More about Exeter River Lodge
Apart from riverine forest and scatters of dense thickets, the Sabi Sand's principal habitat is bush savanna, consisting mainly of small trees and shrubs. This type of vegetation is interspersed with patches of taller, more widely-spaced trees, as well as open areas dominated by grasses. Hills are dominated by broad-leaved trees, with sparse grass cover in between. Antelope such as kudu and impala are abundant in such areas. Thorny trees with fine leaves tend to grow on flatter land, where there is also more grass cover interspersed with dense thickets. The trees and grasses provide perfect grazing for giraffe, warthog, impala, zebra and wildebeest.
A favoured delicacy for the Sabi Sand elephants is the marula tree, renowned for its distinctive mottled grey bark and its abundant summer crop of juicy fruit. When ripe, this fruit is greatly sought after - not only by elephant but also troops of baboon. Not content with the succulent morsels of fruit, the elephant may seek out the tree's moist root system, pushing the plant over in the process. The leaves and bark of the knob thorn tree are another delicacy enjoyed by elephants. Undeterred by the knobbly spines on the trunk and branches, both elephant and giraffe are drawn to the nutritious foliage.
Termite mounds form a fascinating and distinctive feature of the Sabi Sand landscape. These mounds are created by termites and are constantly expanded while inhabited. When the colony is abandoned, the mound is often taken over by a variety of creatures, from smaller inhabitants such as mongoose, rock monitor or snake to larger dwellers such as aardvark, porcupine, warthog or even spotted hyena. A dense thicket may often form on the site of the old termite mound, creating an ideal hiding place for the cubs of many animal species, including leopard and lion.