Thursday, April 13, 2017

Safari: More Camp Xugana

It may seem that Camp Xugana had only water related activities. No so. The camp is located on an island in the Okavango Delta, but it has a large savannah area in the center of it. When we were not exploring by boat, we were in our land vehicle with Ken guiding us inland.

We saw some of the same animals we had seen in Camp Savute plus some we had not. The savannah was similar to the savannah at Savute, but we saw larger herd of the roan antelope, whereas we saw more sable antelope at Savute. Different habits attract different species. It also has a lot to do with adaptation to the environment. For example, one of the animals in the Delta has a foot structure that allows it to walk in the water better than its land-based cousin. Unfortunately, I have forgotten which one it is.

One of the highlights of the time at Camp Xugana was a bush walk. We got out of the vehicle and went off on foot to get up close to nature. Ken pointed out tracks, trees, bark patterns, fruits and nuts, flowers and other plants and small animals and insects.

We learned how to tell which animals had been in the area, how old the elephant dung was, and some of the habits of the different species. The elephant dung balls are huge! But they are very significant in the eco-system. If the dung is round and relatively moist, it is fresher so you know the elephants have been in that area recently. When the dung dries out, it begins to flatten and spread out. In the drier patches, you can see all the seeds and grasses that bring nutrients to the smaller animals, birds and insects. There is a pattern and rhythm to life in the bush and all of the animals are interdependent in some way. Fascinating!

Ken told us to stay in a line and walk single file as he led us and another ranger followed behind us. This minimized our presence in the wild. Of course, Ken was carrying a rifle. Another "just in case" moment. Fortunately, it was never used.

Brushing your teeth in the wild.
We have heard of a few charging elephants and other aggressive animals making some safari adventures rather unsettling. And it is not unheard of to lose a tourist or even a ranger trying to protect his tourists from harm.

We saw the termite mounds and learned how the aardvarks stealthily move in and destroy the termite colony. After the aardvarks leave, the holes they left behind become habitats for small animals. There is an ongoing interchange in nature. Everything is used and reused in some way.

Both rangers shared ways of the indigenous people and how they lived and hunted. Their use of plants was most interesting. One particular plant is used as a toothbrush in the bush. After cutting off a stick, one chews it until it forms a brush-like tip. And apparently, it leaves the mouth with a pink color. What an easy way to see if the kids have actually brushed or not!

Big cat tracks! We are off to find lions or leopards!
The photos can tell the rest of this story. It was a wonderful experience and once again it was hard to say goodbye to the lovely staff who made our stay remarkable.

Another elegant giraff

Roan Antelope




Of course, Zebras

Lioness on the hunt


No comments:

Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you here. You can see earlier posts at