Thousands of Magpie Geese lift off into the candy-pink sky as the airboat skims along the mud-spattered surface of a gigantic floodplain. To the right, a Saltwater Crocodile lurks just under the water, its beady eyes popping up ever so briefly. To the left, water buffaloes stomp through the shallows, stopping often to drink the same water they tread in.
Sab Lord, founder and co-owner of Lords Kakadu & Arnhemland Safaris along with his wife Ann-Maree Grant, alternates between talking guests through the sights and letting them soak up the wonders silently. “We have wild horses, pigs, buffaloes, and an amazing array of birdlife here,” Sab says. “I want to talk to guests about this wetland environment, but I also want them to also appreciate the sights and sounds.”
A Saltwater Crocodile. Image: Lords Kakadu & Arnhemland Safaris
Although Bamurru Plains can be accessed throughout most of the year and is spectacular both during the wet season and the dry season, there are certain times that are truly astounding. “Magpie Geese build their nests when they know the wet season has finished, and we tend to see them sitting on their nests – and even young goslings hatching – around April (dependant on when the wet season ends). Seeing that from the airboat is amazing,” Sab says.
Read more: Q&A With Guides: Sab Lord
Bamurru means Magpie Geese in one of the local Aboriginal languages, and up to 200,000 geese (come October) reside in the area, which spans 100,000 hectares at any one time. There are plenty of other birds, too, with around 100 species calling the vast floodplain home.
A large flock of Magpie Geese take flight across the floodplains. Image: Lords Kakadu & Arnhemland Safaris
“We see White-bellied Sea Eagles, jabirus, jacanas, five species of ducks, three species of ibises, four species of egrets… just to name some of the birds we might come across. I chat to guests about the birds, and also talk about the impact various introduced feral species – such as cats and foxes – have on both the birds and the environment,” Sab says. “I want to educate people for as long as I am able to. We only have one environment and if we don’t care of it, what are our kids going to have?”
Ultimate Luxury Safari Adventure
Covering black soil floodplains, paper bark swamps, savannah woodlands, monsoonal rainforests, river mangroves and dramatic escarpments, this is the ultimate Top End private adventure for wildlife enthusiasts!