Cicada’s, birds, rain, long green grass and the baby boom of small animals are just a few thoughts of summer. February, according to the records, is the hottest time of year and it proved to be just that with some sweltering and humid days after all the rain. We thought that we’d seen the end of the rain until later this year but, surprisingly, we experienced a few heavy and most welcome thunderstorms. Summer also brings in dramatic clouds and some sizzling sunsets. As an orange glow emitted across the horizon we all leaned against the land rover, watching this sunset, in awe. I have often been told that wild environments that humble the spirit are food for the soul. This was a feast! Watching large herds of herbivores you’ll often see some of them with a number of birds perched on their backs, as if to take a free ride. However, their purpose is extremely important to the host animals in the sense that they will spend a great deal of time foraging through the animals’ hairy coat, looking for ticks. Not exactly a high class entrée, but extremely nutritious and tasty to this little bird. Oxpecker populations occur in certain areas within Africa, as they live off ticks that live off livestock and wildlife.
- Average Minimum:18°C (64°F)
- Average Maximum:31°C (88°F)
- Minimum Recorded:17°C (63°F)
- Maximum Recorded:36°C (97°F)
- For the period:32 mm (1 in)
- For the year to date:262 mm (10 in)
At the end of June we welcomed 3 new members to our guiding team. Nick Podmore and Francois Fourie successfully graduated from the intensive 6 month training course run by Alan Yeowart at Singita Sabi Sand. Lisa Thomas, whilst no stranger to Singita Sabi Sand, also moves across to the guiding team. Lisa has a wealth of experience both in the Sabi Sand reserve and in Zambia.
During June there was a noticeable drop in the early morning and late afternoon temperatures and it became clear that our forecast of a cold winter following the higher than average rainfall during the summer months was spot on. It hasn’t been all that uncommon for the early morning temperatures to dip just below freezing and one morning there was even frost on the clearing north of the Sand River, which was a first for me.
- Average Minimum:6°C (43°F)
- Average Maximum:24°C (75°F)
- Minimum Recorded:0°C (32°F)
- Maximum Recorded:29°C (84°F)
- For the period:2 mm (0 in)
- For the year to date:742 mm (29 in)
Whilst the early part of the month was characterised by mild weather, similar to what was experienced in April, this was to come to an abrupt end in the middle of the month. There was no doubt that winter had arrived! Jackets, beanies and gloves have now become an essential part of game drive attire, as have the hot water bottles that are provided by the lodge for the chilly morning drives.
I had forgotten just how beautiful the winter mornings are. Although it is difficult to drag oneself out of the comfort of one’s bed on the cold, dark winter mornings, experiencing the African sunrise from the deck of one of the lodges, coffee mug in hand, makes it all worthwhile.
My favourite is standing on the lower deck of the lodges watching the mist rise off of the Sand River, as the sun rises in the background.
- Average Minimum:11°C (52°F)
- Average Maximum:24°C (75°F)
- Minimum Recorded:4°C (39°F)
- Maximum Recorded:27°C (81°F)
- For the period:6 mm (0 in)
- For the year to date:740 mm (29 in)