At a waterhole in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve, an elephant the size of a Mack truck is finessing his synchronised swimming. The water turns his cracked dusty hide a sleek glossy black as he plunges in trunk first, bottom up (yes, it does look big) and then, newly buoyant, he rolls not once but three times. Clearly, his pre-breakfast dip feels good.
On a game drive from Tengile River Lodge, the newest member of the &Beyond safari lodge portfolio, it’s not just about sightings. What thrills is the immersion in the beautiful and often brutal soap opera that is life in the wild. We turn a corner and surprise a pride of lions. The two males are in a food coma, lying on their backs, legs in the air, like cats wanting their tummies rubbed. The lionesses are gnawing on leftovers.
On safari you never know what each game drive will bring. With luck the ‘big five’ – lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros – but just as bewitching are some 300 species of birds, among them the lilac-breasted roller, the red bishop, the rare saddlebill stork, and the vivid yellow African masked weaver whose mating antics co