|Sabi Sabi Newsletter - January 2008|
|New Johannesburg Office | First rains bring new life to the bush | Earth Lodge gets its own new baby | Starting a new life together | New book launched | Another conservation acknowledgement for Sabi Sabi | New Year|
Sabi Sabi has relocated its Central office to new premises in a beautiful garden setting in the leafy suburb of Melrose, Johannesburg. Converted from an old established home, the new offices retain an ambience of peace and are an ideal environment for running Sabi Sabi's reservations, marketing and administration.
The building overlooks a park-like garden with huge trees alive with birdsong. A long stretch of lawn, pretty flowers and a sparkling pool add to the overall effect. The Johannesburg office team has settled in quickly and is enjoying the convenience and efficiency of the new property.
New Premises for Johannesburg Office:
October saw the start of this season's rains at Sabi Sabi, bringing with them new plant growth, the return of migratory birds and some early babies.
Almost overnight the bushveld was transformed from its winter browns to lush, green and teeming with new life. A huge variety of wildflowers have made their appearance, startling visitors with their unexpectedly bright colours. The new growth has done nothing to hide the abundance and diversity of game on the reserve, with guests reporting spectacular sightings of the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant) as well as a wide range of other wildlife and birds.
Migratory birds returned from their winter sanctuaries in far northern countries. The distinctive lilting call of the Woodland Kingfisher, heralding the start of summer, has been heard on all parts of the Sabi Sabi reserve; the spectacular plumage of plum coloured (violet) starlings and Carmine Bee-eaters has added beautiful splashes of vibrant colour, and there have already been sightings of other migratory species such as the Wahlberg's Eagle and European Roller.
New Lion and Leopard cubs have survived their first few weeks in the bush, and a baby Rhino was seen close to Earth Lodge in early November. Newborn Impalas, Kudus and Zebras have also been seen taking their first halting steps. Breeding herds of Elephants are delighting everyone, with inquisitive young calves, trunks extended, peering out from behind their mothers' huge legs.
It is a season of renewal, of rebirth and of rejuvenation, and the bush is bursting with promise.
Earth Lodge managers, Stefan and Nadia Schoeman welcomed a new baby - their first - at the end of October. Weighing in at a healthy 3.5kg, he followed family tradition by being named after his dad. Described as 'very relaxed' by his mum, Baby Stefan went on a tour of South Africa to meet his relatives before settling in at his new home at Sabi Sabi.
South African men's hockey coach, Gregg Clark, and new wife, Nadine Dalling spent part of their honeymoon at Earth Lodge in November. A former player, Clark, with 250 caps, is the most-capped South African men's hockey player in history. He has represented South Africa at two Olympic Games, two World Cup Tournaments and five Africa Cup of Nations events. He is hoping to lead the South African men's team to the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, and took time out before a hockey trip to Chile to relax and enjoy the bush.
During their memorable stay at Earth Lodge, the couple had fantastic wildlife encounters which included an excellent sighting of a mother Leopard and her cub in a tree, a 300-strong breeding herd of Buffalo and the seldom witnessed impressive sight of Rhinos mating.
Gregg and Nadine were surprised by the unexpected extra honeymoon touches that Earth Lodge arranged: returning from their evening safari to find their suite romantically lit by candles, with flower petals strewn on the bed and a drawn bubble bath awaiting them in the bathroom. Added to that was an exclusive private dinner on their patio.
Sabi Sabi Research and Conservation Manager, Rael Loon, published his second book in November. Entitled 'Hidden Wonders - the small 5005 of southern Africa', the book showcases insects, spiders, frogs and reptiles, stunningly portrayed in photographs by the late photographer, Dan Lieberman. Rael conducted the research and wrote the book's text - The result is a beautiful portfolio of what he describes as 'the forgotten inhabitants of the African savannah.' He says that while witnessing the Big 5 is an awe-inspiring and humbling experience, the bush is so much more. The so-called Little 5 - Elephant Shrew, Leopard Tortoise, Ant Lion, Buffalo Weaver and Rhino Beetle - along with the other '5005' small creatures represent the richness and diversity of Africa's wildlife. Rael describes the book as "first and foremost a memoir of Dan Lieberman's work". Just a few days after its launch, Hidden Wonders was acknowledged by topping the CNA's Natural History Recommended Book List. Rael's first book, Birds - The Inside Story, has already gone to three printings.
Sabi Sabi was recently awarded the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Cheetah Award in recognition of its ongoing commitment to conservation and community development in South Africa. The Cheetah Award is only awarded infrequently, going to companies or individuals who show continuous dedication to conserving the environment for future generations; and Sabi Sabi has demonstrated such a commitment for nearly three decades. In this latest initiative, several local community members were trained as trackers through a joint project that Sabi Sabi supported - among them were seven women, the first ever females to have the opportunity of undergoing such training.
The Sabi Sabi team wishes you all a very happy New Year and the very best for 2008.