The Bush..

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The vista
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Relaxed
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but oh, so alert

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grazing so contentedly

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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”

8/11/2016

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all photographs belong to Jessica 🙂15027953_10207978902570098_1626473969246999285_n 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                                         _MG_9720t.jpg

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Friends in the Bush
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Enjoying themselves outdoors
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and in…..
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Celebrating life
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and the privilege of what Ekutuleni had to offer

Old Africa ..

 

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Sebastian and Ester – big welcome
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Cattle in the Masai Mara
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Crossing the road
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Road art?
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My companion at the pool
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More cattle
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More street art
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Kiosk closed for budiness
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Road transport
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Someone’s home
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Didn’t have time to try it 😂

I feel I have passed from the future of Africa into the past Africa when I arrived in Kenya

Uganda has a law, buda budas (motor cyclists), must use helmets; passengers didn’t need to and you could transport whatever or whoever you liked. Most obeyed the law it would appear rather than risk a fine.

Rwanda has a law that all motor cyclists must wear helmets and only one pillion rider allowed . Everyone obeyed because they believe in the law.

Plastic bags banned in both countries.

Kenya appears to have a law few worry about and weren’t concerned about being caught.
If even half the stories I have been told about the police force and government here are true, it is a sad state of affairs; ‘people’ have little confidence in either.

One example – we drove past a police recruitment drive : 1000 aspiring recruits were being put through their paces in a field alongside the main road. The only prerequisite is a ‘I have completed school certificate’ although an additional couple of thousand Kenyan shillings won’t go astray. Recently 42 new recruits after one month training, were sent to the Somali border and all were killed. It transpired that many of them had paid up
300 000 ks to the recruiters to be accepted.

It feels familiar; litter everywhere, streets dying, barbed wire and glass topped walls and for many a heart beat away from abject poverty, corruption normal in even small ways and there is a general sense of disengagement from The Country. And beautiful jacarandas.

We witnessed a hijacking on the main road in broad daylight right in front of us – won’t go into the details on fb ; but the sense of shock followed by helplessness then horror – Good Samaritans we were not 😢

And for all that I have been welcomed everywhere with smiles and a sense of good will – if also a shoulder shake of how it is. Wanted to buy a bird book – they had no change and no credit card machine today – and that’s it – broad smile but no sale.

The game parks seem to stand apart / poaching? Apparently nil ; new poaching units instructed to shoot to kill – apparently working ; zero poaching I am told although the Maasai Mara proved the exception.

The plastic water bottle : produced with enormous environmental footprint is found everywhere – I mean Everywhere. Alongside every road, in the game parks (particularly Masai Mara), in the rivers and even in the lakes 😢

How big a part the numbers game and climate plays , someone with real knowledge will tell us : Rwanda about 1/4 pop of Kenya. Rwanda and Uganda very fertile, Kenya noticeably less so.

Disclaimer : this is only my opinion based on a very short visit, observations and discussions with locals – it does not make it The Truth 😜