If you are asked to sum up Duba Plains in a matter of words then more often than not Lions, Buffalo, exceptional photography, Dereck and Beverley Joubert and National Geographic’s The Last Lions come to mind.
The Lion and Buffalo interaction is world famous and we are one of the top places in Africa to see the kings of the jungle hunt. Contrasting to this our guide Spike and his lucky guests came a cross another battle amongst the titans involving a Honey badger and a Rock Python in March:
There are so many urban myths and stories told around the fire about Honey badgers. They are often referred to, pound for pound as the most ferocious mammal in Africa. Famed for fending off lions, and even killing buffalo, we have also heard of many stories about snakes and badgers fighting. One recent incident was of a puff adder biting a badger and the badger killed the snake. After being knocked unconscious the badger was revived, some say his lymph system is so developed to process the venom.
One evening Spike was returning to the camp and using a red filtered spot light they spotted two animals tussling in the short grass. After a closer inspection it turn out top be python fending off the badger. The python would be a real prize of a meal, especially as it was about three meters long. The python was lucky as behind it was an acacia tree allowing it to retreat to some height, beyond the badgers reach. Despite its size the badger would normally of eaten the snake, in this case it used its ace card of climbing trees to get him out of trouble.
Lets go boating, the flood allows us to explore the concession:
When the Okavango flood arrives is always very exciting for us. It brings in so many changes. We have seen a great drop in the water in March and as we approached the end of the month we have now seen a slow rise in the water giving us the signs of floods. The floods have become an annual reality for Duba and this is a fascinating season for a serene boat cruise in the Okavango waters as the rising levels allow us to access more areas in the concession. The clear water of the Delta, filtered by the papyrus roots and reeds will allow you to see the water creatures like water snails, many types of fish and even leaches. There are not many places on earth that you can witness leaches flow in the crystal clear waters.
You can see some great riverine sights from here on in as the flood arrives
Of course so many of our guests come for the Lion and Buffalo and we have seen many professional photographers and their groups arriving. It has been an interesting month for our operation as we had to move from the normal daily routines to cater for our guests’ special needs. It was business as usual though as we are specialists in the flexibility of being an adventurer, photographer or just someone who loves going off the beaten track. Instead of guests coming back to camp for any kind of service we rather availed everything for them in the bush. Guests will leave camp in the early hours of the morning and will only come back after the sun has gone down.
The fact about the bush is that nothing is predictable and nothing can be assured, therefore the rule is; be at the right place at the right time. Patience also plays a vital role. It takes a time and sweat to get a good picture, therefore maximising on the day always pays off in photography.
March was a difficult time for lions, being known for their opportunistic character, as the buffalos were in their peak of physical condition after the green season. They would rather take advantage of the calves or rather the mother coming to the rescue of a calf. There are thousands of Red lechwe at Duba Plains so the Lions were having their fill with them.
Leopards are normally spotted twice or three times in a year here in Duba but this has been a different month. This month alone we’ve had 3 leopard sightings and one was spotted holding a baby monkey in its mouth. The jackal berries and sycamore trees around camp have attracted baboons and monkeys. The alarm calls from these troops has helped find these magnificent cats as our guides would readily follow their call. Some leopards were spotted very close to camp predating on baboons.
We had some good sightings of the Bat eared fox this month with this one on the early morning hunt. Serval was another species seen more regulary than normal.