Riverine evergreen forest fringe the islands, with gnarled waterberry and fig trees hanging out over the Zambezi. Parrots, hornbills, woodpeckers and owls are among the many birds living here. Vervet monkeys live in the canopy, and nocturnal genets will visit during dinner time. The insect life is fascinating, with iridescent beetles, delicate butterflies, termites, ants, bees and dragonflies, to name but a few.
Brett, who is one of Jungle Junction's owners, is resident on the island. A large part of his childhood was spent along the Zambezi whilst his father was a wildlife department officer. Since then, he has spent the last 26 years in the safari industry. He has a deep love for nature and will only be too pleased to share your enthusiasm. His girlfriend, Evelyn, is the resident Botanist who is conducting a thorough servey of the plants and trees of the area.
The deep channels of the Zambezi are home to hippos and crocodiles, both of which can be seen on river trips. Crocodiles are important predators in the river, but you're safe in the dugout canoes! Other species at the top of the food chain include the nocturnal Pel's Fishing Owls, African Fish Eagles, and two types of otter which are often seen from the riverside bar or on makolo cruises with your guide. The southern bank of the river opposite Bovu Island is the Victoria Falls National park. Although animal numbers have decreased in recent years due to political unrest in Zimbabwe, there is still a good chance of seeing the big game coming down to drink during the drier months.
The first morning that you awaken on the Island, you'll understand that this is a birdwatchers heaven. The air around your bed is full of different melodies from a variety of tropical birds.
Bovu Island is a great place to clock up some new spices on your list. If you are a novice, it's a good place to start your interest. The guides enjoy taking guests on early morning walks along the riverbank on the mainland, returning through the local villages. The paths around the island don't require a guide and you can spend all day moving from tree to tree peering up, and down, through the foliage.
Specials are things like; Narina Trogon, Pel's Fishing Owl, Wood Owl, African Skimmers, Rock Pratincole, White-Headed Lapwing, Olive Woodpecker, Copper Sunbird, Tropical Boubou, Yellow-Bellied Greenbul, Trumpeter Hornbill, White-Browed Coucal, Schalow's Turaco, African Finfoot, Western Banded Snake Eagle and Lesser Black-backed Gull.
For keen ornithologists, we can arrange for 'Bird-Man-Bob' to come into camp by prior arrangement. His real name is Bob Stjernstedt, he is one of the best in Zambia. As we are only 30 Km from the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, I have included a PDF file of its bird check list below, for those interested in a out. The other link qw2is the full Zambian List, just click on either of these:
Evelyn Roe, our resident botanist, spends most of her time on the island, although she also spends time at Kew Gardens in London and also creating a checklist survey of the vegetation around Victoria Falls for Zambian National Heritage. She has identified over 200 different plants on Bovu Island; some of which have been identified by the local witchdoctor for their medicinal properties, which the guides will be able to inform you about.
Bovu Island has a great diversity of insect life. A recent visitor from Germany, a professor of entymology, who specialises in dragonflies, was surprised to be able to identify 55 species of Odonata, here on Bovu Island in 10 days. Whereas one of his students in the neighbouring Okavango Delta in Botswana had only idenitified 40 species in 4 years. Moths and butterflies are prolific during the summer months (Nov - Apr). During the winter months (May-Aug), there are considerably less insects.
Snakes & Other Reptiles
No, not too many of these. There are two varieties of poisonous snakes that live on the island; the Spitting Cobra and the Puff Adder. It is unlikely that you will ever see them. Likewise the harmless grass snakes, Verigated Bush Snakes and Brown House Snakes. To be on the safe side at night, please wear shoes and carry a torch.
The Nile Monitor Lizard will often startle you on your walks around the island as it scuttles away from you through the undergrowth. This large reptile which grows to over one metre in length loves to feast on crocodile eggs, therefore discouraging crocodiles from using Bovu Island as a breeding site. Crocodiles live in all the waters of the Zambezi and we warn guests against going down to the waters edge at sunset and after dark. Young children should be mnitored all the time..
What better way to go to sleep at night than with the sound of Bell Frogs tinkling around your hut.
There are many species of fish in the Zambezi. Local people rely on this source of protein, and they begin the fishing season with a centuries-old tradition of harvesting Parrot Fish in conical reed traps in the winter months of May to July.