Newsletter December 2010
Greetings from Pafuri River Camp.
Summer is upon us once again and over and above the increasing rise in temperature and the rain that we have had, thebirding in the area has also picked up. The early morning cacophony now includes a number of the migrant species visiting the region for the summer. Be sure to look out for Broad-billed & Racket Tailed Roller, Narina Trogon, Levallants & European Cuckoo amongst others.
During the last few months lodge guests have enjoyed wonderful views of the constellation Scorpius and the Milky Way, including some spectacular planetary gatherings in the evenings. And with the change in seasons, as Scorpius disappears from view in the west, the great hunter Orion can be seen rising in the east, to the sounds of at least four different species of Nightjars. This is the ideal time of the year for spotting the Pennant-winged variety and to take a moonlit walk and look for some of the nocturnal animals that can be seen.
Staying with nocturnal life most bat species are found in the vicinity of riverine woodland, and with the abundant sunshine and proximity of the Mutale and Luvuvhu rivers, makes this area a rich oasis for the birds and bats with the abundance of plants and insects. Due to their nocturnal habits and generally secretive ways, the bats of Pafuri are somewhat harder to see than it’s birds. However, their presence can still be enjoyed if one is aware of aspects of their behaviour. The easiest type of bat to get a glimpse of would be the epauletted fruit bats. They can usually be found in the vicinity of fruit trees, especially the Sycamore Fig, and a specimen in fruit is bound to attract them. Due to their excellent night vision their eyes will reflect in torchlight, much like the bushbabies that are also common at Pafuri
Staying with sightings of the wildlife in and around the Camp: Lou Arthur, author of the popular Best Birding in Kruger, spotted the resident Pel’s Fishing Owl, while birding, from the porch of Nightjar, our popular chalet situated in the Bush Camp. A lone elephant bull recently decided to go walk about, using the road past “sunrise hill” as it munched its way towards the tented camp, finally crossing the Mutale River near the tented accommodation known as “Kingfisher”. A variety of different spoor is always seen on this sandy section of the river and lucky guests were fortunate to spot Otter and African Finfoot.
As part of an ongoing butterfly survey and monitoring project, Christopher Willis (SANBI) and Dr Jan Crafford (University of Venda) recently spent a day monitoring butterflies in and around the Camp. Butterflies were on the wing, and a number of species were observed such as African Common White, African Migrant, African Monarch, African Veined White, Black-bordered babul Blue, Brown-veined White amongst others.
Looking ahead to the following months, guests can enjoy the warmer weather around the pool, relaxing, reading or identifying new bird species. A possible increase in water levels in the Mutale River will make it ideal for “tubing” or kayaking as well as a spot of fishing. With the KNP’s Pafuri gate only minutes away, a day trip to Pafuri Picnic Spot is a must, as is a visit to Crooks Corner, made famous by the exploits of Cecil Barnard “Bvekenya” and immortalized in T.V. Bulpin’s book The Ivory Trail.
The latest camp news is that John and Wilma Peacock, have now taken on the position of management couple, while Kos is involved with activities such as astronomy evenings, bird walks and the popular Mutale Falls, AKA “The Pot Holes”, excursion. Guests will be pleased to know that Robert, our chef, will be in attendance over the festive season to spoil you with his culinary skills. So…..no need to cook while Rob is around , and be sure to book your meals prior to your visit.
As 2010 comes to an end, we wish all our friends and guests a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.
Come live in the bush for a while!
John ,Wilna and the team
Images from top to bottom:
Elephant dung on the way to the "bush camp", Mutale Falls (aka Pot Holes), Baobab sunset, Melba finch and Limpopo River at Crooks Corner.