February has been the hottest month so far on Fanjove Private Island this season. Although it is the shortest month, we have managed to cram a lot in on Fanjove and it has been our busiest diving month this season with dives going out most days! With the heat, the sea conditions have been calm and very still, which has meant that visibility for snorkeling and diving has been 20m and above resulting in fantastic sea activities.
Along with the clarity in the water, there has been a huge diversity of pelagic fish at the reef, but also quite amazingly many are joining our snorkeling area right in front of our restaurant.
Diving has also seen a good variety of fish including regular appearances of huge fish such as giant grouper, giant trevally and yellowfin tuna as well as sightings of green turtles. Now that the water is hotter the grey reef sharks are mainly seen on deeper dives but occasionally can be seen still milling around in shallower water.
Snorkeling has turned up a few surprises this month – with a few guests spotting barracuda almost as big as them! In the coral nursery we have been surprised by visits of a beautiful Eagle ray who has been seen both jumping out of the water from the beach, as well as underwater whilst snorkeling.
In the snorkeling zone just off the beach there have been regular visits of huge schools of kole kole which has meant in addition to the normal diversity of colourful reef fish seen at the nursery there has been a wider variety and scale than ever before.
During incoming tide on hot clear days we’ve found juvenile black-tip reef sharks right by the shore. They can be seen in as little water as 30cm where they are feeding on small bony fish and crustaceans. Although the juvenile sharks are only 50cm long just now, it’s amazing how agile they move and how they hunt with ease. When they reach their adulthood, they will grow three times their current size, typically measuring 5ft long.
Despite the heat, the faithful kaskazi winds have helped to cool us off as we sip our sundowners with some of the most breathtaking sunsets of the year.
Laura, Johan and The Fanjove Team.
sunset from the lighthouse
It seems that the two young Goshawks have made Manze their home. Their daily screeching can be heard every time they make a kill. The normal big populations of Squirrels, Geckos, Lizards, snakes, young Monitor Lizards and birds has taken a definite nose dive or have they gone into hiding. These two, although young, have honed their skills and even have the audacity to fly into the dining area to show off their prey before flying away to a safe area to devour their unfortunate victim.
The rains seem to have abated for a while leaving a magnificent green aftermath. All the grass eaters are shiny and fat.
Our trusted Genet still makes its appearance most nights to catch the insects around the outside dinner area. We were fortunate enough to see the two new baby genets a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately mom keeps them hidden until they are big enough to roam around on their own.
Spotting an African Rock Python sailing past one of the tents was an amazing sight. It definitely stays around camp looking for unsuspecting prey.
Our season is drawing to a close during March and this will be a good time to plan your next Manze adventure.
By Shaun, Milinda and all Manze Team.
February has seen a break in the rains and safaris have been very interesting and rewarding. We have heard frequent comments about how spectacular the landscapes are at the moment with the lush green grass and the Ruaha River in flow.
Highlights of the safaris have been watching herds of elephants playing in the river, as well as a special sighting of wild dogs and the cheetah family although they have not been seen as frequently as last month. This month is one of the best in terms of bird watching as the birds are all at their most vibrant stage as males are displaying to attract females. Sightings of the Paradise Whydah and the Southern Red Bishop being particularly impressive.
Around camp this has been a month for leopard sightings with periods of almost daily sightings of our two resident leopard cubs playing on the road in to camp. Their curiosity and confidence around the vehicles has continued to grow and some of our guests have been treated to sighting of the cubs playing with the cars – following the behaviour of their father, Fundi.
One of the cubs came in to camp one night and came up close to where we were sat enjoying the fire after dinner and later went and investigated one of the tents. The following morning, we were woken by loud roars of a lion and some of our guests managed to get a glimpse of him walking down the riverbed. He stayed in the woodland in front of the camp all morning and from the dining area we watched him unsuccessfully stalk a passing herd of zebra.
Thank you to our guests Jennifer Orlet and Nicholas and Valerie Holden who have contributed with their excellent photos and videos. Also, to our guide Henry for sharing a couple of his videos of the cubs and wild dogs.
Rebecca, Andrea and all Mdonya Team.