Sabi Sabi yesterday, today, tomorrow

escape routes

by Richard de Gouveia on October 20, 2011

The last 2 days have been filled with fun and great sightings. The elephants have been plentiful with one safari yielding 5 different herds of elephant. The buffalo herd has stuck around even longer than expected and we still have so many zebra that the impala are looking rare.

buffalo on safari at Sabi Sabi

However coming to Africa is more than just about seeing the animals, as guides we try to open guests eyes to all the beauty that is Africa, including birds, plants and insects. The idea is that the guests will leave with a richer understanding of all the elements of the bush and how they influence one another. One of my favourite topics to really get the guests attention is that of dung. My last guests arrived with a unique request and it involved my favourite topic. They required photos of 12 different types of dung for a calendar they were going to make as a gimmick present for their nephews. As a scatologist I was happy to oblige and this left all of us giggling at the prospect of finding some new scat.

Impala on the plains at Sabi Sabi

zebra on safari game drive at sabi sabi

In between looking for dung we enjoyed some amazing sightings one of which will stick in my memory for a long time to come. We had found a young male leopard and were following him as he took us on a rollercoaster ride through some of the thickest bush on the reserve. As we zig zagged through the bush trying to keep up with him he decided to go down into a drainage line. We went around the other side and entered into the drainage to get a shot of him posing on a tree. Once we had got the shot, I stuck the vehicle into reverse and started back up the incline that we had just come down, however half way up my diff lock gave in and that left us stranded in the drainage.

leopard sighting at Sabi Sabi

One of the other rangers cruised out from next to me as if the hill did not exist. Solly, my tracker, jumped off and scouted the area for a way to get out and after several attempts I had resigned myself to the fact that we would have to be pulled out… now for any ranger it is very deflating to the ego to have to admit that you are stuck so whilst waiting for the tow rope we gave it one last shot, it was going to be tight but with Solly’s guidance I squeezed my way out of the drainage line and up to safety. Fortunately this left my ego in tact as I had not got stuck but was in fact, just temporarily held up.

leopard sighting while on safari

That evening we stopped for some sundowners and I overheard the radio whilst talking to my guests. Another ranger was calling in that he had a leopard heading straight towards us. I herded the guests into the vehicle and we went to join them, turns out it was the same young male from the morning and I was just praying that he didn’t go to another drainage line. Just another tough day in Africa and we still had dinner to look forward to!

by: Richard de Gouveia (Little Bush Camp ranger)

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