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The Secret to the Perfect Safari? Provide the Most Amazing Guides in Africa

At AAC we pride ourselves on having personal relationships with safari guides in the top game reserves across Africa---it's one of the things that makes us unique in the safari industry. 
We travel to Africa and meet with guides when they’re first starting out in the industry, and then keep in close contact over the years, including offering opportunities to begin specialist guiding trips, educational scholarships not only to the guides we work with, but also to their children. We develop relationships that span the boundaries of continents and time, and we know when they guide a safari that they will provide our clients a trip of a lifetime.

Here's a snapshot of just one recent Botswana safari with one of our favorite guides, Brooks: 


“Having Brooks guide us through Linyanti and the Savute channel was a special treat. His deep knowledge of the wildlife generally, and the specific lion prides and leopards that we were seeing in the area, was so impressive and helped us appreciate the amazing wildlife interactions that we were viewing. The walking safari with Brooks was a real highlight of the trip - we learned so much being on the ground close to the tracks and trees and other fauna that we had been observing for days from the jeep. We also very much enjoyed Brooks' presentation on the political history of Botswana and also on the unique ecosystem of the Okavango Delta.”

-- Josh Berman and Providence Spina (AAC Clients)

"We had another great trip. Saw lots of animals again with the big 5 in one day! Mombo was great and so was Chitabe. Brooks was excellent; thanks for securing him!" 

-- Rod Kuo and family (AAC Clients)


"The guides were wonderful, and added greatly to the experience. This was especially true of our guide at Chitabe – Brooks – who was absolutely exceptional. I understand that he may have been assigned to us specifically because we were clients of yours...that alone made it worthwhile to have been dealing with you!!" 

-- Doug and Deborah Owram/Peter and Heather Eddison (AAC Clients)

Brooks Kamanakao, replies:

“I always feel honored to get a guiding request from AAC and will always do my best to give your guests a fantastic time. Looking forward to the 2015 season!”

Thanks to Brooks for another amazing Botswana safari! To travel with Brooks, or another one of our personally selected guides, let us know.

Botswana Safari Spotlight: Wilderness Safaris

Wondering about a Botswana safari? Where to go, what to see, what to do? Consider us your personal TripAdvisor – we’ve got all the details on what’s wild and wonderful right now in the Botswana bush. To give you an in-depth, insiders report, AAC’s South Africa-based consultant Yvonne Christian spent an immersive stay at Wilderness Safaris’ camps and we have the details just for you. Get ready to get inspired!



Wilderness Safaris – A Select Camp Guide, Winter 2015 

Note: Many of these camps are featured in our two programs --

12 Day Best of Wilderness Wing Safari (Premier) and

12 Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari (Classic Camps)


Chitabe Lediba – rating: 10

What we love: A stylish and comfortable camp with beautiful rooms – this is also a solid choice when traveling with kids, with a well-designed family unit that features interconnecting passageways.

Highlights of the game drives and walks include giraffes so relaxed they walk right along with the safari jeep, not to mention multiple leopard sightings.

Overall impression: It’s hard not to enjoy this very relaxing and welcoming camp.


DumaTau – rating: 9

What we love: If you’re an elephant enthusiast, you won’t want to miss DumaTau where you’ll see elephants swimming across the water channels and lining the water's edge as you head out on boat excursions, one of the highlights of the property. (The setting is similar to Chobe, but without the hordes of other people!)

You can also take a sunset cruise on a barge or arrange a private brunch cruise. For an intimate night with the elephants, overnight stays are possible in the hide.

Overall impression: A well-run camp with a large number of attentive staff, plus fantastic elephant encounters.


King's Pool – rating: 10

What we love: Twitchers take note: Carmine bee-eaters are a fantastic sighting here! This is an incredibly well run camp, with a quiet efficiency that reflects the top class management team. There’s excellent game viewing here as well on both walking and driving safaris. Take a sunset cruise on the Queen Sylvia barge (insider tip, if you ask, they’ll set up an overnight on the barge as well).

Overall impression: You’ll feel incredibly welcome at this newly renovated bush lodge with truly professional service.

Mombo – rating: 9

What we love: Attention to detail is what makes Mombo a star in the bush; for example, meeting guests on their drive into camp with a sunset cocktail or arranging wonderful breakfasts in the bush. Guides are also exceptional here, with tracking skills that revealed on our stay not only three separate prides of lion, but also a black rhino (who has a young calf), and Legadema, a literal superstar of the bush featured in National Georgraphic documentaries, and her cub.

Staff is another highlight at this luxe camp, whether it’s an informative rhino talk by the camp manager or the camp host sharing insight into her culture.

Note: We took away a point for the noisy baboons and a loud nest around our tent, but your experience will probably be more serene.

Overall impression: Wonderful staff and amazing wildlife sightings make this a special spot in the bush.


Seba – rating: 10

What we love: A great option when traveling with children, with really nice family units, and, even more important, staff that loves kids, and who kids love back (we’ve heard of children crying when it was time to leave this little paradise). Game viewing is by drives or mokoros, and Abu Camp and its fabulous elephant interaction are nearby (they can be enjoyed when booked as separate stay at Abu Camp).

Overall impression: Passionate guides and impressive service from a staff that goes above and beyond makes this a great fit for kids or kids at heart (so everyone who enjoys the bush!)


Tubu Tree Camp – rating: 9

What we love: Choose from driving, walking, boating, and mokoro excursions for excellent giraffe and large zebra herd sightings. Rangers are so skilled at traversing the area they can even get you close enough to view a Lilac Breasted Roller having a dust bath just feet from the vehicle.

If you’re looking to spend even more time enjoying the outdoors, Tubu offers fishing, as well as overnights on a platform under the stars.

NOTE: Hold on to your hats; rides are extra bumpy here due to raised viewing seats and roads that need a bit of upkeep.

Overall impression: Tubu is a well-run camp with a homey atmosphere and multiple options for game viewing.

Vumbura Plains North – rating: 10


What we love: Wildlife, wildlife, wildlife --- this lodge has some of the most amazing animal sightings we’ve ever encountered, including, on our visit, lions and their cubs, wild dogs, and a herd of some 2,000+ buffalo.

However, no creature comfort is lost when you’re seeing, well, the creatures: One morning on our way back to camp we were met out in the bush and served passion fruit sorbet! And on our last night, we were given an elegant farewell private dinner.

Overall impression: Amazing animal sightings, plus top-notch service, makes this a winning stay.

Xigera – rating: 7


What we loved: The camp is in a beautiful area with one of the best water programs, featuring boating and mokoro trips, in addition to driving safaris. The bird life is terrific, including sightings of Pel’s Fishing Owls, and there are plenty of animals in the area.

However, we’d love to see the food improved a bit and an upgrade in service.

Overall impression: Lovely setting, great water options, but needs some TLC in the food and service departments.

But wait, there’s more:

Jao Camp – Although we didn't get a chance to overnight here this trip, we were impressed by Jao’s luxurious spa and fantastic food when we stopped in; a few of the reasons it’s one of our perennial favorites.



Coming soon, Wilderness’ new Gomoti Tented Camp – here’s our quick “sneak peak” just for AAC readers.


Yvonne says: “The flight in over the Gomoti River is spectacular, with large herds of buffalo and elephant, and from all accounts the game viewing is excellent, they've even had a pack of wild dog drinking from the water hole in front of the camp on a number of occasions!

This is a vintage-style camp, with tents on the ground and basic facilities; the rooms are solar powered and the kitchen is on a generator.

When game viewing goes into full swing here, there will be both driving and walking safaris, plus mokoro boating options a short distance from the camp."


Season's Greetings from The Africa Adventure Company

We extend our gratitude for a successful 2014, and a toast to African travels in 2015!

With wild wishes,

Mark and Alison Nolting & the AAC Team

 Read more on AAC Making A Difference


Vundu Camp, Mana Pools Newsletter

With camp officially closed, our hard working staff have returned home for some rest, relaxation and much needed time spent with their families. We take some time to look back on a successful 2014 season where we have met an array of interesting people from all over the world, many of whom we are privileged to call friends by the end of their stay with us. 


Top 10 Family Safaris

Travel+Leisure has recognized us in the prestigious World’s Best Awards (safari outfitter to plan family safaris) and in their A-List for a 5th year in a row. Also chosen 11 years in a row as one of the World’s Top Travel Specialists in Conde Nast Traveler, Mark Nolting is the “go to” person for family safaris! Let our team of consultants begin planning.

Top 10 Family Safaris 
We love working with families and helping them design their dream safaris for multi-generational trips. 

~Priced from $2750.00 per child (ages 6-16) /  $6495.00 per adult
Brooks Kamanakao is our “go to” guide when booking a private Botswana safari. Let him regale you and the family with Run Rhino Run stories about conservation efforts for the rhino that are in place through Wilderness Safaris and Great Plains in the Okavango Delta.

12-Day Wildlife Safari to Southern Africa
~Priced from $5250.00 per teen/ $5850.00 per adult
Mashatu, in southern Botswana, has been part of the Northern Tuli Predator Project started in 2007. It focuses mainly on the study of lions and leopards. Additional large carnivore species have also since been selected for further studies, including spotted hyenas and cheetah. The local guides will identify many of the Predators during your family safari.

15-Day “Diamond Skies” Safari to South Africa
~Priced from $9195.00 per adult
Tswalu Kalahari is a pristine Reserve that offers a safe haven for many endangered and rare species while protecting an area of unique diversity and beauty. They were awarded the World Wildlife Fund - Lonmin Award for environmental conservation. From meerkats to porcupines, Tswalu is an awe inspiring destination!

16-Day Iconic Visions Safari to Sout hern Africa
~Priced from $6095.00 per adult
Discover whales and penguins in Cape Town, the big and little 5 at a private game reserve in Kruger, village visits at Victoria Falls, the “Elephant without Borders” project that is active in the Chobe River ecosystem, and the iconic sand dunes of Sossusvlei of Namibia.

14-Day Family Adventure to Zimbabwe
~Priced from $4895.00 per teen / $5450.00 per adult
Victoria Falls is one of the 7 Natural Wonders and is your stepping off point for this Adventure safari. Explore the Zambezi River by boat, rock climb through the Bushmen art in the caves of Matobo Hills, and experience sitting, surrounded by elephant at a watering hole hide in Hwange. A great trip for families who also want to include a day to volunteer at a school or orphanage.

14-Day ‘Family Wildlife and Wilderness’ Safari to Tanzania
~Priced $4650.00 per teen / $7295.00 per adult
Two highlights include 1) Kisima Ngeda where Chris and Nani do so many wonderful things for the Hadzape and Datoga people living in the area to improve their lives. 2) Sleeping Under Canvas on the Serengeti Plains – an ever important ecological environment that needs your support to stop the pressure of development around the park.

12-Day ‘Under Tanzania Skies’ Safari
~Priced from $6450.00 per teen / $6995.00 per adult
Traveling on this safari supports the Ndarakwai Concession. Situated in the foothills of Kilimanjaro, it is the perfect start for a family embarking out on their safari. Thomas will guide you through the Masai villages and schools, affording you an outdoor classroom lesson on the community working in partnership with conservation. The ideal place to do a day or two of volunteering!

12-Day Mara Explorer to Kenya and Tanzania
~Priced from $4450.00 per person / based on family of 3
Guests stay at Mara Intrepids where we will to request Samson as your guide. He has been in the area for many years and is the King of Story-telling and how nature plays out in the open plains of the Mara ecosystem. Let him introduce you to the Mara Marsh Pride of lions!

14-Day Kenya Explorer Privately Guided Safari
~Priced from $5750.00 teen / $6475.00 per adult / based on family of 3
Experience first-hand the efforts of Ian Douglas Hamilton and Save the Elephants in Samburu, the Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Sanctuary at Sweetwaters, the conservation of Black Rhino in the Mara Triangle, and finish with a visit to Dame Daphne Sheldrick and her elephant orphanage in Nairobi!

14-Day Lodge Safari and Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
~Priced from $6550.00 per adult
Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For those 15 years or older, venture off into the Volcanoes National Park - home to over 10 habituated families of gorillas. There is much good work being done in Africa to conserve the forest habitats for both gorillas and chimpanzees – give your support too!

Davison’s Camp - June 2014

Climate and Landscape
Not many of us can remember an April that was as green as this year in Hwange – the vegetation is still thick and only now do the grasslands have a hint of soft gold as the tops of the grasses dry out. There are still little bursts of colour with the dwindling wild flowers – Pretty Lady, Witch Weed and Blue Comelina to name a few. The waterhole in front of camp is still thick with reeds, home to a little family of white-faced ducks, a lone grey heron and some very noisy Egyptian geese. The tiny cream-green flowers of the false mopane have been pollinated and fat shiny bean-like pods have taken their place, while the velvet chocolate brown pods of the teak trees are already well on their way. The remaining natural waterholes and puddles are becoming muddy spas for a multitude of game, much to the indignation of the resident terrapins.

And just when we thought the rains had moved on, the crisp blue April skies clouded over and we had a number of late showers – 83 mm in total! With Hwange winters renowned for their chill, these surprise downpours cooled things down much quicker and much earlier and guests were delighted to find a hot water bottle in their beds in the evenings once they had torn themselves away from the fire. Midday temperatures were still pleasant, even reaching 30 Celsius at the beginning and end of April, which meant sarongs and shorts by the pool during the hottest time of the day, and then beanies and scarves as night-time temperatures dipped as low as 10 Celsius. One evening while guests were still on their night drive back into camp, they saw the most incredible shooting star, a large pale green light falling to the south with a trail of white sparks following it.

Despite the rains lingering and the thick flora, sightings this month have been unbelievable and the lions certainly have taken centre stage. There are a number of prides around and within the Wilderness Safaris concessions in Hwange, and all have been seen on numerous occasions. 

a lion hunting group of lioness

One lioness which seemed to have been separated from her pride was seen feasting off an adult zebra kill one morning – a testament to the strength of these cats that she managed to bring it down by herself. When the guides went out in the afternoon, the clouds were heavy with rain and it was drizzling as they got to the carcass – which was now dominated by six hyaena, with the lioness watching cautiously from the sidelines. When the rain came down in earnest the hyaena disappeared and the drenched lioness reclaimed her meal.

The two young black-maned males who took over the pride usually seen at Linkwasha have been exceptionally vocal in and around camp. Wake-up calls were a matter of form, not necessity, quite a few times as these two made their presence heard, with deep roars before the sun had even peeped over the horizon. Their pride of 18 consists of about five beautiful females, some sub-adults and cubs along with two tiny additions. Often guides would pick up the flick of an ear or tail in a blue bush and spot one of the pride hidden away. Then, after stopping the vehicle and allowing guests’ eyes to become accustomed to the mottled light, the shapes of lion after lion would emerge. 

There hasn’t been much evidence of successful hunts and we were all concerned about the cubs getting nourishment, until one evening when two guests and their guide were coming back into camp and they heard a commotion in the thick teak woodland they were driving through. They couldn’t see what was happening but the cracking and rustle of small bushes, the loud bellows of a buffalo and the low growls of the lions painted a pretty clear picture of what was taking place. The following day the lions arrived with very round stomachs to drink from the waterhole right in front of camp.

We had a succession of amazing wild dog experiences over three days in April too. When first spotted they were attempting to bring down a waterbuck but they were unsuccessful; however the following day they were seen again with full bellies and in a heap of snoozing bodies in the shade of a leadwood tree. The next day we couldn’t believe it when one of the housekeepers came from the staff rooms at the back of camp saying that the dogs had sprinted past him in hot pursuit of a kudu – everyone ran to see if they were still close by or if anything could be heard but there was only spoor left. We went back to the office only to be called by one of the waiters saying the dogs were in front of camp and had made a kill! Guests and staff were lucky to see the dogs tucking in and then some running off with scraps of meat to enjoy on their own, until finally all eight went to lie in the shallows of the pan to cool off as the day heated up.

Plains game has been abundant with a small dazzle of zebra making its home right in front of camp. Good herds of eland were seen a few times at Ngamo vlei and lovely sable sightings were recorded too – once a herd of over 20, including small brown calves. Herds of buffalo have also been seen frequently, their great charcoal shapes plodding out of the treeline towards the pans. The elephant are all looking very round and healthy, clearly still enjoying the abundance of food and water available. Some guests were lucky enough to have had sightings of roan and gemsbok, as well as the smaller crowd-pleasers like bat-eared foxes, dwarf mongoose and genet.

Wildlife percentages for April: lion 63%, eland 37%, elephant 97%, buffalo 80%, giraffe 73%, sable 17%, side-striped jackal 53%, leopard 7%

Birds and Birding
As it starts to cool off the summer migrants are all starting to move north, but the birdlife in and around camp is still fantastic. The saddle-billed storks and spoonbills are still wading through the pans, stirring up something to eat, while the teals, white-faced ducks and Egyptian geese leave little wakes as they paddle across the water. A juvenile African harrier-hawk has been loitering around camp and has been seen a few times with his talons and beak reaching down into holes and fissures in the trees in search of insects and reptiles hidden away. 

bird drinking water beautiful relaxing view from the camp

A pair of eastern black-headed orioles was seen perched on the top of a false mopane – the male a gorgeous, bright, daffodil yellow with a black mask. We’ve also seen racket-tailed rollers on a few occasions, the magnificent colour of these birds distracts from their not-so-melodious song, while the watery warbles of the Retz’s and white-crested helmet-shrikes are much softer on the ears as they’ve been seen flocking through the trees. The martial eagles this month have displayed their strength and size – one was seen swooping down on an unsuspecting francolin, there was a burst of feathers on impact and then off he flew with his prize. Another was seen in an act of sheer arrogance attacking a kori bustard, the heaviest flying bird – and the martial won!

Camp Activities
April started in a frenzy to complete the new main lounge and dining areas, as well as a new front deck and upstairs viewing platform. The varnish had just dried and the last wood chips swept away as our first guest arrived and it’s been all systems go since! We welcomed another new member to the team, professional guide Elliot Nobula, who has vast experience in this industry and we are very happy to have him on board.

camp activities lounge area camp activities chairs and lounge

Toka Leya Camp

Climate and Landscape 
The wet season is nearing its end although we experienced quite a rainy fortnight at the beginning of the month. We now have beautiful blue and starry skies, the norm in Africa’s dry season. Once again it has been wonderful to be out in the evenings looking at the stars, though most of all we enjoy being able to sit around the fire and catch up on the day’s happenings without fear of being caught by the rain. 

The Zambezi River came down with very brown water for a while before the colour changed. We noticed a very rapid rise of the levels and this has created a fantastic new habitat for the waders. The mighty Zambezi is currently the perfect place for birders – all of whom have all come back to provide us with very healthy lists of both new and old sightings. 

elephant bathing in water a monkey on a tree branch bird on a perch
hippopotamus bathing in toka leya camp giraffe in toka leya camp, africa-adventure

Not only is the river the place to see feathered characters but all sorts of different species have also been recorded on the game drives, either perched in the lovely, lush green trees, flying around or in the multitude of newly-formed waterholes which are still brimming. Coming back to camp from an afternoon sundowner stop on the Zambezi, guides were amazed to spot a huge crocodile, way inland from the river. This was a great learning lesson for some of the young guides who had never seen a croc away from the river. Although this seemed unbelievable these creatures do frequently move from one water source to another and several sightings have been recorded. 

Whilst we have not seen too many elephants around Toka Leya this month, we have recorded some of the most sightings ever of elephants crossing the river or moving from one island to another. Many guests actually expressed concern about the strength of the current relative to the size of some of the elephants that braved the strong currents and crossed from one side of the river to the other. 

What we didn’t see in elephant numbers around the camp has been more than compensated by the number of giraffe sightings recorded at Toka Leya. These beautiful animals have been very cooperative, allowing some great photographs without bothering too much about our presence. As usual the hippo sightings on the Zambezi are arguably amongst some of the best in the country. 

The news of Toka Leya sightings would be incomplete without the mention of the wonderful baby rhino which we couldn’t get a great view of last month as the mother was so protective. With time she has become much more relaxed and cooperative and we had some of our greatest moments with this little beast who we are all wishing long life in the park. 

As usual we have had a few guests who have been on safari for a couple of weeks and seen all the cats and elephant, etc., but buffalo have eluded them somehow (possibly due to the tall grasses at this time of year). The size of the park works in our favour as most of these travellers complete their sightings at the end of their trip here with probably one of the best buffalo sighting of their safari as the buffalo herds here are very relaxed and used to the vehicles. The park also offers a wonderful opportunity for white rhino sightings.

Ten Through the Lens of James Moodie

the eyrefield pride playing in the sand river
The Eyrefield Pride play in the Sand River

This week’s images are through the lens of ranger James Moodie . He has captured some amazingly stunning pictures of wild cats and other game seen at MalaMala.


The Airstrip Male lays claim to an impala kill
The Airstrip Male lays claim to an impala kill

cheetah siblings pose for a shot
Brother and sister pose for a shot

zebras on the western bank
Zebras on the western bank

The Airstrip Male ascends a weeping boerbean
The Airstrip Male ascends a weeping boerbean

cheetah running away from warthog
Predator becoming prey

a young cheetah at dusk
A young cheetah at dusk

A pack of fifteen cape hunting dogs
A pack of fifteen cape hunting dogs

An alert lioness watches a waterbuck in the distance
An alert lioness watches a waterbuck in the distance

a photo of cheetahs in Flockfield by Nic Moxham
The Battle of the Predators for Flockfield, by ranger Nic Moxham

Elephants and buffalo in eastern Flockfield
Elephants and buffalo in eastern Flockfield

This winter we are bound for some epic duals. As the land dries up, the struggle for territory intensifies and predators must battle for the right to prevail in one of nature’s harshest seasons while looking to stamp their claim on this bountiful piece of land in the heart of MalaMala: Flockfield.

Zebra and impala graze on a summer's day in Flockfield
Zebra and impala graze on a summer's day in Flockfield

An extremely rare sighting of a Sable Antelope in Flockfield
An extremely rare sighting of a Sable Antelope in Flockfield

Situated on the central parts of the property, Flockfield is a farm of two lights. In the west, the river promotes growth and life flourishes. The lower reaches of the Kapen River and the Tamboti Thickets are prime areas for leopards and
their prey. Tall mahogany trees provide an ideal loft for an unlucky bushbuck, and the thick undergrowth presents the perfect cover to hunt. In the east water and shade give way to grass and sky as green turns to yellow. Open plains offer cheetah sufficient ground to gather speed, and lions will look to take advantage of the vast territorial space. It is prime property and predators and prey must find a way to make it their own.

The Bicycle Crossing Male sleeps soundly on a tree
The Bicycle Crossing Male sleeps soundly

So we begin with the leopards, and the boss of Flockfield: the Bicycle Crossing Male. “The Bike” – as he is affectionately known in these parts – is a MalaMala legend. He has been the dominant male in Flockfield for almost a decade now, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He walks with obvious confidence and fears little. Recently we w
atched him side-stepping his way through a herd of buffalo as he tried to catch a bellowing buffalo calf. He taunted with the large bulls that were blocking his way through, and eventually he was chased off. We also found him alongside the Treehouse Male and an unidentified Female leopard at Dudley crossing last month. The female tried, in vain, to mate with the Treehouse Male and the Bicycle crossing Male chased her off several times. Eventually she realised that mating with the older male was the wiser option. He is the one that all want to be like, an immaculate example of the ultimate predator. But he is old now. At fourteen years in September, he will begin to feel the lack of exuberance and power that he once possessed in his prime. So who will benefit from the passing of this great?

Currently there are four young leopards in this area that pose a threat. We have talked a lot about the Treehouse Male and his confrontations with the Bicycle Crossing Male over the last year. But there are still more viable contenders.

The Treehouse Male with a bushbuck kill at the Treehouse
The Treehouse Male with a bushbuck kill at the Treehouse

At five and a half years old now, the Newington Male will be looking to establish a territory with available females to mate with. He is a big leopard and is beginning to take the shape of his father, the Princess Alice Pans Male. Over the past year he has been crossing east through the Sand River into Flockfield more regularly. It could be because of the pressure being put on him by his father, but he is a very valid threat to the Bicycle Crossing Male if he decides to challenge him.

The West Street Male on a tree
The West Street Male takes to a tree

Recently the West Street Male has been elusive. He has moved from his original home around West Street Bridge to establish himself in the more eastern parts of the reserve. He could also return closer to the Sand River in winter, and we wait to see if he challenges any of the younger leopards in Flockfield.

The River Rocks Male seems to have made western Charleston his home. He is also very familiar with the advantages of being dominant in Flockfield after been raised by his mother, the Dudley Female, in these parts. He could look to challenge if he decided to push north.

It’s not only the male leopards who have their eyes on Flockfield. There is also a race between the females in Flockfield.

The unidentified female cheetah in western Flockfield
The unidentified female in western Flockfield

A particular young female leopard was first seen opposite Rattray’s Camp last year. She appears to be between 6 – 8 years old with a paler complexion than most leopards. Over the past year she has been found mating with the West Street Male around Buffalo Pans and Paddy’s Pools, and was then seen mating with the Bicycle Crossing Male more recently. With the apparent disappearance of the Flockfield Female, she is the most likely contender to take over Flockfield. She was seen recently following the Daughter of the Dudley Female around Flockfield Lookout, keeping an eye on her possible future threats. She moved off scent-marking and roaring, a sure sign of her intention to stay.

The Dudley Female and cub
The Dudley Female and cub

The Daughter of the Dudley Female has been a common sight over the past couple of months. At just over two years old she lacks experience and has a noticeably nervous demeanor. She is a beautiful young female and will most probably be spending the winter within her mother’s territory hoping to avoid any potential threats. It will be an interesting winter for her and we wait to see whether she embraces her new lifestyle as an independent cat.

Lion confrontations should also intensify this winter.

A Fourways Male in motion
A Fourways Male in motion

Historically the Eyrefield Pride spends a lot of time in Flockfield during the winter. They cross the shallow river regularly to look for prey along the watercourse. They enjoyed a highly productive season last year with numerous buffalo, giraffe and kudu kills throughout western Flockfield and along the banks of the Kapen River. They did have an enc
ounter with the Fourways Pride during a buffalo hunt last winter and this type of interaction could be common in the future. The three strong males from the Fourways Pride are a considerable threat to the Eyrefield sub-adults, and the lionesses must be weary of this danger.

two lioness blending into their surroundings
The unidentified pride blending into their surroundings

Another pride has been seen frequenting these parts. They have nine members and generally enter in the east and make there way south through the central parts of the property. The pride consists of three lionesses, five sub-adult
males and one sub-adult female. The sub-adults appear older than the Eyrefield Pride sub-adults although the males lack the emerging manes. The lionesses are also relatively small and stocky and will struggle to match the bulk of the Eyrefield lionesses.

The Manyelethi Males have also been scarce. They have been enjoying a battle with another coalition in the west and are looking to possibly take over the two remaining prides in the western sector. We will see if the lack of the males’ presence in this area encourages new young males to make it their home.

A young male lion from the Fourways Pride
A young male from the Fourways Pride

- by: The MalaMala Ranger Team

Soccer in the Wilderness in Botswana

The Soccer coaching clinics held in Maun and Sankuyo village recently were facilitated by professional soccer player and CITW Ambassador, Gordon Gilbert. The event was organized by CITW Botswana and soccer teams from primary schools in Maun were invited:   the “Re ba bona Ha” which is a team of players from different schools who have shown potential in soccer playing brought 15 participants, Matshwane Primary, a private school, brought 16 participants and Shashe Primary School, one of the CITW schools in Botswana, brought 20 participants.  22 children from Sankuyo Primary School also participated in a clinic with Gordon.

Gordon Gilbert facilitating a soccer event for Re ba bona

The other teams which benefitted from the coaching clinic were the three teams from Wilderness Holdings - the Maun Donkeys from Wilderness Safaris, Wilderness Air team and the Northern Air Maintenance team.  The Sankoyo Bush Bucks team was invited but could not make it due to other commitments, but the Coach came for a briefing where he received some advice from Gordon on how to deal with pressure when in a soccer league.

Apart from the skills and drills the participants learned, Gordon also shared with them the importance of self-discipline and commitment when a person would like to achieve something in life. He gave a brief background on how he managed to become a professional player, and he agreed with the participants that it is not an easy task but it all goes back to an individual’s commitment.

He gave a brief talk on the importance of conservation and why the participants need to take care of the environment.   In a nutshell he encouraged the school children to take their school work seriously so that they can earn good grades which will enable them to go into tertiary schools.  Even if one is a very good athlete they still need education because an athlete’s active life span is very short: so education is the only key which can better our lives.

Franklin Wells for the World Community Boreholes – Zimbabwe
Franklin Wells for the World Foundation (FWWF) is a global leader in the production of water & fuelling systems. Their aim is to address the need for clean water systems and to provide long-term accessible and safe groundwater sources to at-risk communities in developing countries. In 2013 Children in the Wilderness and Rotary Club of Victoria Falls were approached by Mr Attie Jonker, Director of Franklin Electric in South Africa with regard to the donation & installation of boreholes at some of the community schools & villages that we are associated with in Tsholotsho & Victoria Falls.

villagers using installed boreholes by Franklin Wells for the World Community Boreholes

Once approval was received from the Zimbabwe Ministry of Education for exemption from import duties, FWWF successfully installed five boreholes with the necessary pumping equipment at Kapane, Mpindo, Jakalsi & Ziga Primary Schools (Tsholotsho), and Jabulani Primary School (Victoria Falls); a total project value of approximately US$77,000.00. These schools and the adjacent communities are now receiving beautiful fresh water every day; the implementation of these boreholes brings welcome relief to these dry & often barren areas and will help empower the communities to accommodate & care for themselves in a sustainable manner. During the handover ceremony a local Chief pointed out that his village had been there for almost a hundred years, but this was the first time they had access to the clear water that had been running deep below their feet.

A simple thank you does not adequately convey the level of gratitude that we all have for Franklin Wells for the World Foundation - their dedication and generosity to these five small rural communities has been humbling to say the least. Without their help, a project of this scale would quite simply not have been possible.

Ruckomechi Camp - June 2014

Climate and Landscape
There is still plenty of water, and the bush is beautifully green. The albida trees are in bloom, and are dropping their flowers everywhere while the evergreen mopane trees and natal mahogany trees add a lush green beauty to the landscape.

April has had rather unusual weather characterised by a few storms that resulted in a total of about 12 mm of rain being recorded. The beginning of the month was really hot with temperatures recorded in the mid-30s Celsius; this was shifted by the storms however, as they marked the approaching winter season with temperatures gradually changing after the storms. By end of the month, the mornings and evenings were noticeably cooler, though daytime temperatures are still warm.

The month has been very productive. All activities, be it on water or land, have been most eventful. We had excellent lion sightings on a number of activities, as well as enjoying their presence in camp on several occasions. This has given our guests a truly “wild’’ experience, and combined with a touch of nervous tension; all in all, the sightings have made for really special memories.

elephants in ruckomechi camp alligator in ruckomechi camp hyena in ruckomechi camp
elephant deep bathing and blowing water from its trunk lioness resting amur falcons perched on a tree

Large herds of buffalo have also been sighted on several occasions. The Mana elephants have not disappointed our guests, and on a few occasions have wandered into camp where they have put on some exciting “performances,” leaving our guests completely in awe. The hippo continuously sing us lullabies as we sleep at night. 

Leopards have also been sighted on a several drives. It seems as if we have a mating pair that is spending time around camp, and they have been seen on a few drives. We’ve also heard them calling during the night.  

Wildlife percentages for April: Cape buffalo 70%, elephant 93%, eland 13%, hippo 100%, giraffe 100%, kudu 77%, wild dog 3.3%, lion 53%, warthog 93%.

Birds and birding
Amur falcons have started flying in their numbers making our skies beautiful. They are quite fascinating to watch as they feed on termites. The other migratory birds that have been very visible are white storks, adding a splash of colour to our vlei. But these species will be leaving us for warmer climes; we hope to welcome them back again in spring. 

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