The Beauty of Insect Life on the Zambezi

| Tamlin Wightman

“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.” ~ E.O. Wilson

Insect activity varies from month to month on the Zambezi and we witness the great changes of their diversity with great fascination. We’ve realized that insects are bothersome to some, especially when the different little crawlers and flyers and hoppers are unexpected or misunderstood, but there is a world of beauty in them and their place in nature.

Living in wild areas, in harmony and close proximity with the natural world is a privilege as it lets us encounter so many great creatures – with the wild elephants and buffaloes, the fish eagles and skimmers, come the bugs and smaller life forms because they have an essential role in the food chain that allows the bigger animals to live, that enables the earth to shift and grow and change in the vital ways that it does.

Appreciating and accepting insects in the wilderness simply comes down to understanding…

As we have entered spring on the Zambezi now (September to October), the temperatures are heating up and the insects have come out to play in full force. This dry season brings a different kind of activity to the rainy season. The migrant birds usually arrive around this time of year and the weavers begin breeding; they are always more than happy to find the insects waiting for them. The mosquitoes are fewer, but the spiders come out to tango, in a variety of costumes, and are all the more detectable because of the drier bush and ground.

From November to March, the Summer rainy season, vegetation is lush with new growth and the mosquitoes increase in numbers along with the butterflies.

From April to May, Autumn’s post-rainy season, mosquitoes are still prevalent and the  vegetation is verdant and green from the rains.

June to August, Winter’s cool-dry season, the mosquito numbers drop and the grass becomes browner.

At the lodge, we do our best to keep the crawlies out of the rooms and restaurant, but this is the wilderness, and as in any other wild area, coming across spiders, ants, grasshoppers, scorpions or moths on the walkways or decks or coming to join you for a sundowner in the bath is possible. It’s part of the African experience. Part of the majestic diversity of life.

Our beds are always covered with mosquito nets, rooms provided with air-conditioning to detract them further, and our team are on site to reassure you and hopefully even teach you more about the myriad of little bugs coming to say hello.

So why not give them a gentle hello in return?

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