This year Botswana has experienced lower rainfall than usual and the natural waterholes are beginning to dry up…
This forces the game population to congregate early at permanent water sources such as rivers. Normally big gatherings happen around August but this year it occurred earlier. The annual flooding of the Okavango Delta takes place during our dry winter months when the delta swells to three times its permanent size, attracting animals from kilometres around and creating one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife. Many thousands of elephants move to the delta to await the fresh flood water.
For the coming dry, hot months of August, September and October we are expecting even more congregations and interactions of different animal species along the permanent water sources. There is still enough grass for animals to graze from the previous rains – this dry year will impact wildlife movements next year too if the rains are scarce again. In the Selinda Reserve, where I work as a game ranger, we’ve seen big herds of elephants, buffalo, roan antelopes, zebras, lions, leopards, wild dogs, cheetahs, pangolins and aardvarks.
Botswana is home to large elephants populations and areas such as Selinda have high densities during the dry season. These elephants migrate in their thousands between the Okavango Delta, the Selinda Spillway and into surrounding locations such as the Linyanti and Chobe regions – they are driven by the need to find water and green food. Big congregations of elephant herds creates a great opportunity for photographers like me to take their dream pictures – of elephants swimming and crossing the channel, drinking in large numbers or bathing in the mud.
Predator sightings usually pick-up by mid June in the Selinda area. As a tracker, guide and a photographer this is my favourite time of year, I look to my mornings with a happy face, eager to go out on a drive and photograph the predators in action.