It’s that time of year again, when birds chirp a little sweeter and when previously, ordinary looking plants now beam with pride showing off their floral array. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, you’ll know what I’m talking about with our spring equinox (also known as the vernal equinox) falling on the 23rd September.
This astronomical event occurs twice a year and is when the plane of the Earth’s equator passes directly through the sun. The Latin word equinox translates to ‘equality of day and night’, which is a perfect explanation of this event. On the 23rd the length of our day and night at Londolozi will be almost equal and from this point on our days will continue to get longer and warmer which, as a lover of summer, makes me very happy.
Our journey around the sun leads to many transformations during the calendar year, but this period in particular is spectacular to witness. With longer and warmer days, here are some of the changes that one can expect at Londolozi:
1. Our migratory birds are coming back
Just by standing on Varty Camp’s deck it’s clear to see that Londolozi’s skies are beginning to showcase some of our most beautiful migratory birds. Birds to look out for in the upcoming weeks: the Lesser Spotted eagle (the distance champion of raptors with some making their way here from northern Germany), Swallows (Barn, White-throated and Red-breasted), Yellow-billed kite, Wahlberg’s eagle, Amur Falcons and Lesser Kestrels, Wood Sandpiper, the Common Greenshank, the European bee-eater and my favourite, the Southern Carmine Bee-eater.
2. Our florals are scattered throughout the bush
Their sweet scent is in the air, luring the bees and their colour pallets and leaving viewers in adoration. The bare bush is slowly plumping up again with new leaves springing to life and flowers in bloom. Some of the trees and shrubs currently in flower are the impala lily, Long tailed cassia, coral tree, Knobthorn, Sausage tree and the Tree Wisteria. The Schotia is also in bloom, attracting many birds and insects (the hum of these insects is the reasons for the local name ‘uVovovo‘).
3. There is an unmistakable change in temperature
Waking up early for game drive is a lot easier when it’s warmer and you don’t have to layer yourself up to face the chilly winds. Game drives head out a little earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon in summer to avoid the midday heat. This however, allows for longer days to enjoy the private plunge pools just outside our rooms or daring to immerse yourself in the freeze pool during a body activation session at the Healing House.
4. New constellations begin to appear
Depending on the location and the season you’re in, different constellations will be visible. Here in the southern hemisphere we are spoilt with some of the most breath-taking celestial sights from star clusters to two dwarf galaxies. This spring we welcome back the zodiac constellations of Aquarius, Capricorn and Pisces.
Trees with baby-green leaves, dotted with flowers, flashes of familiar birds and a new night sky are just some of the things we are getting excited about this spring.
Ironically change is one of the things that scares people the most, yet it is one of the most appealing aspects of the African bush. The constant ebb and flow of seasons, the rise and fall of the river, and the bursting out of life and then its slow withdrawal into the dry season again… it is the most wondrous cocktail of these changes that draws people back to Africa time and time again. Although certain constants can be comforting, it is the change out here that is the appeal.
The only constant is how alive you will feel when you are amidst all that nature has to offer. So we welcome the Equinox in a couple of days time, and look forward to welcoming in the changes it will slowly start ushering in…