Being a guide is possibly the most rewarding “job” one can do, I have always said that this is not a job but rather a lifestyle. We get to experience nature at its best and see exactly what the bush has to offer, from the smaller aspects such as the insects to the larger game such as elephants. There is no day that will repeat itself, no drive ever to be the same. This is the beauty of safari. Every day there is a new experience to be had, not only by our guests but also by ourselves as the guides and trackers.
Living in the bush is an adjustment to make and once settled in, it really does become your second home. From the early morning wake-ups and watching the sunrise and hearing the symphony of the birds chirping along with the lion’s roar, this is what brings the bush to life along with the light of day breaking to the final bird calls of the last light and watching the sunset behind the beautiful Drakensberg mountain range. This is what life is all about!
As the seasons are changing we are already noticing a significant change with regards to both the vegetation and the animals’ behaviour and movement. It has always interested me as to how the animals adapt to the various times of year, such as a large numbers of animals congregating along the river systems and watering holes in the winter months to the game becoming more dispersed as the rains arrive.
As the winter season comes to end now, the trees are starting to blossom and bloom creating an incredible canopy, below which lies a secret world of animals from the leopards to the termites, and this is where the exploration begins.
This last winter was an incredible one, we have been treated to some spectacular sights from the animals as well as the incredible views and sunsets. As the water sources dry up just before the big rains arrive, the pressure is on the increase for survival of all. The prey species are having to visit the smaller bodies of water that act as a death trap as there is almost certainly a predator waiting close by for that perfect hunting opportunity.
No animals can relax at this time of year, and this will prove the theory of the survival of the fittest. During this last winter season, we were pleased to have a few new members to add to our Singita family. The new additions of the Mhangene pride lion cubs as well as the Othawa pride lion cubs. Both prides are doing well and look to be getting stronger. During winter, it is ideal for the cats to have new cubs as hunting does become slightly easier due to the lack of water and the concentration of the game around smaller water sources.
This is what the bush is all about and what a way to experience nature at its finest. We are privileged to call Singita our home and I can truly say that this is a “place of miracles “.
Spotted hyenas are infamous for scavenging from other predators! They go about their lives, opportunistically looking for the weak and injured, as well as any chance to rob large felines and canines of kills they make. Popular belief regarding hyenas is that they hunt and scavenge in clans, but here in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve we often see them roaming around alone and only see them in clans at their den-sites, around waterholes, or after calling for backup if the predators outweigh them in numbers or strength around a carcass!
Living ‘bush’ allows us to watch the ebb and flow of nature taking her natural course with the circle of life. It is such a privilege to experience the unique feeling that we are a small part of an animal’s life. Over the last seven years working at Singita, I have watched leopards come and go in various Singita regions, true to the peak and trough of leopard populations in the wild.
One of the best feelings working in the bush is to be part of a conservation effort to save an animal! A few weeks ago Emmanuel and I guided a family from India that stayed at Singita Ebony Lodge. They were excited to experience the vast wildlife of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and, in particular, the birdlife of the region.