pioneer campOver Christmas and New Year – it POURED with rain, which offered lots of opportunity to do some walking (as using the roads would have caused too much damage), and of course we were out on the boats and canoes, and fishing. As the sun returned in middle January – so the fishing improved (as the waters cleared) with some good catches of tiger and bream being recorded by some dedicated fishermen. A few tigers ‘got away’ – but it got the adrenalin going non-the-less.

The camp is lush and green and held up well to the wet weather. At this time of year the sunsets and sun rises are absolutely spectacular, and sunsets seem to happen all over the sky from west to east with hues of purple, pink, orange red and yellow in the clouds and sky. Awesome! At this time of year there is often a storm lurking out there with rumbling thunder in the distance.

We have enjoyed some walking around the camp. Wow! Birding is great at the moment with lots of species migrating through. There is a family of warthog close by, resident hippo coming from the river to graze at night, elephants periodically visiting – always something going on. We saw a female hyena at close range – interested in us but more so in her larder. This turned out to be a large warthog that had been caught, it managed to take flight and reverse itself into an aardvark den where it became lodged and unfortunately perished at the jaws of the hyena. Most of the head was gone with the body remaining in the hole while the hyena tried to drag it out.

pioneer camp 2We have discovered on one of our walks, an amazing viewpoint offering 360 degree views across the plains to one side, and the riverine forest. A huge herd of about 200 buffalo on the river side, on the other side a herd of about 40 wildebeeste with two tiny calfs on wobbly legs. To the north we heard running hooves and turned to watch two beautiful sable cantering off into the tree line and then again to the west on the ridge in the distance a couple of giraffe making their way down to the vlei. This is a truly wonderful spot for an early morning game walk with a cup coffee or an afternoon walk with sundowners on the kopje while just waiting to see what comes and goes.

On the way back to camp along the Mpala Jena spring line we came across a herd of 7 giraffe with young.

Excitement of late has been an African Wild Cat , amazingly tame, around the camp at night. These are really lovely small cats, and rarely seen – hope she sticks around. Her bigger relatives are often seen (and heard) in close vicinity to the camp too. Its inspiring to know that our continued presence in the area is encouraging game back – with better and more frequent sightings, even in the summer months.

More from the River when we have time…

Mike , Francie , Tendai and Casper

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