It’s probably about 4.30 when I hear my one and a half year old calling me from his camping cot a mere foot away from my bed, in the Kruger Park. He never wakes up this early! As I become aware of my surroundings I hear the birds starting to chirp outside, each species singing a different tune. It dawns on me that maybe being in the bush has turned my little one into an even earlier bird than usual; maybe he has adapted to a bush clock that no one told me about. I try to lie as still as I can in the hope that he’ll roll over and close his eyes again. At the 5th elevated “Mama!” I figure that’s not going to happen.
I reluctantly reach over and lift him into bed with us hoping this would buy me 30 more minutes of shut-eye but with the bush waking up around us I think I only managed to squeeze in 15 minutes before my wildlife loving husband was up asking if I was ready to go on a game drive. I grunted something at him about a lie-in and he graciously scooped up our boys and headed into the bush without me.
Ah bliss…a lie-in. This time I did manage the extra half hour but unfortunately that was it. The sun was up and beating down on the tent, rapidly turning it into a mini-sauna. I couldn’t lie in there any longer. I was up and changed and ready for the day in no time. With half the camp exploring the Kruger Park on their early morning game drive and the other half still asleep, I made myself a cup of tea, got out the rusks (traditional South African dunking biscuits) and made myself comfortable with a wonderful view of the bush.
What a beautiful morning it was and what a treat to sit there quietly and watch the bush come alive in front of me. The birds were chirping away above me, squirrels were playfully chasing each other up and down and around the trees, brave little mongooses were venturing into the camp in search for an easy breakfast; everywhere I looked there was something to see and I felt totally at peace.
Now in English we tell each other to “keep your eyes peeled” but I personally love the way the Afrikaners put it; directly translated they tell you to “throw your eyes out”. As I did just that, my eyes fell upon a giant grey mass silently moving through the bushes not even 30 metres away from me. A single elephant munching its way through the branches without a care in the world. I have to say that elephants are my favourite animals. They have an air of mystery and wisdom about them and I find myself watching their every move in complete awe.
I was spoilt with a private viewing of this beautiful creature for about twenty minutes before my husband and children returned from their drive. There was then a buzz of activity around that little section of the camp and the peace and tranquility that I had experienced just moments before vanished into thin air. I did however love the excitement and pure joy expressed by my boys at the sight of the elephant so close to the camp.
I must say that I felt uplifted and inspired after the serene start to my day and it made me realize that as human beings we rarely take the time (or get the chance) to just sit and watch the world around us; we tend to rush around and multi-task and fit as much into our days as we can. I think it is absolutely vital to take moments such as these and juice them for all they’ve got. It is, after all, moments like these that feed our souls.