Weather and Landscape
The cold winter eventually arrived at Kwetsani in mid-June, the temperature dropping from the pleasant average high of 27° C in the day to 22°C, meaning that the nights have become snuggle nights, as the guests gladly hold onto their hot water bottles going to bed and on the game drives, until about 9am, when the temperature becomes warm enough to remove all the layers. Strangely enough, the cold weather arrived with a strong wind, so that the following morning, the water that was covering the roads in front of camp receded, leaving the roads dry, which is something we have not witnessed over the past two years.
Kwetsani, being situated in a place where we are privileged to be able to traverse both Hunda and Jao Islands, has excellent predator viewing opportunities, as well as all the ‘usual’ plains game and elephant and buffalo herd sightings. Our enthusiastic guides, MT and GT, who have been on duty for June, have done a great job of imparting their knowledge of every aspect of this awesome wilderness area that we live in to our guests.
The Jao lionesses have been hanging out to the north of Kwetsani for a while, but this month passed by the front of camp one afternoon, much to our delight, being courted by the new dominant male – a really handsome beast. All the resident females were still coy and in submissive mode, meaning that this new brute has just managed to convince them that he is the guy for them. They have subsequently moved on to Jao Island, which is comfortable territory for them, and where they made a kill at the airstrip – as we all know the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – and in about three months’ time we can expect a new litter of cubs. At another sighting, two young male lions were seen on Hunda Island protecting a buffalo kill from the opportunistic hyaena.
The leopard sightings continue to be magnificent. This month our guests have really enjoyed viewing these regal felines in all of their glory – either stretched out on a tree limb, or on a termite mound, or relaxing under the shade of a tree, or simply strolling from one place to another. Seeing three leopards together on one morning was an amazing sighting which the guests could just not stop talking about. However, the very shy female leopard has eluded us, just leaving her tracks as well as those of her young cub quite close around camp. We have not seen this leopard yet but she is definitely around. On one occasion she killed an impala very close to Tent 1, but was soon robbed by a clan of wily hyaena – the evidence was in the tracks and sounds which were heard under the cover of darkness – the hyaena celebrated by giggling and cackling. Ending the great run of leopard sightings in June was an encounter between a leopard and a honey badger. Eventually the formidable badger backed off and strolled away. This amazing encounter was witnessed by a number of guests.
The resident banded mongoose family has thrilled all this month as they have provided some outstanding photographic opportunities. On one occasion we had the opportunity to watch these critters confront an Anchieta’s cobra. A brief battle followed, but the nimble band quickly neutralised the snake and fed on it.
General game sightings have been very good, as many impala are venturing onto the drying floodplains while the lechwe have been concentrating in the water-logged areas. Hippo too have been seen often as they have spread out all over the area. Elephant sightings have been good, especially around the camp and some impressive herds of buffalo have been moving through the area. Finally, zebra and giraffe sightings have been abundant.
“Lovely atmosphere, mostly because of Dan and Charmaine and all the great staff. Loved the tree house, room, fabulous activities and food. We leave with wonderful memories and tears of joy.”
“Leopards! A few amazing leopard sightings were easily amongst the best sightings on the trip. The staff at camp was also very entertaining and insightful. Loved Dan’s photography.”
“Environment, lodge accommodations, staff and food exceeded our expectations. We spent about an hour watching a leopard that MT spotted from so far away in a tree. Our guide was excellent-knowledgeable.”