Well winter is upon Northern Botswana. The overnight lows are dipping to 5C but fortunately, and typically, midday temperatures rise to a very comfortable mid-twenties touching 30 degree Celsius. Even as the flood waters continue to push into the area, the dry season has begun; there hasn’t been a single drop of rain during June. Ironically, it’s during the dry season that the most free standing water is found.
The flow of water in the Okavango Delta system as well as the Linyanti Swamp system due to massive rains in Angola earlier in the year is resulting in higher than usual water levels in the Zibadianja Lagoon, Selinda Spillway and Savuti Channel. Yet winter continues and the “dry” season unfolds with many trees losing their leaves, vegetation being grazed and dying back revealing game sightings not often encountered during the wetter summer months which are characterized by much dense green vegetation.
With free standing water in the surrounding waterholes all but dried up, the concentration of game along the Zibadianja Lagoon and adjoining waterways is phenomenal.
There are large breeding herds of elephants (Loxodonta africana) moving in and out of the tree-line here to drink from the lagoon regularly. They have even come through camp, drinking in view of our deck pools which was an absolute spectacle for guests.
By far the highlight is the denning of the wild dog (Lycaon pictus) pack. The estimate is that on the 12th of June 2011, puppies were born in the same den used last year. There have been some awesome encounters with the dogs while they have hunted as far over as Zarafa Camp and have been moving around the edge of the lagoon and even seen on Joubert Island crossing shallow water towards their den.
At present the den site is closed to vehicles to give the dog puppies some time to settle. In the very near future though, guests will be able to have scheduled visits to the den and this will provide a once in a lifetime experience watching them rear their young puppies and all the super interactions between the members of the pack during this time. The adult pack have been hunting around camp frequently to the point where a young male impala (aepyceros melampus) was chased into the lagoon in front of the deck and stayed put in the water until long after sunset.
Photos Great Plains Conservation