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Klaserie Sands River Camp

Written by Candace Grey

Explaining the change in the surroundings at Cheetah Plains after the recent rain is something which I find myself stumbling over. There are very little words to describe it properly, other than the use of the classic terms like “lush”, “beautiful”, “wow” and “amazing”.

Cheetah Plains, elephant

I keep saying to guests how we were all worrying over the animals who were less than capable of adapting to the dry, arid conditions – mainly our hippos and buffalos – and this was certainly a true statement. We watched as animals grew thin and began moving away, searching for water and greener pastures, and wondered if this would pass soon. Only the elephants kept folks on their toes with their camp-to-camp browsing.

Thankfully in December last year, all worries were laid to rest after one night when 48mm of rain filled the pans, summoning the bullfrogs and kick-starting a super quick regrowth of all the vegetation.

Cheetah Plains, before and after the rain
Before and after the rain

A couple of return guests, as well as avid Cheetah Plains and Wild Earth followers, have remarked on the stark difference in what they saw and have expressed their pleasure in this change. Safari-lovers are indeed nature-lovers through and through!

One of my favourite things to notice is how much more vibrant the animals appear to be. The best example of this is the impala.

Cheetah Plains, after the rain, impala

Sure, they are seen by us as common and not so exciting, but when seeing their rusty orange-red colour against a green background, their mundane appearance seems to almost vanish and they become more visually appealing than before. Obviously it’s not ideal for them when looking at it from a predation point of view, but from an observer’s point, it certainly increases their appeal.

Slowly, we are seeing the return of the buffalo to the area, though a sudden abundance of water and grazing has made game viewing a bit quieter due to less movements of game from the Kruger.

Cheetah Plains, after the rain, buffalo

The little guys are also enjoying this season. I have noticed this as more and more ornate webs are appearing in the trees and shrubs along with the most fascinating looking arachnids. Worry not, these critters tend to find the indoors a bit too stifling for their liking and so they remain outside.

Cheetah Plains, after the rain, spider

So if you are a fan of spiders and are visiting Cheetah Plains, perhaps ask your guide if they can accompany you around the lodge at night on a hunt for these 8-legged web-slingers.

As autumn draws to a close and the crispy chill of winter begins to drift in, we can expect it to be dry again, but fortunately not as detrimental as the past year!

Cheetah Plains

Cheetah Plains is a small, authentic bush camp in the world renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve - you can be assured of exceptional game viewing. With only 8 rooms the focus is on a traditional safari experience. Expect superb fire cooked meals served in the open boma as well as friendly and attentive hosts.