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An incredible start to the year

Hi everyone and hope your year is progressing well and plans all on track. Our year has really been a whirlwind already and looking back it’s hard to believe that we are almost mid-way through, but I am sure we all say that each year. So a quick recap, my year on the guiding side started off with a safari watching the migration herds on the Serengeti which was as always incredible and from there a new destination for me, Rubondo Island on Lake Victoria, it is a beautiful Island and Lake, a great place to relax after a safari plus you can get in some chimpanzee viewing with a few other mammal species, sitatunga, hippos and bushbuck are common here plus a great bird list of both forest and shoreline birds.



From there it was Botswana which to me is at it's most beautiful when the rains start, we did have some rain on this safari and even had to move camp when the power supply was hit by lightning while we were out on a drive and added a whole lot of excitement to the safari with epic photos of cloudscapes as the rains rolled across. This as it turns out was some of the last rains good rains that the area had as Southern Africa endures a very tough dry year.



From Botswana my next safari was into Chad and Zakouma National Park, as always it was epic with incredible wildlife sightings and enormous flocks of birds which included a couple of new ones for the park and me. It was however very hot, more so than usual, but what is usual anymore? But despite the heat Zakouma remains one of my favorite safari areas..



Cambodia and Borneo were my next destinations, and what incredible places they are. In Cambodia we were there more for sightseeing at Angkor Wat – incredible place and vast believed to have been abandoned as a result of either climate change and the depletion of the local resources to support the population, we also added a bit of nature viewing in Mount Kulen NP as a precursor to the real safari on Borneo.




We were in the Sabah area which is on the Northeastern side of the Island and part of Malaysia, not sure the people see it that way, but that is the colonial history they are living with. This was such a fantastic experience for me, it was like being on my first safari as everything was new and fascinating – pygmy flying squirrels and flying frogs - amazing!!, it truly is an incredible place to visit and explore and I believe this is a destination I would like to offer my guests in the future, now that I understand a bit better how it all works and where to go. Let me know if you have ever thought about going there and we can make plans.



A quick stop back in Harare and then a walking safari across Gonarezhou, we did 5 nights out with the camp moving each night to a new site as we followed the Runde River downstream virtually from Chipinda Pools through to the Mozambique border. A wonderful safari with beautiful weather and lots of wildlife around camp and on our walks.



From there I quickly hopped over back to Botswana to do a similar safari that I did earlier in the year, but we did have the added bonus of seeing the start of the annual floods creeping into the Gomoti area in the South East of the Delta, each day you could see a bit more area covered by water, it certainly is no flash flood. We also had some great sightings of lions, leopard and cheetah and a real highlight for me, and my guests was having lions catch a warthog right next to the vehicle which gave my guests no time to prepare mentally for what they were about to see and hear as it all happened rather unexpectedly.



So now with a few days down time I am preparing for my next safaris in Hwange and Gonarezhou which I shall report back on in my next newsletter.

Some Good News – Ivan Carter who we work with very closely on the conservation experience safaris has just been awarded the San Antonio Zoo Conservationist of the year award. A reward for his very dedicated and no-nonsense approach to getting things done in the world of conservation.



Some other news – The effect of El Nino and La Nina weather systems is very big in Africa and this year it has been seen with particular force. The El Nino system now active has created massive droughts in Southern Africa and flooding in East Africa with dramatic scenes on the Mara River and other areas of Kenya. It is however predicted that later this year La Nina will come into effect which will reverse these effects, so Southern Africa should get better rains which will be a very welcome relief to the environments and people.

From the Camp Fire – The difference between moths that can hear bat calls and those that are not able to can be shown at night by finding a place around a light where a variety of different species have gathered – (there is a new study explaining why this happens and I shall let you know about that on your next safari) – anyway those moths designed to detect and evade bat sonar will drop to the ground if you tinkle a bunch of keys as this noise does resemble the various bat sonar signals. Those that remain do not have the ears for this.



 

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