So amazing how the animals know their area. For the 3rd year in a row the elephant we know as Sam has moved into camp for the Jackalberry fruiting season. At this time of year Bushman Plains becomes his favorite restaurant. We are sure he even recognizes our different staff members by their voices. Thrilling for us and our guests!
In January we took a safari with our staff exploring our area for four days. As two of our Bushman owners, Ola and Dicks, both guided in this area for many years when they worked at Mapula Lodge (the only other camp driving here) they know every nook and cranny of the place, but it was good to show the rest of the team the prime locations in preparation for our September 1st opening.
Wow, did the area deliver! In the first 24 hours we found a pride of a dozen lions, a cheetah, African wild dogs and a huge male leopard – amazing to have the full diversity of major predators. We were not surprised as it seems each time we travel to our prime camp site to bring in supplies lions and wild dogs are seen. We had a great morning with a cheetah that was interested in hunting. Problem for her was a herd of zebra were keeping her in view and often following her. This was already making her very conspicuous to any potential prey but the situation became hopeless
when a side-striped jackal arrived on the scene and began a repetitive warning yelp that frustrated the cheetah. This was very interesting to see as we Bushmen often hear jackals at a distance and can recognize the specific calls that indicate they are trailing a predator. We share this info with our guests and sure some wonder how we can be sure. Now we have the video showing the jackal and cheetah together with the echoing call of the jackal as evidence of this behavior. The stunning sable antelope was a common site for us, observed on seven out of eight game drives and also seen right from our campsite – as were elephant and wild dog. Our area, along with nearby Vumbura, is the most reliable area in the Okavango for observing sable.
Our scouting safari had a big finish when a pack of African wild dogs passed right by our campsite in the late afternoon on a hunting mission. We were able to follow them for a long time as they scoured the bush for hunting opportunities. They had a good run at a herd of impala but came up short and our view finished with them relaxing under a rainbow. As we do our final set up of the camp in August we expect to be able to track the wild dogs to find their den and have the company of puppies as this area has long been a top denning area for this endangered predator.