Always be ready when on Safari, Xigera Camp
I recently spent an evening at one of the camps in the Okavango Delta that I have a real soft spot for. As a youngster I was fortunate enough to spend many holidays visiting, and I have some incredible memories from learning to pole a mokoro (dugout canoe) in the channel in front of the camp, to collecting fire wood on nearby islands while hearing lions roar in the distance.
Xigera camp is located in the heart of the delta on an island surrounded by pristine waterways. The only way to access the island is by a small bridge that crosses the main waterway in front of the camp.
The camp looks out onto a beautiful channel where one can sit at the bar and watch as the sun sets over the delta, pied kingfishers making their last few dives into the water, looking for that final catch of the day. The crack of branches from a nearby island signals that elephants are moving back into the thickets for the evening, and the sound of Painted reed frogs calling indicates that nightfall is approaching.
As the guests make their way back over the bridge after their game drive, one of the guides tells us that a pride of lion is approaching and we should all make our way to the deck and out of harm’s way. Sure enough, after about 5 minutes the first cat appears, followed by four more. There is some excitement as they make their way over the bridge, just where we were moments before, and pass right by where we are standing. They head down the ramp and straight into the boma. Good thing it wasn’t traditional boma night!
Fortunately, I had my camera ready and although the low light did not make for great images, I was at least able to catch this special moment. This is the second time I have been lucky enough to witness wildlife using this busy bush-highway bridge at Xigera. On a previous occasion, we watched as two hyenas were bullied across by a very upset mother leopard. Again, I had a camera with me and although my low light photography leaves a lot to be desired, I was able to capture the action none the less.
Moments like these are what make being out on safari so special. The unpredictability of wildlife and what one may get to witness is what brings us all back for more, and that’s why one always needs to be ready and have a camera on hand to capture the moment.