Safari pioneer Sab Lord has spent a lifetime educating people about the wonders of the Top End.

Story + Photos Nathan Dyer

Rain falls in sheets across the Mary River floodplains and the rumble of thunder floats on the breeze as Sab Lord steps from a LandCruiser and plucks a woven mess of leaves from a young gum tree. Within seconds he’s covered in biting green ants and grinning widely, grabbing one of his vitamin-rich attackers by the head and offering it tail-first to a guest. “Taste that,” says the legendary Top End guide. “Delicious.”

Later, the 56 year old leans forward on the steering wheel, cups his hands to his mouth and lets out a deep, bovine moan. One hundred metres away, a small group of buffalo rear their heads and a cow turns towards the LandCruiser, then charges towards the sound, which Sab explains mimics the call of a calf. 

That evening, sitting on the deck of Bamurru Plains lodge, on the western edge of Kakadu National Park, Sab recalls how growing up with the Bininj people of northern Arnhem Land taught him about bush tucker and how to communicate with buffalo, and gave him a deep love of wildlife. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #118

Outback Magazine: April/May 2018