On the 30th of January 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of Covid-19 to be a Public Health emergency of International concern. The pandemic sent shock waves through the world’s population as thousands of people flocked to supermarkets in order to stock up on supplies they might need during their isolation. Very quickly, countries across the world began to close their borders in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. Furthermore, to further prevent the spread of the virus within the different countries, many leaders decided it to be necessary to instate a nationwide lockdown, restricting the movement of citizens outside their place of residence.
South Africa was very quick to follow suit, meaning that Sabi Sabi would have to close their doors to all guests until the situation improves. Along with this, all staff associated with Sabi Sabi would also have to return to their homes during the nationwide lockdown.
The entire country began to prepare for the lockdown as many started to stock up on basic supplies to last them the duration and on Friday the 27th of March, South Africa’s lockdown began.
Being a nature lover, I knew it was going to be very difficult to get through the next five weeks, staying at home, and without seeing any animals that inhabit Sabi Sabi, such as the majestic leopard. I therefore had to find a way to attract the wildlife to me. With this in mind, the only real wildlife I could attract was birds and also, to an extent, insects. Soon I began constructing a bird feeding station with multiple perches for all the different birds to congregate. It took me a while to figure out the perfect setup, but, soon enough, I had the station built and stocked full of bird seed as well as a variety of fruit.
After a bit of patience, the first birds started to arrive, which started a chain reaction, attracting a wide variety of birds in the area. For me, living in Johannesburg, there are many species of birds that occur in this area, that are not found in Sabi Sabi. However, there are certain birds such as the Black Collared Barbet and Grey Go-Away Bird that occur both in Johannesburg and Sabi Sabi. Although it is always interesting seeing different bird species that I am not familiar with, it is also comforting seeing species that do occur in Sabi Sabi as it makes me almost feel like I am still there.
Although I have witnessed an abundance of birds visiting the garden, there was certainly a lot more to be found besides birds. Twin Dotted Border Butterflies visited the garden frequently and were also present long enough to be able to get some very impressive photographs.
Flowers have also still been in bloom, attracting many pollinators including the most important, the bee.
It truly amazes me that although I live relatively close to a large city, there is still such a variety of wildlife that thrives in this environment and even though myself and so many other nature lovers cannot be at Sabi Sabi right now, there is still so much that we can all enjoy from our back gardens.
This is the new norm that the global population faces. It is certain that this global pandemic will end, and when it does, we will be presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to change our way of living, working and consuming, in order to conserve the world we live in. So, to the entire Sabi Sabi family, and the rest of the world, I wish you good health. Stay safe and we will see you soon at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.