We personally woke guests at 4:30 AM for pre-coffee drinks on the main deck before the early game drive. We took turns in waking the guests each day. Sometimes also rousing a ranger from a young ladies room, where he’d been “protecting” her from the dangerous night life!
We were each assigned a vehicle. There were only three barely-running landies. Pete Arnot worked magic to keep them going. Covered in weld marks, smooth tyres and dashboards from Mad Max with wires hanging down and missing dials! But they gave us such special times!
Prior to driving the GVV to the parking lot, we each had to clean it and check it for reliability! Check what? It was held together with bloudraad, duct tape (which incidentally formed the major part of the toolkit) and Pete Arnot’s inventions! Nevertheless, Dave did an occasional vehicle check.
After the morning game drive, we returned for breakfast on main deck. Guests and staff all ate together, both on the deck and in the boma. Breakfasts were legend, especially the home baked bread. The spread made the deck groan!
On many occasions we took guests to the river for breakfast and we were quite adept at cooking eggs in a variety of ways! I had a party of Australian male directors who had a bush breakfast every day. I never cooked a thing!
Some guests and rangers spent time at the only pool, after clearing the night’s before hippo’s, elephants and snakes! And in hot weather, we often had days of 40 plus degrees, clearing the night’s before ranger’s and young guests!
Game drives were trips of note. The big five were thinly distributed throughout the Sabi Sands reserve. The Kruger Park’s veterinary fence made sure of that! If we saw a leopard once in six-month’s it was quite something. So, when a single. Buffalo was sighted (let alone an elephant), the radio crackled with the directions and extreme low flying was done! Guests were extremely quite during the dash, probably because the wind tore the words from their mouths! Once on the sighting, we would invariably have to do considerable bush-bashing to get close. Ken Tinley’s bush clearing had just begun, so the habitat was very dense in places.
Written and Photographed by: Peter Pyburn