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Toka Leya Camp

June 16, 2014 Southern Africa Bush Tails

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. 


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.