When sitting with guests at night and they ask me what my work cycles are like and I reply saying “we work a 6-week shift and go on leave for 2 weeks”; their replies are normally one of astonishment. I also frequently get asked if I get bored driving around for 6 weeks looking at animals. I guess when you get to live out your passion and do what you love you will never get bored. Waking up every morning and imagining what surprises Mother Nature might have planned gets me all excited and I can’t wait to share those experiences with my guests.
These past 6 weeks have been amazing to say the least, with many sightings big and small. The morning and evening temperatures have plummeted. Seeing guests all wrapped up in blankets and rangers wearing gloves and beanies have become a common sight, but that has not stopped the animals from coming out to play.
A new lion pride to Sabi Sabi, the Styx Pride, has started venturing on to our reserve for the first time in years and have they been busy! On 2 consecutive days they managed to bring down a Buffalo calf and two Impala rams, and with that bringing a lot of Hyena action. The Southern Pride has been hanging around Selati Camp quite a bit, but it comes as no surprise due to the large amount of prey species which tend to frequent the large open areas close to the lodge. Whilst watching the Styx Pride one morning on an Impala kill, the Southern Pride heard the commotion and wasted no time in going to investigate. They chased off the Styx Pride which more than doubled their numbers, but with a few youngsters in the Styx Pride, I think flight was a better option than fight.
Large herds of Buffalo have been making their way back, stretching all over the western and northern section of our reserve, the grazing value is still good and the Buffalo are in very good condition, with the welcoming sights of many calves. We have also had many Elephant herds, some large and some small with some very large bulls hanging around too. I can never get tired of spending time with Elephants, for an animal that stays awake for 20 hours a day, it’s bound to be doing something when you are around. Especially the little ones, they are just full of character and energy.
Let’s get to the spotted beauties. The Leopards have been keeping us rather busy too. The White Dam male has definitely extended his range as we are seeing him pretty much everywhere on our northern and western sectors. We were busy having our morning coffee when we heard the frantic distress calls of Impala. We headed off and found the White Dam male with a fresh Impala kill hoisted up a tree. Not too long after, Kigelia joined the scene and kept her distance while making chuffing sounds, which is a friendly greeting. Needless to say, White Dam was not interested in sharing and chased after his sister sending her scrambling up a small Knobthorn Tree to escape him.
And to end off with, here are a few of my other memorable sightings. I had my first sighting of an African Rock Python with a Scrub Hare kill, which happened while sitting with the Southern Pride. The lions were sleeping, when suddenly a loud screech could be heard, the lions popped their heads up and we headed off in that general direction. We didn’t stay for long though, as the fear of scaring the snake off its kill from the vibrations of the vehicle could be a possibility. I have had many sightings of the beautiful Saddle-billed Stork, which grabs the attention of anybody no matter how much they aren’t interested in birds.
Being a ranger is my passion, and I hope I was able to share my amazing lifestyle with you and intrigue you to come visit Sabi Sabi. ‘til next time…