first flight out

Going on a game drive is like an unwritten story book, empty pages waiting to be filled with memories as you drive along, not knowing what is around the next corner or on the open area in front.

It was a beautiful morning and it is always great to have guests eager to appreciate the bush and what it holds. We had a family of five that stayed for three nights and this was their fourth game drive. We had been successful on our safaris in that we had already seen the Big Five and so many other animals. With that being said we decided that morning to have a more scenic drive, taking the guests down to the Sabie River, past the beautiful rock formations forming small "koppies" and Sabi Sabi's private airstrip. At first I thought, why the airstrip? But the father of the family was a pilot and in order to satisfy his curiosity he requested a drive by the airstrip. Little did we know that is wasn't going to be just a drive by.

wild dog at sabi sabi airstrip

Even with us not focusing on finding animals we saw a lot on our drive to the river. Parked high up on the embankment overlooking the Sabie River we spotted a large elephant bull in the distance, a pair of fish eagles and some hippos. As we soaked up the beauty and sheer size of the river, the radio call came in that a ranger had found wild dogs not too far from where we were. We ended our peaceful scenic chapter and head out to meet the wild dogs.

wild dog at sabi sabi airstrip

We joined the wild dog sighting, pleased to find that they had their pups with them. The pups were old enough to join the adults while travelling but would be left with a caretaker when the adults actively went out to hunt.

wild dog

It is difficult to keep up with a wild dog pack when they are on a mission but today was a very relaxed sighting as they were clearly not hunting.

Without paying attention to the direction we were heading in, we suddenly realized that we were just south of the airstrip.

The wild dogs kept moving and finally reached it. When we got there, we realized that the wild dogs weren't the only animals on the tarmac.

Now I could see why they call it a dazzle of zebras. There was a large herd of zebras close to the airstrip, huddled together, looking like one large striped unit.

Curious about the wild dogs, one or two of the herd of blue wildebeest moved closer, investigating the newcomers. It was truly beautiful to see so many animals at the Sabi Sabi Private airstrip.

The guests got so much more than what they bargained for. They had requested one photograph of the airstrip for their refrigerator at home in memory of Sabi Sabi, but they returned with so many photographs, enough to cover their whole refrigerator.

by: erick mabunda (bush lodge tracker)

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