For more than 2 decades we have worked hand in glove with Wilderness Safaris in southern Africa… from their flagship Mombo Camp in Botswana to remote camps in Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe we have been fortunate to visit them all – most many times (and often in different iterations as they have been rebuilt over the years). Stunning stuff!
Here is the latest camp news as of July 2020:
Kwedi Concession – Vumbura Plains & Little Vumbura
Water levels are great at the moment – very high to be exact. All water activities are a go – boating and mokoro excursions. Driving is a bit tricky with all the water around, but a large part of the concession is still accessible and they have had great sighting on patrols.
Linyanti Concession – King’s Pool, DumaTau, Savuti and Linyanti Tented Camp
Water levels in the Linyanti are dropping. They had a small push via the Cuando from Angola but it did not last long. At the moment there is water about 8 km from Savuti, receding every week – last year this time, they had water well past the main area at Savuti Camp. It is likely they won’t be able to use the Queen Sylvia at King’s Pool by Oct/November if water levels continue to drop at the current rate. Boating activities will be fine in the lagoon at DumaTau.
The flood waters have arrived in the Chitabe concession and are steadily increasing in volume on a daily basis. The waters have now pushed past the front of Chitabe and Lediba and beyond the Lediba bridge crossing as well. They have also steadily pushed down the Gomoti channel spilling over into the floodplains along the river banks. Some of these areas have been dry for quite some time, so having water there again is creating a paradise. Game viewing at Chitabe has been outstanding!!!! The guides and staff are going on daily game drives and reporting great predator sightings, and seeing lions virtually on a daily basis. The various lion prides seem to have chosen giraffe as their preferred prey, as they have often been seen feeding on giraffe kills. The general game is superb with lots of zebras, elephants, hippos and huge herds of buffalos. Chitabe has also picked up lots of wild dog activity in the area and it appears that the dogs are looking to den in the concession again this year. Activities at this time of the year include game drives and guided walks.
Abu Concession – Abu & Seba
Abu flood levels are back in action with both Abu and Seba lagoons at full capacity and they are able to boat again. The game viewing is amazing from boat rides, the islands are full of wildlife, lots of hippos, crocs, elephants, zebra, buffalo (all in the water) and plenty plains game to be viewed along the channels.
Jao Reserve -Jao, Kwetsani, Tubu, Jacana, Pelo
The Jao Reserve is looking great and all the water for the season is in. It’s a good flood, not as great as 2010/11 or 2014/15 but it has still filled channels and is looking good. At Jao Camp there is boating from the camp jetty in front of the main area now and full boating activities are available including catch and release fishing. Mokoro excursions are available, about a 15 minute drive from the camp to the mokoro station. You can’t drive to Hunda Island anymore so it’s a 45 minute boat cruise from Jao camp to Hunda to join up with a vehicle for drives. Walks are available on request. At Kwetsani Camp there are full boating activities including catch and release fishing. Mokoro activities happen just north of the camp either a short drive or walk from camp. It’s a 20 minute boat cruise to Hunda for game drives on the island. Walks are available on request. For arrivals and departures into the airstrip, it is a 40 min boat cruise/transfer between camp and the airstrip jetty. At Tubu Tree/Little Tubu full boating and mokoro activities are back on offer. The boat jetty is a 15 minute game drive from camp and the mokoro station is a 20 min drive from camp. Game viewing and drives are really good. Walks are available on request. At Jacana Camp full boating and mokoro activities are available from the camp jetty and mokoro station, both of which are found in front of the main area. Catch and release fishing is also available. Limited game drives are available with a 15 minute boat cruise to the game viewer which then does the drives. The transfer to and from the airstrip is the same boat cruise and the drive is a 10 minute drive to the airstrip. Pelo Camp too is offering full boating and mokoro activities along with fishing. With water levels back to normal, this camp returns to a water based camp. The transfer to and from the airstrip is done by a 25 minute boat cruise to a jetty where a game viewer waits to do a 10 minute road transfer to the airstrip.
There was unexpected very good rainfall in a several areas between January and March! The southern regions received below-average rainfall, while the central-northern regions reported above-average rainfall with isolated patches of below-average rainfall.
The team advise that the water levels are still high enough to do boating and it’s not too cold up there. Various Himba tribes have started to garden on the Kunene river shores and are planting crops as part of their efforts to combat food scarcity. As the conservancy itself did not receive a lot of rain, many of the animals have migrated south but there are still a few springbuck, oryx and mountain zebra to be found of the bigger game.
Little Kulala and Kulala Desert Lodge
The cold front chilled these southern camps quite a bit, but berg winds or Oosweer can result in in heavy winds blowing which may lead to a few sandstorms on the Kulala Wilderness Reserve.
Desert Rhino Camp
The camp team has experienced some heavy fog in recent weeks – probably as a result of the cold front. This is, however, a much needed water source in the Palmwag concession. They are experiencing some very cold weather as well right now. One of the hyena mothers have left her cubs (who are now old enough) to fend for themselves. The SRT team are still actively working in the area to monitor the deserted adopted black rhino, especially in times like now their work plays a vital part in conservation.
The team has noted that it was rather cold and they experienced some fog clouds on the southern horizon and a cool breeze. The elephants are roaming in the river bed.
The elephants are still roaming in the river bed in the vicinity of De Riet. They are also experiencing cold weather and even had fog pushing in on the horizon.
Hoanib Skeleton Coast
Nights here are windy and mornings chilly while the afternoons are mildly warm. The lion cubs are still growing and doing well and the elephants are around, looking for fresh water sources. Emsie and Dr. Philip are both busy with their various research. Emsie reported that the cubs born to Stevie in February should be coming out of the den in the coming days so hopefully she has spotted them. Also Dr. Philip is very active in his research through collaring of more lions or advising on the proper setup of kraals that are more lion resistant.
Busanga Plains – there is still quite a lot of water on the Plains, although it is receding. Guides have been seeing massive crocodiles, lechwe, puku, buffalo and a large variety of birdlife.
Victoria Falls are looking really good and Zambezi River levels are high.
Mana Pools – all water based activities will operate as normal when the camps re-open.
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