Sabi Sabi Newsletter - April 2008
Dry summer for Sabi Sabi | Local customs delight guests | Rescued animals faring well | Conserving power to conserve the environment | New menus at our lodges

Dry summer for Sabi Sabi

Despite record early rains in October last year, Sabi Sabi has had no rainfall since the New Year, leaving the bush unusually dry. If the rains stay away, the reserve will be in for an extremely long, dry winter with wildlife having to move extensively to locate water sources. Already, some migratory birds have started their long flight North over Africa, driven to an early departure by the dearth of insects resulting from the dry summer. Other species are preparing for their migration.

Those that have stayed will witness the Marula trees in full fruit, attracting lots of Elephants, much to the delight of guests who have had prolific sightings. Wild Dog sightings - always a thrilling spectacle for game viewers - have also been a daily occurrence for the past two months. Still a highly endangered species, Wild Dogs are thriving at Sabi Sabi, successfully breeding and hunting on the wild diversity of prey that calls the reserve home.

Rangers and trackers were excited to spot very small Lion cubs belonging to Sabi Sabi's most prominent Lion pride early in February. The cubs were born just North of Bush Lodge, and the Sabi Sabi team is watching closely as the pride has had little success rearing babies in recent years; losing them to attacks by nomadic male Lions.


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Local customs delight guests

Guests enjoying a boma dinner under African skies at Sabi Sabi can participate in the ancient African tradition of face painting (or 'face marking' to be more accurate). Practised for hundreds of years, faces are painted to mark traditional celebrations. A few members of the Sabi Sabi team have been trained and guests delight in transforming themselves in the boma at night.


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Rescued animals faring well

In May last year, we published news of a newborn Rhino calf that had been abandoned by its mother, and was rescued from Sabi Sabi and sent to an endangered species rehabilitation centre, Kapama, in Hoedspruit. Feedback is that the calf is doing very well in her new home and was the subject of an insert on the acclaimed South African wildlife television programme, 50/50.

Click here for full rescue story

Also in 2007, a Wild Dog with a broken leg was darted at Sabi Sabi and taken for treatment. She has been successfully reintroduced to a captive breeding centre at Mhola Holda.

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Conserving power to conserve the environment

Long before South Africa's recent power shortage took hold, Sabi Sabi was introducing innovative ways to cut down on electricity usage to protect the environment. Renewable and sustainable energy sources are used wherever possible and guests are encouraged to minimise electricity usage. Relaxing under the African night skies with the canopy of stars providing gentle light is a far better way to enjoy the bush than by artificial light! While the 5-star ethos for which Sabi Sabi is renowned ensures that all conveniences are available for guests - they are provided in a responsible way that ensures that the reserve is looking to the future and protecting the environment for generations to come.

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New menus at our lodges

All Sabi Sabi lodges are launching new menus that focus on local African flavours. The excellent cuisine for which Sabi Sabi is well known will be enhanced by the rich and diverse infusions that have delighted visitors to Africa for decades.


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Top tennis official relaxes at Sabi Sabi

Wimbledon - Gerry Armstrong in action during the 2006 Wimbledon men's singles final (credit Getty Images)

Safari - Gerry Armstrong (far left) with his son Matthew (second from right) on safari at Sabi Sabi (credit BLD Communications)

Gerry Armstrong took time out from officiating at world class tennis events last month to experience Sabi Sabi's world class hospitality. Together with son, Matthew, Gerry enjoyed a stunning safari, relaxing before taking up the role as ATP Tour Supervisor for the SAA Tennis Open. Reputedly the world's best tennis umpire, Armstrong has visited South Africa several times, and took this opportunity to relax in the bush.

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