This past weekend was such a treat. To take a break from my desk, the city, and ongoing lockdown, I headed out for a mom’s and daughter’s weekend in the South African bushveldt.
There’s something magical about the bush that is difficult to describe. It’s hot, dry, and exquisite after summer rainfall. This time of the year, before the summer rains arrive, it’s arid, thirsty, muted; the sky a washed out blue, the earth from clay red to sandy brown.
A bush safari is synonymous with early, early mornings to get out into the wild as the earth wakes up and get the first look at what happened overnight; to feel the crisp morning air and see the sun come up; to drink coffee standing out in the middle of nature. To return to camp for a great big breakfast and then rest during the midday heat and then come 4:30, head out to experience the end of the day as nature goes to bed – and of course, the obligatory, delicious G&T as the sun goes down.
A lifelong love
During a stint working for an amazing wildlife business in 1999, I fell in love with elephants. Their family structure, their EQ, their loyalty. From the majestic bull elephant protecting their herd, to the mom taking care of the naughty teenage bulls, to the aunts and sisters gathering around the young ones and the babies learning to use their trunks, there is nothing quite like it. And was I in for a treat.
Whilst heading out in game vehicles to see the sights is fabulous, there is nothing that beats sitting still, in nature, watching the world unfold.
A Memorable Morning
Our camp had a gorgeous watering hole with a gorgeous deck. On Monday morning, instead of a drive, we headed to the deck for our early morning tea. At first it was quiet – two heron fishing and the odd Springbok meandering across the view. And then the show began ….
On the horizon, a large matriarch appeared and together with the herd, walked slowly towards the watering hole. They had a drink, rolled about in the mud, the baby kept trying to figure out how to use her trunk, and they teenagers had a bit of fun.
Another herd appeared on the horizon …. The big bull stood his ground, rumbled at them. They stopped and waited, and when his family was done, he flapped his ears one last time and meandered off, allowing the waiting herd their turn.
Herd after herd appeared, came down for a drink, and moved on. We sat sipping our tea in the shade of the bhoma, watching the world unfold. It was magical, awe-inspiring, a reminder that we are all part of something much greater.
I’m not sure that there’s a better way to start a week. Just close your eyes and imagine: the soundtrack of nature – the call of the birds, the song of the cicadas, the taste of your first cup of Earl Gray … or coffee …. And the soft sounds of elephant drinking, wallowing and splashing about. Carefree.