Last year at the beginning of 2016,our family did a road trip of 1600 kilometres to the coastal area of the Western Cape. The road trip itself is an amazing experience as you pass through the changing landscapes of four provinces including corn farmlands, the almost desert-like, but beautiful Karoo, then the beautiful lush winelands, mountains and beaches of the Cape.
With less time and money and the stresses of 2016, we decided to go for the Bush experience this year -2017. A week away from busy city life and just 200 kilometres away from home takes you into the haven of a Bushveld experience in the Limpopo province which is also famous for its natural hot spring baths.
This view from the balcony of our chalet is home to all manner of creatures, most notably the Big Five including the Lion, Elephant,Leopard,Rhinoceros and Buffalo. Besides many species of birds and other wild animals, the Mabalingwe Reserve is also home to a number of snakes which personally, I wouldn’t want to meet on any day – these include the Black Mamba, the Mozambican spitting cobra and the Puff adder.
But my own enjoyment of the Bushveld is its immaculate silence. As soon as we stood on the balcony, the Bush seemed to demand that we honour its silence. It is an initial shock to the system to suddenly feel abandoned by the normal sounds of traffic,sirens and everyday household sounds of appliances and electronics.
Of course this is not to say that the Bush does not have noise of its own.There are all manner of insects buzzing and competing to be heard, there’s the random squawking of bigger birds and the choir of many others. Still, these sounds do not compare with urban living.
Within a few hours, burdens fall off your shoulders and you become part of the magnificence of creation as you succumb to the tranquility that invites you to surrender to reflective thinking or no thinking at all. Sip on your cocktail, beer or whiskey, savour the crisp warm evening as you eat your meal off the outdoor braai (barbeque) and look up at the myriad stars in the pitch black night skies.
One of the highlights for me, was joining an early morning drive to watch the Lions being fed. While the other animals roam around freely, the Lions and black spotted Hyenas are kept behind enclosures for obvious reasons.
I guess there’s no getting away from male dominance when I watched King Lion have his own big share of meat while Mother Lion shared hers with her cubs. He swaggeredd off to have a drink of water and then resumed his lazy dominion of the territory.
Much as I’ve seen the Giraffe many times, I’m still amazed at the proportions of this animal.
If its a rekindling of your soul or the kind of rest you need where time moves unobtrusively and the surround sounds of nature cocoon you from the concerns of the outside world, a Bushveld experience is highly recommended.