Are there more sightings of wild animals at Nambiti Private Game Reserve than any other reserve? Well, I can’t answer you there and it shouldn’t be a competition because being able to up close and personal to just one wild animal and observe it in its natural habitat is, in my mind, a great honour in itself. But I have just looked at the list of latest sightings (which will be different by the time you read this) and I am astounded by how many there are within a month. As much as 85 sightings of elephant, 10 of lion on a kill, and 7 of cheetah on a kill. Not to mention the vast number of times rhino and buffalo have been spotted. This month, the elusive leopard was only seen once. I’m jealous there. I love leopards and would dearly love to see one again but they keep themselves well hidden, wise creatures.
The fact is, on any outing you take in Nambiti Hills Private Game Reserve, guided by the ever-knowledgeable game guides and trackers of Nambiti Hills Private Game Lodge, you WILL see game, and most likely lots of it. To come across lion or cheetah is not an everyday assurance, but quite possible, but you will very likely see elephant, rhino, buffalo, the ubiquitous and much maligned wildebeest, giraffe, impala and various other buck, and a great deal more. Add to that that, at Nambiti Hills, you are taken out on an evening and early morning game drive every day of your stay, and your chances of exciting game sightings are greatly multiplied.
The guides throughout the reserve are on a portable radio system (not the correct terminology, please excuse me) that means that any sightings by one guide will be shared with all. I have had the experience on several times where the game guide has raced us passengers to the other side of the reserve to catch up with young cheetahs attempting a kill or a lion stalking a wildebeest somewhere. Believe me, it’s a bumpy ride as the terrain at Nambiti is hilly, rocky and a bit precarious in places. If you want to feel the bounce most, sit at the very back and hold on tight! It’s all part of the adventure, of course, but personally my greatest excitement is when, unprompted, you suddenly come across wild animals yourself. Sometimes, after hours of searching for a particular animal, you just turn a corner, and there the magnificent beast is, right by the roadside, pulling berries from a tree or rubbing up against a rock, or whatever the case may be.
Then it feels as if it is just between you (and, okay, the other guests in the vehicle, the guide and tracker) and this wild animal, this great gift to nature and lesson to humanity. The glory is in just sitting there, observing and communing. Everyone has a different interpretation of spirituality and I respect that yours may not be akin to mine, but for me, sitting still in the heat with that pungent and yet comforting smell of the wild around me and calmly connecting with a wild creature governed by instinct and an understanding of the land, is the most humbling, beautiful and awe-inspiring sensation I know. It is also the time when I feel truly African. And for that I am always grateful.
- Siobhan, writer, passionate about wildlife