With six months of the year almost coming to an end, we feel it would be a good time to share our latest camp updates from Changa Safari Camp. We have witnessed some exciting animal antics and seen some memorable wildlife sightings in 2018 so far. You are always guaranteed to have action at camp with our remote location in the Matusadona National Park, in the heart of Lake Kariba.
Winter is Here
June is the height of winter in Kariba but fortunately, our winter weather is not your typical cold and dull season. We have been enjoying bright sunny days averaging around 25 degrees Celsius with clear, crisp evenings where temperatures drop to about 14 degrees Celsius, and guests often comment on how pleasant this time of the year is! Despite it never getting too cold, we never waste an opportunity to light a fire where guests gather around in the evenings and listen to the sounds of the African Bush come to life and recount their grand adventures from the day.
Lake Kariba’s High-Water Levels
Lake Kariba is the fourth largest man-made lake in the world and is home to an abundant eco-system of wildlife, birds, fish and aquatic animals. Each year, as the seasons change, the water levels of the lake rise and recede as affected by the rains further up the continent that increase the flow into the lake. This time last year the lake was at 56% capacity whereas now, we are currently sitting at 84%. Amazing!
An Exciting Rescue Effort
The high-water levels have created islands which were previously part of the mainland and it was discovered that there was some impala stranded on two of these islands. Having heard of this situation, the Changa guides quickly stepped in and an exciting rescue operation began!
Changa’s team of guides and staff, met together with National Parks Rangers, MAPP (Matusadona Anti-Poaching Project), Mitch Riley (manager of Spurwing Island) and his team, and the Matusadona National Parks Area Manager, Victor Mkhwebu and a plan of action was created. We like to think of this as a mini “Operation-Noah” project!
Nine boats set off to the island where the impalas were stranded and several staff were dropped off on one side of the island where they began to herd the Impala to a smaller detached part of the island, so it would be easier to capture them. It is safe to say that a great deal of athleticism was displayed by both the humans and the impalas!
Once the first impala was caught, it was loaded onto one of the boats, with its eyes covered and legs lightly bound to prevent it from any injuries during transportation to mainland. From then several impalas were caught one after the other and soon all the remaining boats were transferring the impala across the lake. In addition to the impala, a male waterbuck was found. He decided to swim out into the water and as he was too heavy to lift into the boat, the staff managed to hold onto the horns and assisted him this way across to the mainland, where he ran off happily as soon as he was out of the water.
In total, 41 impalas were rescued and one waterbuck – a truly impressive collaborative effort of all those involved.
Lions in for the Kill
One afternoon a family of nine guests were about to board the boats for a river cruise, when the guides received a message that there was a lion sighting nearby. Plans quickly changed and off the party went in search of the lion pride! We arrived in time to see four male lions coolly lazing around a dead elephant, before their feeding began. Watching this exciting scene play out combined with the constant snarling and growling of the boisterous lions, made for an unforgettable afternoon activity! Our guests captured every moment on camera and loved being a part of this very unusual feast.
Upon advising the Matusadona Lion Research Team, the guides were informed that this is the first record of these four young males killing and feeding on their own elephant. A feast into adulthood it seems!
An Elephant Mourns
A few days later, Greg, one of our professional guides, returned with a group of new guests to see if they could see the lions again, however they had left already. The guests did however, get to witness a very special and rare occurrence often missed by a human audience. A large elephant was seen in mourning at the carcass left behind from the lion’s feast. The elephant was running its trunk over the carcass of its fallen comrade and picking up a few of its bones as well. It was a very moving and emotional scene to witness.
As you can see we had some thrilling first part of the year and look forward to what the next six months have to offer! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for our latest updates on Changa Safari Camp.