At the start of October Abelana Game Reserve was a sea of parched, sparse brown bush that looked apparently lifeless. Save for the eternal green around the Selati River and on the fringes of our dams and waterholes, the picture was a typical one for the time of year – the height of the dry season when everything was craving water. The rains seemed a long way off, as they normally come in mid to late November, so we were hunkering down, preparing for the last few weeks of dry, dry, dry…
So imagine our surprise, and our relief when the new month brought with it unexpected gifts in the form of almost two weeks of incessant rain with downpour after downpour soaking the soil, filling the waterholes and triggering an early transformation from brown to green with everything now wet, wet, wet!
The power of rainfall can never be understated. It really is the lifeblood of the bush and everything that lives in it. Within a few days fresh green shoots began to appear all over the reserve and trees that had seemed lifeless produced new buds. Animals that had been gravitating towards whatever water was left were suddenly at liberty to move freely as water was more abundant across the reserve.
Two weeks later the bush is a sea of green, with grasses growing in abundance and trees and shrubs in full leaf. Life has returned to the African bush and Abelana is flushed with it. The incredible change that rain brings with it is simply breathtaking.
It’s a beautiful time to be in the bush and experience the change of seasons first-hand. Our plains game species are heavily pregnant so we expect the pitter-patter of tiny feet in the very near future, now that food is plentiful once more. Soon there will be impala lambs cavorting and warthog piglets everywhere following mum’s raised “car aerial” tail. The wildebeest will drop their calves and the zebra their foals and baby animal season will be upon us.
To say that early rains are a blessing is an understatement, and while the bush may be closing up quickly thanks to the new growth, the air is filled with birdsong and a myriad colours thanks to the arrival of summer migrant bird species like the African paradise flycatcher and European bee-eater. The bush will soon be filled with the distinctive call of the woodland kingfisher, whose arrival from further north signals the start of summer.
So come and experience this amazing seasonal change with us here at Abelana Game Reserve. Choose from the beautiful, luxurious Abelana River Lodge on the Selati River or the authentic tented elegance of Abelana Safari Lodge in the south of the reserve, surrounded by an awe-inspiring landscape dotted with towering granite outcrops. Get in touch for more information and to make a reservation, and we hope to be seeing you in this gorgeous, green wonderland very soon!