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“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very Earth itself” – Laura Gilpin
The picturesque river that runs in front of Londolozi has not only nourished and quenched the thirst of its land for centuries, but has also been the subject of many stories over the years. From exciting predator-prey chases to more comical moments, the Sand River has been known to set the scene for some of our more riveting tales. And so, in celebration of World Rivers Day today, we bring back to life some of these memories:
“A pride of lions pad through the water of the Sand River. The simple act of placing one foot in front of the other becomes the most exciting thing in the world! Water droplets glinting in the sunlight, the shimmering reflections and the deep pug marks left in the exposed sand combine to put hearts in mouths and keep fingers firmly pressed on shutter release buttons…” – July 2015: A River Runs Through It or Sunday Stories: A Lucky Breakby James Tyrrell
“The Sand River is definitely not the sort of habitat that one would associate a cheetah with, with its dense riverine vegetation and vast granite boulders to navigate around, but lo and behold right in front of us lay the male cheetah with a fixated gaze on an Nyala browsing in the distance. He made use of the soft river sand and made no noise as he got himself into a position from which he could launch an attack. Before we knew it he exploded into life …” – December 2016:Cheetah Kill in the Sand Riverby James Souchon
“Many rangers, as well as guests who have visited our reserve, will have experienced the feeling of getting stuck – you sit watching a pride of lions wading through the water into perfect light, while you remain bogged down behind them, your wheels spinning in the soft sand. To ensure that this happens less in the future (and to try prolong Kevin Power’s current tenure as the Pink Pouch holder), two instructors from Land Rover Experience came out to Londolozi to teach us all a thing or two…” – October 2017: Rangers Get Stuck in the Sand Riverby Shaun D’Araujo
“A saddle-billed pair of storks, the most beautiful of the family, came in for a gentle landing a few metres in front of a hunched marabou stork. To its left were three yellow-billed storks, their plumage tinged pink and above them in a Marula tree was an African openbill, typically quite a rarity. Below them, on the edge of a large shallow puddle was a black stork and as if that wasn’t enough, a woolly-necked stork flew overhead. It was a birder’s paradise…” – February 2016:A Look at Life in the Sand River from a Stork’s Perspectiveby Josephine Benecke
“With the area still in the grip of drought, many animals – predators included – have been focusing their movements in and around the Sand River, and this has placed a lot of pressure on one small corner of the reserve in particular, near Londolozi’s eastern boundary, where the Xidulu female and the much younger Nkoveni female have clashed numerous times over the last couple of months. Once the drought breaks, the grass returns, and prey species once more spread out into the areas surrounding the Sand River, it is likely that the two leopards will disperse as well, and be able to focus their hunting efforts elsewhere. Although pressure will be somewhat alleviated on the two, we may well see further clashes occurring in the area, particularly if the Nkoveni female births a litter in the next two months.” – October 2016: Leopards Fight Over River Territoryby James Tyrrell
“Could this be the moment I had been waiting for? A male Lion crossing the Sand River? Our senses were excited and electrified. Camera settings ready and hearts beating, we followed the male as he made his approach to the crossing. Just before he reached the crossing he turned south away from the river, in this brief moment we managed to get past him, reached the causeway and reversed the length of the crossing and waited patiently. Like a ray of light bursting through the eye of the storm, he appeared from the dense thickets and walked directly toward the strong current flowing over the causeway…” – March 2014: Lions and Riversby Mike Sutherland
These stories bring back nostalgia for many, but also thrill for the guaranteed campfire-worthy tales to come. We celebrate the magical moments made at the lifeblood of Londolozi today, the Sand River. For many of our guests this river has also presented incredible moments and we would love to hear what some of your favorite experiences have been in and around the Sand River. Please leave your stories in the comments section below.