Thursday, November 6, 2014

Searching for animals in Zululand

As I sit here trying to write while workers in the downstairs apartment drill into the concrete ceiling making noises that sound like two elephants mating, I am trying to think of something positive to say about South Africa. God knows I've whined enough about what I don't like. The head splitting noise at present is not helping.

So, I'm going to talk about four glorious days that made this trip worthwhile. A couple of months ago we decided to take a road trip to Zululand and stay at one of the parks board places. A huge game reserve where you can see the big five if you're lucky. We spent two nights at Hluhluwe which was my idea of heaven. We saw a herd of elephants (not mating) but they were eating leaves. You'd be surprised how enthralling that is to see in real life. One large female used her tusks to push down a whole tree and her family gathered around to eat the green leaves. Sigh... It was beautiful.

We also saw giraffe, all types of buck, Rhino, the list goes on. Zululand is such a magical place and it's really not that far from where we are living. Three hours and you are surrounded by wilderness and wild animals. What could be better?

Plus there were BABY animals. It's spring here so all the animals have babies now and I'm telling you, if that doesn't warm your heart, you are a robot.

So I came back from that trip filled with goodwill toward everyone and that lasted a day or two. As soon as I saw the trash piled up on the beach where we live I started hating again but I'm trying to be philosophical about it and do what I can and not worry about the rest. So about a month ago we went back to Zululand. This time we drove farther into the wilderness to a place called mkuze.

As you can see from the picture it's a glorious dirt road to nowhere and that is a good thing. We spent two nights in a tent that was kind of permanent in the sense that there was a wood floor and a shower and bathroom which was awesome. We even had an outdoor kitchen.

Our routine was to get up around five am and have a nice hot cup of tea and go out driving looking for animals to gaze at. There are thousands of acres of wilderness so it's not always so easy to see the animals which are sometimes hidden in the bush. Sometimes you drive for hours before you see anything interesting. On our second day my husband and I saw something that I've never seen on any of my trips to Zululand, a wild cheetah.

As you can see, he is exquisite. We were so excited and watched him for about half an hour stalking through the bush, scaring birds and swishing his tail. It was a moment I'll never forget and one that reminds me to be thankful that I'm here in a place where it's still possible to see a cheetah in the wild.

He crossed the road in front of us twice. We were snapping pictures like crazy people and then finally I just put the camera down and enjoyed watching him. He really was a true thing of beauty.

So, I just have to remind myself that there is much to be thankful for still in this world and that I'm blessed to have this unique experience.

My new book just came out today and I want to talk about that as well but I might put it in another post. It's called The Secret Lives of the Harvested and is a drama. It's on Amazon. Okay, cheers from South Africa!

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