Ian Batchelor, operations manager of African Bush Camps Zimbabwe, has spent a lot of time on the ground preparing and building the camp, as well as playing host and introducing this amazing new project “Kanga Bush Camp”, to various colleagues from the travel industry. Herewith a recent reports from Ian at Kanga Bush Camp, as the new Kanga Bush Calmp officially opened 1st June.
We had a long and wet rainy season and the bush has been very dense and almost impenetrable in some places. Finally in May things have started to dry out around the water hole and we are starting to see a visible change in the area and visibility. As everyone knows there were some big storms in April and the water levels of the water hole remained completely full with no sign of dropping. The road in from Nyakasikana the entrance gate was fine and easily drivable, in fact, we had some guests arrive in a 2 wheel drive Honda CVR. The elephant are back in the area as the surrounding waterholes and pans start to slowly dry up. As usual it’s not unexpected to find roads closed off with trees pushed over by the elephant… This area (Mana inland) becomes the ultimate play ground for Mana’s wildlife.
Like any new camp, it takes a while for the wildlife to adapt to the new visitors but it is amazing how quickly they realize they are safe and we are no threat. When we started setting up camp and the initial building of the main deck area in October last year we had regular daily visits to the water by the following species: elephants, herd of buffalo and odd bulls, two different troupes of baboon who would always make sure they approached the pan from different directions both in the morning and before heading off to roost for the evening ( supplying us with hours of entertainment), bushbuck, impala, kudu and warthog. Kanga has a permanent pride of 8 lionesses and 2 male lion. A voiciforous male leopard can be heard calling on most nights from the camp. As we speak the elephant are coming back as most other surrounding water dries up… we have resident hippo that have moved in but are constantly on the move. A few weeks ago we had three wild dog chasing and killing impala in camp.
The second last group of guests we had in were rewarded with lions on their way back into camp and less than 500metres from the main camp area. We are regularly visited by this pride and they seem to have adopted this area as core part of their territory, possibly because there is obviously water all year round now and with that there is the resident wildlife.
A vociferous pack of 9 Wild dogs were seen along the Kanga Pan road about 15 minutes from camp. We noticed that the dominant female seemed to be lactating, this is great news if she is. As this would mean that they could have a den in the area, where they will seasonally raise their young pups. In the pack we also spotted an old female who was very grey and shrunken into herself, she appeared to be injured as she walked with a limp in her right back leg. They were not skittish when our vehicle approached them, they were very happy to continue lying in the road as our vehicle idled near by. We hope that they will remain resident in the area and that they are the reason as to why so many of the Impala herd’s are heard snorting and pronking near the pan. Watch this space of further news on this pack.
I have to mention the birdlife too, we have our regulars on the pan in front of camp and then there are the interesting species to be found in the thickets and vegetation away from the pan and along the Chavava. Henry, one of the guys who guide for us and who some of you might remember from Somalisa has seen Narina Trogon. Quite a spot! We have some resident Wood Owls in the trees above the deck and each night we are party to their serenading duet.
All in all I think we are in for an exciting first season especially with all the excitement of a rebirth of the country’s tourism. We want to put a lot of emphasis on the special walking nature of the area and will offer this activity to all our guests as well as the option of visiting the river as part of our outings with a great picnic lunch. We have a great team of staff and I am thrilled to be back working with cheerful Zimbabwean guys and their enthusiasm is contagious. Hope to see you out here soon, it’s definitely a different experience to the river but equally as rewarding and enjoyable.
It has been an exciting journey pioneering inland Mana Pools where no camp has ever been set up. Kanga area provides the raw wilderness area of Mana Pools in a private concession, located about 15km from the Zambezi River with the Ruckomechi River as part of the western boundery. If you are as as passionate about having your own private Africa as we are, this camp will offer you the exclusivity yet the most thrilling wild life encounters both on foot and by vehicle.