This July game and camp report comes to us from our friends at Wilderness Safaris and Xigera Camp.
Hot water bottles, blankets and ponchos continue to be a great hit this winter, with temperatures dropping to as low as 7⁰ C at night and during the mornings. The campfire has been the perfect venue for cosy gatherings in the chilly mornings and evenings, with hot chocolate and coffee being the order of the day.
Water levels continue to drop after having reached their peak in May, and every day we need to reach a little lower to climb into the boats and mokoro.
At this time of year, when the water levels are still high, all the guest activities are centred around boating and mokoro rides.
Guests continue to be mesmerised by the awe-inspiring beauty of the area, and the chance to enjoy the exquisite vegetation, as well as the smaller animals such as frogs. Viewing hippo and elephant from a mokoro is also a special experience that leaves one with a sense of relaxation and harmony. Guests going out by boat on day trips towards Chief’s Island have been lucky enough to spot lion crossing the water as well as the elusive Pel’s Fishing-Owl.
Game viewing in general has been prolific, with regular sightings of giraffe, kudu, red lechwe, bushbuck, hippo, elephant and crocodile, among other species. A number of elephant have become comfortable around camp and often spent time feeding and sleeping around the camp. An old giraffe has also taken refuge around the camp, and was seen browsing off the trees above the tents daily.
Birds and Birding
The abundance of general bird life in this area, makes Xigera a haven for birdwatchers. Even the guests who are not avid birders have commented on the variety and quality of avian sightings, and how birding has opened another dimension to their safari experience.
As mentioned above, we have had various sightings of Pel’s Fishing-Owl, as a pair have begun nesting along one of the water courses. Other regular specials include the Slaty Egret.
The past couple of months have seen a hive of activity behind the scenes, with numerous renovations and upgrades taking place, most of which are now complete.
Our brand new walking bridge sports a drawbridge that now allows boats to pass through, even with water levels at their peak. On the other side of the dining area we have created our famous ‘sand pit’: a patch of sand that captures the tracks of any animals that may walk over the bridge and into camp. So far it seems that only the monkeys have been brave enough to make the crossing. There have been a number of leopard tracks milling around the bridge; possibly the elusive felines are still wary about the new bridge.
The main area has also undergone redesign with the bar now looking onto the channel. The buffet area has been repositioned and a small, cosy library area has now been included. A new, lower foot-bridge (with drawbridge mechanism to allow boats to pass) has also being built to avoid disturbing the view from camp. A new star deck has also been built for dinners, star talks and private dinners.
Perhaps most exciting of all has been the installation of our new solar power system. This system means that we can now provide the whole main camp with power generated by the sun, allowing us to do away with diesel-guzzling generators, and so further reduce our carbon footprint adding to a true ecotourism experience.
Photos courtesy Wilderness Safaris