The Sand River has risen and as we enter the New Year, the timing couldn’t be more apt. It goes without saying that many of us may find ourselves reflecting on the past and looking ahead to the future at the dawn of a new year. For me, here at Londolozi one of the most powerful symbols of this transition is the rise of the Sand River.
As the Spring rains began in September and the thunderstorms rolled over the source and catchment of the Sand River in the Northern Drakensburg mountains, we have been eagerly anticipating the renewed vigour that the rising water levels would bring. While we can’t ignore what might get swept away as the rapids grow louder, the abundance of food and nutrients that are bought with the continuous flow is evident in the rejuvenation of the local ecosystem.
The Sand River is the artery of life here at Londolozi and to me, it is a constant reminder of the abundance that surrounds us. I could continue to elaborate on the symbolism of rivers and the metaphors for life, renewal, or the passage of time that we are all too familiar with. Rather, I thought I would put together a collection of some of the highlights that were captured along the Sand River over the last year. While the water levels were much lower until recently, this collection is a reminder of the ebb and flow and the symbolism of rivers as we enter the New Year and take a moment to reflect on the abundance and joy that surrounds us.
The tranquillity of elephants drinking, splashing or grazing can often be seen in abundance across the Sand River, no matter what the season.
As the Senegal Bush male leaps across a steady-flowing channel, overcoming the challenge with ease and grace, he represents the fearlessness and opportunistic nature of leopards.
Initially seen as a young male in 2016, this leopard only properly established territory on Londolozi in mid-2019
Balance, focus, and reflection – a reminder to find stillness in the midst of change.
Taylors Crossing – There is always time to slow down as you cross over this section of the Sand River and take in the serene wilderness that surrounds you.
The Malachite Kingfisher – a small but noticeable burst of colour amongst the diverse array of birdlife that gathers around the water’s edge creating a symphony of life.
As Rangers, we are never hesitant in finding ways to immerse ourselves in the beauty that surrounds us – particularly when it comes to cooling off in the Sand River after a bush walk on a hot day.
“Like hippos in the water, we are all capable of finding grace and strength in our own element”
As Two of the sub-adult lionesses from the Talamati Pride chase each other on the banks of the Sand River we are reminded that we are all capable of finding joy and playfulness in the most unexpected of places.
The ebb and flow of the Sand River always allows for moments of reflection and creates a sense of reverence for the land and the abundance of wildlife we are able to immerse ourselves in.
A large elephant bull marches his way down to the Sand River. Although it had clouded over by this time, it had been an incredibly hot day and he had likely travelled quite the distance to get to the river for a drink and wallow.
On a hot afternoon a few buffalo bulls spent time in the Sand River to cool off
You cannot help but share in the excitement that exudes from a herd of elephants as approach water, particularly when it’s the Sand river.
Two Giraffes navigate their way across the Sand River in the late morning
A herd of elephants wander through the Sand River. Water levels are unusually low in the river for this time of year. We look forward to more rains in the coming weeks.
If these images over the last year are anything to go by and with the positive symbolism of each in mind, I’m looking forward to welcoming the abundance and rejuvenation that the New Year has to offer.