A cooler wetter summer and the impact of burning

Sabi Sand | December 2020

What a pleasant summer it has been so far. The late summer of 2020 brought about cooler temperatures with a larger amount of rainfall. This was something that we all welcomed with opened arms. After receiving large amounts of rain from the start of summer up until now, it has really transitioned the bush from an arid landscape to that of true African beauty, from the wild flowers and birds chirping to the ever-almighty roar of the male lions. The bush really seems to be “alive” and thriving. We are loving the cooler summer as it brings much relief not only for the animals but for the staff and our guests as well. One can just start to imagine the relief that the rain brings for the animals as it brings cooler weather and allows for lush green vegetation to grow. The bush has got this magnificent green blanket layer that really brings out the vibrant green of the grass with a mix of the wild flowers showing their colours. The colours of the bush really do make this a fantastic time of year for photography as everything just seems so beautiful and photogenic. Yes, it does become a bit more of a challenge to find the various species, but what a reward when you do locate an animal and are able to spend time with it surrounded by such beauty.

One big factor that does play a massive role in the bush is burning certain arears. During the period of lockdown in South Africa we had the chance to burn areas that had not been burnt for a number of years. Now burning is important in the bush as it allows for new vegetation to grow as well as helps to thin out the bush when you do not have any natural fires. The great thing for us was that little did we know the rains would start only a few weeks after we had completed the burns. This was a blessing in disguise as it allowed for the environment to bounce back at an exceptional rate. It has allowed for certain areas to be cleared which in turn benefits the various animals.

One animal in particular that has benefited from this is cheetah. They have now got the vast open clearings which not only allows for some great hunting opportunities but also helps them spot a threat from a distance which in turn gives them the opportunity to get out of the area before any contact may occur.

As the Sand River now floods and the rains continue to fall, it brings about some breath-taking scenery and has all of us very excited as to what will come for the year of 2021.