The cold season is officially upon us. Although winter is not in full swing, the mornings are becoming more and more chilly and the guests are layering up for the morning activities. This is short-lived though, as the midday sun tends to thaw the environment and make life much more comfortable to the point that the guests are utilising the pool in the mid-afternoon. Minimum temperatures are generally around 10° C and maximums around a pleasant 25° C. With the change in seasons, the rain has officially disappeared so this month has been rain-less, although the vegetation is still benefitting from the previous rainfall.
As usual, Seba Camp is surrounded by some of the most beautiful vegetation seen in the Delta. Magnificent African mangosteen trees are always in full bloom, as are the sausage trees and sycamore figs. The large fever-berries also make for a different shade of light green. The marula trees are in full fruit, and this attracts many different creatures, small and large. The world-famous sausage trees are equally as impressive, with their magnificent large fruits hanging for all to see, and these in particular attract the Meyer’s Parrot, who enjoys ripping the hard flesh apart.
This month, the elephant have been the main attraction, with many bulls coming into the camp to feed on the falling marula fruits. The elephant are attracted to the very sweet smell of these fruits, and will stay in the immediate area as long as the trees are fruiting, followed closely by the baboon troops who are very entertaining as they quarrel and argue over who gets which snack. The vervet monkeys are much more inclined to eating the many fruits of the sycamore fig trees in the main area, often found munching away alongside the many Green Pigeons.
A small family of bushbuck can also be found prancing between the trees in camp, following in close proximity to the primates due to their higher vantage points for predator alert. Peter’s epauletted fruit bats are found elegantly floating around the fig trees at nightfall, almost at eye level due to the high main deck, and are a special sight as they fly from branch to branch searching for the ripest fruits to eat.
A lone hippo bull is also seen quite regularly munching and splashing away in the lagoon in front of camp. Lion have been spotted several times, and leopard are also making their presence known in the immediate area. Hyaena are regular visitors to the camp, and many guests have witnessed their strange beauty as they lumber past the main area during dinner time.
A very exciting day for the guests occurred with Matamo, one of our very experienced guides, on a drive. He spotted several oxpeckers flying from a beautiful baobab tree, and told his guests that there were most likely buffalo in the area. Sure enough, as they followed them, the birds flew straight onto a herd of buffalo. The guests continued to follow the buffalo, and soon were rewarded with an even more incredible spectacle – a beautiful leopard sleeping in a tree. Experience proved to be everything, and Matamo’s brilliant knowledge and skill was rewarded tenfold by that amazing experience.
On the cold-blooded side of the scale, very few reptiles have been found this month due to the change in weather. As it gets colder the exothermic creatures are moving around less and making it more difficult to spot them. The crocodiles are still around the many channels though, and they create lots of excitement among the guests.
The magnificent Abu Concession is phenomenal when it comes to birdlife. Around Seba Camp, there have been many different species spotted, particularly the water birds which make the lagoon in the front of camp their home. Species such as Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Green-backed Herons, Pygmy Geese, African Jacanas, Red-billed Teals and African Crakes are but a few of the aquatic species that have been spotted around the camp.
An uncommon sight that was found during a drive was a beautiful Striped Kingfisher, and although the migratory Woodlands Kingfishers have left the Okavango, some have remained behind.
Many Common Scimitarbills are also found in the camp, along with their cousins the Green Wood-Hoopoe. Bearded Woodpeckers are also heard and seen knocking in the trees around camp. A beautiful African Harrier-Hawk made its appearance during tea one day, and due to the constant badgering from the Fork-tailed Drongos, his beautiful characteristic yellow face turned a pale shade of red, indicating his constant annoyance from the diving drongos. Another unusual spot was the White-browed Coucal which was found rummaging through the bushes outside Tent 1.
Newsletter by James Moodie