It is a Brave soul that attempts to capture ‘The Bush’. For those of my friends who know the Bush, words are not necessary and can never do it justice and for those readers who have never known the Bush, words are all I can offer knowing full well, before I even begin, that they can never do it justice. So to you all, for different reasons, forgive in advance my paltry attempt at sharing the ‘Bush’
Welgevonden (place well found) sees us rise at 5am although the waking of the birds with morning song begins even earlier.
A quick strong coffee and we are on our vehicle; bundled up against the early morning cold. Very little is said as the smell of the overnight light rain fills our bodies with joy – it is dry and the drought here is crippling and the smell of rain is exhilarating. We have our binoculars and the sense of anticipation that only a game drive can bring.
It doesn’t matter how many times one walks or drives in the Bush, the unpredictability of what nature will reveal makes every trip have the same sense of anticipation.
In this case the terrain is new to us- mountainous, red boulders everywhere as we drop into open plains and climb out 0f them to reveal breathtaking vistas of the next rolling plains.
We stop every so often to gaze at zebra, buffalo, impala, waterbuck, giraffe, warthog, wildebeest. We sit and savour the silence that epitomises the ‘Bush’. Precisely because it is Not silent; only we are, as senses respond to the call of the ‘Piet my vrou’ – a bird call that Is the Bush; the brown hooded kingfisher, so small so exquisite with such a large call you know he is there long before you can find him, the wild cry of a fish eagle. There is the sound of the grass in the breeze, again a sound uniquely Bush. The cicada, frogs, all contributing so that we are silent.
Suddenly energy changes and bodies tense, voices are raised in whispers, adrenalin begins to pump as right alongside us are cheetahs. A sight so unexpected that no matter how often one has seen them, this sighting is like the first.
And there is mother and three cubs, with bellies so full you feel they could be pregnant (except of course they cannot be) and we stare in wonder, torn between watching and experiencing or recording to experience again and again via our cameras . And then a male appears and the most extraordinary fight right before our eyes ensues and continues for about twenty minutes;
The male harassing the mother ; the cubs running around squealing; the mother backing off ; the male coming back; the cycle repeated over and over again as we watched enthralled, horrified and bemused. Nature revealing a pattern of behaviour no one was familiar with.
A young elephant entertains with a show of bravado that involves mock attacks at us and at an imaginary foe as he raised his ears, and little trunk and ran forward bellowing as loudly as he could. Practicing for his future role as protector of his herd.
The beautiful precious rhino, horns intact grazing so close to our vehicle I could have leant out and touched him.
And in this particular day it stays cloudy and cool so when we stop for a cup of tea and a rusk, we huddle together hands curved round our mugs breathing in the warmth, savouring every moment of a unique time in the Bush.
Because every visit and every drive through our Bush is by its very nature unique.
And so still no words describe it, which is why we say, “it’s in our blood”
all photographs belong to Jessica 🙂 Another thing about the Bush – one usually makes good friends, often from countries far flung, as in our case. Friends who kindly shared their photographs with us.
Thank you Pim Van Dam for this photograph