As the first plump drops of rain fall onto the thirsty earth, the sudden and unexpected change in the bush is remarkable. Yellow and brown landscapes are transformed into verdant tree canopies, lush and nutritious grasses and dense green undergrowth where insects, birds and small mammals find food and camouflage and refuge from the daytime heat. Stretches of soaring temperatures are interspersed with welcoming thunderstorms and heavy downpours, cooling down the earth as new growth erupts, species fatten up and new additions are born.
Nurseries of baby impala make for delightful viewing and photographic opportunities as mothers encourage their lambs to walk on wobbly legs and explore their new surroundings. Forever cautiously eyeing the surroundings, these energetic youngsters stay in close proximity to their mothers, staying out of the range of eternal opportunistic predators.
The distinctive “chip-cherrrrrr” call of the Woodland Kingfisher is one of the first signs of the return of summer as migratory bird species make their way to habitats rich in food availability and favourable weather conditions. Having travelled great distances to meet their needs, this annual migration remains one of nature’s wonders, rewarding our feathered friends for their arduous journey with an abundance of insects and the perfect season for singing, defending their territory, and mating.
Ongoing rainfall will fill up dry sand riverbeds and drainage lines to flow in torrential torrents, which last from a few minutes to many hours. This does wonders to raise the water table and rejuvenate riverine vegetation, supplying juicy fruits to a host of species. Already, elephants and buffalo have been seen wallowing in these mud pans, getting rid of parasites on their skin or simply cooling down.
Early morning sunrise and late sunsets allow for more game viewing time, relaxing in the cool luxury suites at our four five-star lodges or enjoying the surroundings while savouring new seasonal menu dishes – abundant salads and fresh flavours delight palates, whilst paired with a glass of crisp South African boutique wine or craft cocktail. When day temperatures become exceptionally hot, private plunge pools at Earth Lodge and swimming pools at Little Bush Camp, Bush Lodge and Selati Camp are ideal to take it easy and cool down.
The safari ritual of early evening sundowners in the bush with your favourite drink in hand, against the colourful backdrop of an African sunset, is a glorious time to reflect on life in the wild, and on our own lives. Nature teaches us precious lessons about timing and patience and how everything has a purpose. During very dry winter months and elusive rain, we are reminded that there are things we can’t control, but when we allow time to pass, we will be rewarded with a season of renewal.