June 2000 Okavango Delta / Botswana

What one DOES have to do is to consider the incredibly different situation due to this year’s rains. We are presently at Xakanaxa in the Moremi Game Reserve (Okavango Delta / Botswana). The Park here has been closed to self-drive traffic, paths have become streams, forests are sprouting water-lilies, are inhabited by hippos and may well remain floodplains for at least this season! Vumbura and Little Vumbura (one of my hot favourite camps) had to be re-built in parts because the bar and lounge areas had been re-claimed by the Delta. Of course, one has to put it into perspective – this is all very, very normal! If there were no man-made structures, everyone would be jubilant at the Okavango returning to its former glory! Those who aren’t did not take nature sufficiently into account when they built their camps and airstrips! At Vumbura, I believe, a bushman tracker took the manager to a tree long after the camp had been constructed, obviously without consulting the right people !, and showed him the high water mark! Said manager was a little incredulous, but not for long.

Talking about incredulous. The lions here are taking to the trees! Yesterday we sat with some lionesses and cubs, the adults up and down a conveniently slanted tree trunk, the youngsters trying it. On we went, to follow the telltale lure of vultures in trees. As you know, that usually means a) a kill and b) the predator still around. Sure enough – except the carcass was a crocodile, and it was being guarded by a lioness 3 metres up, stretched out on a branch, making like a leopard! No-one really believes the lions actually killed the croc, more like a family fight, or the croc having chanced a baby hippo. Perhaps, after all, a sign of the times??

  Credit Brigitte Cross