The bushveld is wonderful to visit year-round, each month with its own special characteristics and beauty. Winter season at Sabi Sabi is drawing to a close as our days stretch slightly longer, and afternoons warm up to comfortably high temperatures. Cool and dry May to August are some of the most popular months to visit the bush with abundant sightings as animals venture out in search of water, clustering around pans and water holes.
Steaming cups of aromatic coffee and freshly baked rusks warm up sleepy bodies before heading out on your morning safari, where a hot water bottle wrapped in a blanket await on your seat to snuggle up with against the brush of cold morning air while the sun gradually extends its golden rays over the reserve. The herbaceous smell that is so unmistakably bush permeates as the vehicle traverses past exquisite silhouettes of bare winter trees against an endless blue sky, making for spectacular photo opportunities.
Painted in earthy tones, the vegetation is sparse with flashes of colour from pink and white impala lilies that are in bloom. Wildlife is easy to follow as they frequent scarce water resources and seemingly become more active due to the colder temperatures. During the winter months animals adapt their diets to low-nutrient food and pods while insects and reptiles enter their dormant phase. Elephants play a major role in habitat manipulation as they de-bark trees for the nutrients stored there. They also dig in riverbeds to quench their thirst, turning clear underground water to sloppy mud baths for warthogs and buffalo to enjoy wallowing in.
At our four award winning five-star lodges, the nearby waterholes are hives of activity during the course of the day with a high concentration of animals making their way – some in search of water, others in search of prey – and provide endless viewing of game from the comfort of a chair. Guests enjoy afternoons in the lounge areas with a good read or a craft gin or indulging in a rejuvenating treatment at one of our Amani Spas.
Venturing out on an afternoon safari includes bringing along layers of clothing as the sun turns from pink hues into an inky black night sky. Winter is the best season for viewing the skies and a host of constellations can be seen rising and setting over this period. With a hot beverage in hand, perhaps containing a shot of Amarula liqueur, our guests immerse themselves in the broad swathe of light of the Milky Way. Most winter nights are cloudless, and thousands of stars are visible to the naked eye such as the constellations of the Southern Cross, Scorpius and Sagittarius, only fully visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
Returning to the lodges, guests are welcomed by the warm glow of lanterns, candles and crackling fires in the boma area. Fresh bread, hearty soups and braised dishes prepared by our chefs are accompanied by fine red wine while the conversation flows around the events of the day. Following a sumptuous dinner, guests relax around a sunken fire pit, roaring boma fire or indoor fireplace with a nightcap, wrapped up in luxurious cosiness.
Over this last stretch of winter, we keep our eyes to sky waiting in anticipation for a new season to arrive, the first migratory birds to return and our ears pricked for the sound of distant rolling thunder and the promise of rain.