We awake early at Shish (Shishingane – Warren’s quarters) and at 6am travel to the Sweni causeway. I’m afraid that my Painted Snipe seems to have disappeared so after a time of coaxing with the bird caller, nothing better than a Common Moorhen appears.
Again, in splendid weather we make for Gudzani (S41) and then work our way up the S100. Goodness but this is a good road, lined with animals along the entire route. At the windmill there are is a pride of lion snoozing under bushes. We push on and soon come to a small herd of buffalo where we stop and watch these fascinating animals. My petrol is perilously low so we push through to camp.
Over lunch our PE neighbours tell us that the “Kruger Sightings” ap informs them that the lion pride that we have just passed on the S100 have engaged in a ‘skirmish with the buffalo’.
Tonight Warren has invited us to dinner at the main Singita lodge so at 3pm we set off down the S100 to see what the developments are. Before we get to the windmill a car tells us that the lions have crossed the river and are now on the far bank.
At the windmill we come to what is now a very large herd of buffalo which are placidly milling about showing no signs of their skirmish. So they must have successfully repelled the lions. I find one Yellow-billed Oxpecker amongst all the reds. Of course that great drawback of this tremendous S100 road is the traffic with its dust.
We continue southward onto the Nwanetsi tarred road (H6) and then turn westward towards Warren’s turnoff. Before we get there we are met by an enormous sized buffalo herd which is enjoying the rich, lush grass that has flourished after the recent rains. Warren tells us that Kruger lost 70% of its buffalo during the drought of two years ago.
Singita staff employees and their guests must abide by Park travelling times so only a shuttle bus travels on the hour (after hours) between Shish and the lodge. We are going to catch the 6pm bus and then meet Warren at the lodge. After freshening up and putting on our best finery – a clean set of boxer shorts, shirt and scrubbed slip-slops we board the bus prepared to rub shoulders with the snooty guests. We meet Warren and are taken through a long list of all the exotic, outrageously priced wines and other drinks after which the barman does a double take when I ask for an Appletiser. After the barman’s setback we settle to enjoy the spectacle of the full moon rising before us and the peace that only the bushveld seems to deliver.
We move to our table all the while pampered by the highly trained hospitality staff. Warren has ostrich and Renette prawns for starters and then we all choose Kudu steaks for our main dish. I am told that their seafood is flown in every day from the fish markets of Cape Town. Our Kudu is truly one of the most tasty dishes I have experienced. This is followed by a not so good pudding after which we must hurry to catch the 8.30pm bus. I have said that I am a very happy peasant preferring the simplicity of a braai outside the caravan but after what we experienced at Singita, I can only feel a pride that SA and its great wildlife assets are being offered to the foreign tourists in such a world-class fashion. And may I add that the outrageous R25,000pp charge is not as obscene as it looks. The costs are massive, not least the army of top quality staff who see to these tourist’s every need. There is another Singita down at Sabie Sands and fifteen others scattered over the African continent and good luck to them. They are great national assets.
A month ago Warren collected Charl Swartzel from the Satara airstrip for a few days here and shortly thereafter he came second in the Players Championship in America. Singita quite understandably must have done him some therapeutic good. Tomorrow Mark Boucher, that warrior on the cricket field and for nature conservation, arrives for a three day stay. I don’t know if Mark’s rhino work has earned him a discount but if not he and his wife will leave on Saturday R150,000 the poorer.