I, as well as two other guides, got the opportunity to visit our Zimbabwean colleagues at Singita Pamushana. What an incredible place to visit and what a great experience it was seeing the different landscapes and terrain. The mountains that occupy the property are mind-blowing as well as the open grasslands. The area has got a lot of diversity with regards to terrain, thus allowing for multiple different species to roam the area. We went on two game drives a day for two weeks and never was one drive even close to being the same. From visiting the ancient rock art sights, to caves that were inhabited by our ancestors, this was truly a magical place. We got to see most of the property but as it is such a large area, it would take one weeks to explore and discover it all. It was such a great opportunity to take note of how the area differs from Sabi Sand and how the two properties really go hand in hand. From the Sabi Sand area being predominately rolling hills with scatted rocky outcrops to the mountainous regions of Zimbabwe, this really does offer two different experiences.
One of the specials to do at Singita Pamushana is to catch a tigerfish, not only is this a challenge but once you have one on the line it is an experience like no other, from hearing your line getting taken out to watching the fish dash side to side as you try to bring it in onto the boat – this is one way to get the heart rate going! When we were out on the water fishing it was one of the most mesmerizing experiences due to the fact that while you are on the boat fishing, you are surrounded by the incredible scenery of the mountains that cover the dam. As you cruise along the dam various pods of hippo can be seen as well as incredible bird life, it truly is like letting your mind float off to become part of nature.
The wildlife was nothing short of spectacular, the open grasslands were covered by multiple species from impala to the all so majestic giraffes and zebra. The mountains were an amazing opportunity to get new bird species jotted down on the list and also allowed for the chance to see a rare black rhino in its natural habitat. It reminded me of being in our thicker more densely vegetated areas in the Sabi Sand and I found myself looking under the trees as well as into the trees for the all so elusive leopards.
One of the most amazing aspects for me was seeing the size of the baobab trees and actually being able to climb into the centre of one. I couldn’t help but to imagine how many stories they could tell and what they have seen over the hundreds of years during which they have become so big. It made me think a lot of the jackelberry trees that we find in the Sabi Sand region and as to how beautiful and large some of them become.
The river systems were mind blowing and we were lucky enough to have seen the river flowing strongly. From bird life to the animals and trees that engulfed the area, it was like being in a new world, the only place that I could think of having a similar beauty is that of the Sand River which flows through or Sabi Sand property.
This was truly a magical experience and one that I won’t be forgetting any time soon, it was something incredibly special and mind blowing, it also reiterates the fact that Singita is helping to preserve so many tracks of land throughout Africa, and visiting Zimbabwe really showed me how it all comes together. From the efforts of the scouts and conservation teams doing an amazing job keeping the wildlife safe, to the lodge staff taking such pride in their work and keeping the lodge at an immaculate standard, it really was something I wish that all could experience.
Autumn daylight tends to be on the short side, more so because our body clock is still on the long summer afternoons that just refuse to end. This gives plenty of time to decide where one would like to stop for a break. Autumn sunsets seem to catch you out unexpectedly and most days you scramble to find a nice spot for an enjoyable golden sunset in the African bush. Or you get reminded by cameras clicking whilst you’re driving, only to find that the day is almost done and cameras are working hard to capture a glimpse of the fast diving sun.
Guests will often ask about my favourite animal and without hesitation I can say that it is definitely a leopard. With the amount of quality leopard sightings at Singita Sabi Sand, this was definitely one of the drawing cards to work here. In my opinion Singita Sabi Sand is one of the best places to see these normally elusive and secretive cats on a regular basis.
The Cuculidae family consists of thirteen cuckoo species that can be observed in the southern African region. These birds are renowned for not taking any parental care rearing their chicks, after laying their eggs in a host specie’s nest! Evolutionary, this is exceptionally cunning behaviour that is known but not easily observed in the natural environment!
We have been fortunate enough this year to receive sufficient rainfall over the wet season and, due to this, the bush has become a place of new life with the most incredible vibrant colours at every angle. The open clearings have become lush grasslands and the thickets have been blanketed by the greenery. One aspect that has really stood out over the last few weeks has been the influx of elephants into the area. We have been extremely privileged to see the large herds returning here.