And just like that, we are well into February and the year picks up speed. So much has happened in the last few weeks that the festive season feels like a blur. We welcome new guests, new life and new and exciting happenings here at Chitwa Chitwa.
We are grateful to our team on the ground who ensured that our guests had an extra special break and enjoyed all that the Sabi Sands has to offer. Our F&B team put great effort into New Years eve with a memorable afternoon game drive filled with spectacular sightings. The experience included a Gin-stop with the hippo around Chitwa Dam climaxing with a taste sensation for all those lucky enough to bring in 2017 under African skies. Our three chefs took guests on a culinary journey through South Africa with an 8 course tasting menu. Each chef responsible for 2 courses, and a team effort on desserts. From a babotie of the cape, to bunny-chow down in Durban, lamb from the Karoo and a home-style malva pudding. Each dish perfectly paired with a wine Dinõ selected and was enjoyed amidst song and dance from the Chitwa Family. The drum beats and champagne cork pops welcomed 2017.
Although the rains have fallen, and the bush is lush and green, we have still not received all the expected rainfall for the season. The effects of the drought are still visible with carcasses sparsed around the bush. But, nature has it’s way of balancing the scales. With the recent rains we have experienced, birds of prey are spending most of their days on the ground, making light work of the flying-ant (termite) migrations. Even the bullfrogs are over indulging – see the video below.
Three, two, one – you are live, you are live. Chitwa is proud to have linked up with the team from #safariLIVE – affording the presenter guides opportunities to traverse within Chitwa’s boundaries and opening up so much more space for ‘virtual guests’ to explore. With the addition of Safari Live to Chitwa Chitwa, our Facebook feed have burst to life with wonderful live sightings every morning and evening. Safari Live offers guests, past or future, the opportunity to go on a safari drive or walk with experienced guides, right from their own home. Guests with questions and comments can send tweets or emails through with the #safariLive hash-tag, which in turn are answered by the guides out in the field.
Safari live Natgeo at ChitwaThe #safariLIVE team, in studio waiting for some action to share with guests.
Elephant, leopard and lion feature hugely and make guest appearances in about every broadcast. Our resident female leopard, Karula, has two cubs, Xongile and Ghosana, and this offers the Safari Live guides numerous viewing opportunities, if they haven’t spotted the likes of Tingana, Thandi or Mvula. These cubs are now trying to hunt smaller prey of their own like scrub hares or tortoises and when this seems too tasking, swatting at tree branches or pouncing on one another takes preference. A little further afield you can find Xivambalana, Mkanyini, Xalaheshe, Anderson male, Tiyani, Zakane, Ntsele, and Shadow.
The lions are their usual lazy selves during the brighter hours, but at dusk and dawn spending time with them gets quite loud when they start roaring. Goosebumps for the guides, guests and the viewers at home! The area surrounding Chitwa Chitwa is currently home to four prides: the Nkuhumas, Styx, Fourways and Birminghams. Tracking them can get a bit tricky as they prefer lying in the shade of a thick shrub or in the little gullies and drainage lines rendering viewing challenging. When they are however spotted, the shots are and have been simply phenomenal. There are some prides that can be found further from the camp and are as impressive and popular, like the Breakaways, Ximungwe, Matimbas, and Majingilans.
The elephants can be extremely entertaining and have been known to show off their swimming skills for the guides. Family herds traverse the Sabi Sand Game Reserve giving us glimpses of their lives and of their adorable younger members. Being careful as not to disturb the herd, sightings can last a while. As we watch, they carry on with the business of the day.
It is always a special time being able to sit amongst a herd of elephant and observe.
They may not be part of the Big Five, but our hyenas are a favorite. These looping mammals can be seen around den sights. Gwen, one of the clan females is huddling up in her den at the moment with what we have found out are new members of the clan. These small, fluffy pups can be seen exploring the area around the den when mom’s around, smelling all there is to smell and rolling wildly through the long grass.
Other spotted cats can be found, ironically on Cheetah plains. Seeing these cats in the Sabi Sands is a rare occasion, so when cheetah are seen it is very special.
Even though the larger mammals are the stars of the show, sometimes smaller creatures take over. Walking safaris allow for the guides to show guests the smaller, fascinating inhabitants of the bushveld. Birds, insects and interesting plants offer an overwhelming amount of fun facts. Walking also lets guides explore areas that the vehicles sometimes can’t get to.
If ever you are wondering what goes on while you’re not around, tune in every morning and afternoon for live safari updates. It’ll feel like you are right beside the guide experiencing the wonder that is the African Bushveld.
You can follow every day’s broadcast in the Chitwa Facebook page here.
Families are not only welcomed at Chitwa, but are encouraged. What better way to teach our young generation about the African Bushveld than to let them experience it for themselves? With many return guests to Chitwa, we’ve had the privilege of watching families grow. In a unique picture, here the Howard family return, 4 years later, to the same spot on the airfield.
Chitwa House and the Charlsy suite are best suited for families, both offering pool decks and two rooms that can be set up as single or sharing.
The below map gives you a better idea of the layout of Chitwa.
Chitwa Chitwa Layout
Chitwa House at Chitwa Chitwa in Sabi SandsThe Chitwa house, spacious, luxurious, perfect.
Charlsey suite at Chitwa ChitwaThe Charlsy Suite, exactly what a family on safari needs to relax in.
Matthew was initiated to the safari world from birth as he was born and raised at Chitwa Chitwa until boarding school beckoned. After a passionate educational experience at Grey College and then Stellenbosch University, Matt returned to the bush, where he feels most at home. It is here that he feels all his senses come to life: the shade of the sausage tree, the reverberating rumble that comes from deep inside an elephant’s larynx, the rustle of its wrinkled rump against a bush and the distant call of lions.
He spends all of his time on safari with guests or friends. His love of the bush is contagious and his knowledge is outstanding. Matthew will be dedicating his time to the marketing of Chitwa with more time at the lodge and with his father Charl – together they will make a great team!
You can contact Matthew via email : Matthew Brink, firstname.lastname@example.org
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