News update: 17th November
After a hot, dry start to the summer, the long awaited rains have finally arrived at Sabi Sabi, ensuring plenty of food for browsers and grazers, and a rich supply of game for predators.
October was unusually hot. For brief periods temperatures soared to over 40°C, with a few days when unprecedented highs of 48°C (118°F) were recorded. The cooler evenings provide a welcome respite and are perfect for sunset game viewing and sundowners in the bush.
With the advent of the first rains the bush changed almost overnight from its winter yellows and browns to a bright, vibrant green. In just a few short weeks, what started as a hint of colour in the tips of the grass or on the leafy buds on branches has burst into life, changing the look of the bushveld completely. The dramatic skeletal outlines of deciduous trees have instead become lush canopies, and the plains are covered in nutritious grasses. Frogs are calling from every mud wallow, insects chirp cheerily and the summer migrant birds have come soaring back from their winter climes. Avid twitchers had been watching the sky and are delighted to have all the migratory species back in residence.
The game watching this season has been absolutely exceptional. Guests on safari are being treated to the sight of all the newborn animals which arrived early summer. Baby wildebeest with their hilariously out of proportion long legs teeter across the open areas, beautiful young giraffes follow closely on their mothers heels learning vital life lessons, and there are impala nurseries filled with dozens of energetic youngsters. And behind all the antelope mothers and babies are the eternal opportunistic predators: they also have young mouths to feed.
If the rains continue, the smaller pans which dry up in the winter will fill with water. Many animals will take advantage of these hidden water sources which offer them a safer environment, shielded from prowling predators. Already, elephants, buffalo and rhinos have been seen wallowing in these mud pans, getting rid of parasites on their skin or simply cooling down. Their antics in and out of the water are truly entertaining.
As the year draws to a close the days will keep getting longer and the sun will keep shining on this extraordinary part of the African continent. And though the seasons change in an unending cycle the 5-Star experience at Sabi Sabi remains constant.