As we have almost finished the first month of 2012 I thought it would be nice to look back at some of my favourite photos of 2011. The Southern Pride has played a huge part of our safaris throughout 2011 and the look on guests faces when they see 16 lions is priceless. Throughout last year we saw the pride males get kicked out and after this we watched as 4 of our cubs did not make it. The pride total dropped from 23 to 16 but the Kruger males seem to be stamping their authority down on the pride, which would increase the pride size to 18 lions.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is world-renowned for leopard sightings and 2011 lived up to this reputation. Leopard kills, feeding, fighting and leopards mating were all on the menu, the highlight of which was a male leopard mating with two females at the same time!
Let’s not forget the rest of the Big 5…buffalo, elephant and the under pressure rhino were out on display for all to see. There is something quite special being up close and personal, often as close as 20 metres from these giants, which gives you the feeling that you are not quite as big as you thought you were.
We also enjoyed many great sightings with our other predators. From the highly endangered wild dogs to the shy and rarely seen serval, jackal and hyena, all graced our beautiful reserve for all to see.
The general game which most of us see as fodder for the predators showed their true beauty throughout the year. The herbivores are often overlooked but their behaviour and impact on this system is immense. Nothing in nature operates outside of the bigger system and with each creature having their own unique part to play in this amazing story, the guests are left dumbstruck at the information the rangers feed to them about the system as a whole.
The birds fill the morning air with beautiful lyrics as they sing the dawn chorus for all to hear. The flitter about in the treetops and flying around showing off their magnificent colours and aerial displays keep all the female birds interested. With over 350 bird species recorded on our reserve, there is no doubt that the birders leave with smiles on their faces and those who had never contemplated taking time to look at birds leave hungry for more birding adventures.
And as we moved through the safari experience the small things baffled the brain. The idea that termites are architects and farmers; the role that frogs play in determining environmental health; and the ways in which plants and flowers have adapted to attract certain creatures to pollinate them, filled the air throughout 2011 as the rangers guided their guests away from their home cities into a natural wonderland!
We watched sunrises and sunsets, an amazing lunar eclipse and dinners under the stars. All these things made 2011 the great year it was and all the more reason to look forward to an amazing 2012 and we will be sure to keep you updated on the happenings via our blog!
by: Richard de Gouveia (Little Bush Camp ranger)