I got to thinking the other evening while enjoying a “sundowner” on our veranda looking out into the bush……..what a privileged life we lead.
Just sitting there enjoying a little whisky as the sun was disappearing in the distance below the Drakensburg Mountains, one of my favourite times of the day, actually it is my favourite time of day, I used to like sunrises but I am sure they happen earlier now that I am getting older, and besides people tend to give you that knowing look when you still have a whisky glass in your hand as the sun peeks its head over the distant horizon!!
Anyway, I am digressing, where was I……..oh yes, the peace and quiet at the end of another day in this paradise we call home. The diurnal animals are bedding down for the night, a long stressful night ahead for them, as the predators awaked and begin their nightly hunt; this is confirmed by the distant call of the hyena, rallying the clan to get on the move. Suddenly the calm is shattered by the deep booming bark of a Kudu giving off its alarm call, it seems Makwela, the female leopard, is on the move from the sanctuary of her hiding place, up in the cave on the little rocky outcrop where she has her cubs hidden away. She too must head out on the hunt now, satisfied the cubs are safe in this place she knows so well, Leopard Hills. The crashing of bushes and another loud bark as the Kudu flees the present danger and heads off in the direction of the dry riverbed below the Lodge. Makwela must be passing close by through the shadows being cast by the tall trees that surround our house. Silence prevails once again, for a short time, until this ambiance is once again shattered by the radio close at hand. Hannes calls to say he can hear the leopard cubs calling close to his house at the foot of the hills, displeased at being left by their mother as she heads out on her nightly foray.
Its dark now, a darkness that comes quicker than anywhere else I have experienced in the world, and as if on cue, the sound that sends chills through your body, and the blood runs cold in your veins, at least mine does…………a pride of lions calling out towards the South, the sound reverberating around the hills, what a perfect end to another wonderful day. The chill of the evening is closing in now and its time to head inside, but it’s not with sadness that we turn our backs on this natural stage, where things are left to the way nature intended it, we shall return tomorrow, same place same time, the only thing standing in our way between now and then, is another beautiful day in Africa.
Thanks to Marius for the use of the pictures.