs to attract fish within striking distance. A courting pair has taken up residence on the island.
African Fish-Eagle have been very active in the area as the annual inundation begins to pour into the area, causing the fish to spread all over in search of food. The water in the channels is crystal clear, making for easier hunting for the eagles – and every other water bird.