Notten’s Bush Camp – April 2008

Notten’s is a family owned camp within the Sabi Sands. Our drive there from Kirkman’s took us a little longer than expected as we took the wrong turning and were almost at Skukuza airport when we realized this.

The camp is rustic with no electricity in the rooms at all. The family join guests for dinner and instead of lunch they serve a high-tea before the evening game drive. The camp has a small area of land so it has traversing rights with Sabi Sabi.

We shared a vehicle with Lady Lawson, the 2nd wife of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, and father of Nigella Lawson. (They were separated and got divorced within a year of our trip).

Evening Drive – 5 April

As had become the norm for this trip, our evening drive was really quiet.

Bird sightings: Spotted eagle owl

Morning Drive - 6 April

The highlight of the drive was a leopard rolling itself in buffalo dung.

Mammal sightings: Kudu, Warthog

Evening Drive – 6 April

At the dam near camp we stopped to watch a woolly-necked stork in a tree. There was also a large herd of elephant on the plains opposite the lodge.

Mammal sightings: Kudu (large bull), Nyala

Bird sightings: Spotted eagle owl (twice)

Lady Notten left after the drive but she did not want to say goodbye although she thanked us for sharing the time with her. Later on, after she had left, someone knocked on our door and gave us a monogrammed card from her with a note saying thank you again and goodbye.

Morning Drive – 7 April

We came across a leopard on an anthill near the entrance of the reserve close to Little Bush Camp. We watched it for a while, before it climbed up into the tree adjacent to the anthill.

Mammal sightings: Giraffe

Evening Drive – 7 April

A leopard had been seen on top of the water tank just behind our room during the morning, but although we looked for it, we did not manage to see it. However, as we left camp we found a leopard high up in a tree. It was hanging over the branches looking as though it was waiting for a massage (Mrs Notten is a masseuse and Terry had a Swedish sports massage the one afternoon)! The leopard eventually repositioned itself and then got up and climbed down the tree trunk.

Morning Drive – 8 April

We heard that there had been a kill near Earth Lodge so we went to have a look and found a big, male leopard in a tree, with its kill. There was a couple of hyena below the tree hoping to catch a tidbit or two. But they were out of luck as the leopard ate absolutely everything before lying down to sleep.

Mammal sightings: Impala (large herd), Kudu

Bird sightings: Tawny eagle, Woolly-necked stork

We had an enjoyable stay at Notten’s Bush Camp. It was different from the other camps and a nice break before moving on to Lion Sands.