Sabi Sabi is a favorite game reserve in South Africa among the staff at Africa Adventure Consultants, and we stop in every chance that we get. When we can’t get our fix onsite, we turn to their game reports to get an armchair taste of what’s going on in the bush. Ranger Mike Palmer shared this recent update with us.
The Southern African wilderness is unbelievably diverse in terms of the array of life found within it, from the smallest of insects to the world’s largest land mammal. As a guest to our country it is sometimes so easy to overlook the smaller details when on a safari, especially when confronted with the infamous and impressive ‘Big 5’ animals, but I urge you to look closer. There is a lot to be said for the little wonders of the bush. Wonders that are most often appreciated while out in the bush on foot and with the colder winter months now steadily approaching, we will be saying farewell to some of the insects and migratory birds that have been enriching our guest’s experiences while out with us at Sabi Sabi over the summer.
A beautiful African Common White butterfly floats around from flower to flower to sip the sweet nectar it so enjoys.
South Africa is home to a variety of spiders. Here a Banded Nephila, one of the Golden Orb Weaver family, sits on its web in wait for a meal.
This last week has seen quite a lot of activity and movement from our resident cats, but before we get into that, lets explore and pay tribute to some of the other wildlife that we’ve been seeing around the reserve. A large confusion of guinea fowl moved across our path while on drive on an overcast day.
Summer is the season for new beginnings and new life. The rains breathe life into the grasses, shrubs and trees signaling to all that the time of plenty has arrived. This sets in motion a chain reaction of events and soon after the first rains, many animals will give birth to their offspring. The vast majority of animals seem to instinctively ‘time’ their birthing as close to the summer season as possible to ensure that their respective young have the best chance at survival in this sometimes very harsh environment. For guests visiting this beautiful piece of paradise we call the bush, this can make for some touching and exciting viewing throughout the season as we observe these creatures in their struggle over life and death. We have had some great moments with our guests watching this process at various stages almost always “rooting for the little guy”.
A juvenile Waterbuck pauses while investigating our vehicle in order to ascertain whether we are friend or foe.
A Zebra foal and its mother have a good scratch on the trunk of a small Apple-leaf tree, while a pair of Red-billed Oxpeckers simultaneously attempt to feed the screaming mouths of their young with the ticks picked off the Zebra’s back.
Earlier in the summer we experienced a massive influx of African elephant into the area as a result of the fruiting Marula trees, from large breeding herds to bachelor groups of males being scattered all over the place. With the fruiting season now over, some of these giants have moved off in search of the last of the fruits dotting the earth. We have still been having regular sightings though, particularly of bachelor groups and lone bulls as they meander around in search of food or females making for some spectacular viewing. With most of the males also no longer in ‘musth’, they have become a lot more tolerable and relaxed with us being around them for prolonged periods, really allowing us to appreciate their interesting behaviors and quirky mannerisms.
A massive bull Elephant gracefully moves past us while being bathed in the afternoon sunlight.
Pretty soon we will be expecting the massive breeding herds of Cape Buffalo to move through the area as they migrate in search of fresh grazing, but for the time being, gangs of buffalo bulls lay scattered across the reserve enjoying their favorite pastimes. Buffalo love to spend their days lying in pools of water or wallowing in mud, especially during the intense heat of the summer months. It is almost guaranteed on a hot day that you will find some ‘Dagga Boys’ resting in a muddy pan.
A ‘Dagga’ boy in the true sense of the word. Dagga is the Shangaan term for mud and I’m sure you can guess from this image why the buffalo has been given the nickname.
The predators on the reserve have been featuring prominently on our drives this last week, the lions more so than any others in particular.
The Charleston Pride trio are doing very well for themselves despite the odds being heavily stacked against them with the densities of lions in the area. They seem to be a lot more nomadic nowadays as the larger pride has moved further south, moving much further north and west of their natal territory. We spent quite a bit of time with them over the last week and it must be said that they are looking to be in great condition. The two young males are really beginning to come into their own, increasing in size and impressiveness. The female is probably one of the prettiest lionesses that I have personally ever seen. They managed to make a kudu kill earlier in the week and then caught up with them again shortly after in a very playful mood. It is such a great sight to see. I think they are going to do well in the area and who knows, maybe these two males may one day take over the area.
One of the Charleston boys strolling confidently toward our vehicle.
As we bid farewell to yet another week here at Sabi Sabi, we also prepare ourselves for a new day, with new experiences to share with all of our guests. Experiences I look forward to sharing with all of you at home as well in our next game report.
Want to visit Sabi Sabi on a South African safari? Give one of our safari specialists a call to discuss options!