It’s been quite a hectic time to say the least on for our normally quiet, relaxed wildlife reserve, with all types of dramatic scenarios playing out.
What should be the slow life is actually ambling along at the speed of a cheetah in full blown fury, hell bent on landing its prey! That’s the misnomer out here in the bush. You think of it as a relaxing spot to watch herds of impala grazing away whilst giraffe amble back and forth mowing the treetops. That may be so when you pop out to see Africa for a week or two – but living with her daily – well it’s pretty furious!
As you know, the end of year festive season is usually the crazy office party month, where hordes of office refugees cross the border into the peace and quiet of rural Africa to come “chill” on their year end (dys)function. It’s a marvellous time in fact, and the animals and I look forward to it each year, as a strange new breed arrives to participate in “nature”. Usually the participation is very high, especially around the pub area in our old infamous Gin Tent. People are desperate to get to this waterhole and quench their thirsts, sometime for hours on end. It’s a marvellous spectacle of this migration, as vast herds swamp the region all over, overrun the reserve roads on noisy sun-filled game drives and generally communicate with each other at very high pitched levels, face to face. I’ve seen giraffe just stop and stare at this float as it swoons past and last week, I even noticed a few lion stand up from their late afternoon slumber and actually stand and look in dismay as these cavorting packs trundled by.
But behind the scenes its truly crazy as we stock-take all 130’000 or so items on the stock sheet, haul out all the damaged goods for repairs and set our offices, stores and staff quarters right for the forthcoming safari season. The tent repair factory is buzzing, the estate manager is watering, the sales department is quoting and the animals, well they’re just watching. In between all of this it’s still staff training, executive courses on the delivering workshops to entrepreneurs on what it takes to make it all happen. I’m now almost at war with my diary as it seems to keep filling up by itself – relentlessly and without any forgiveness. Just last week I started to hallucinate about coconut drinks and white sand beaches! It’s now at the stage where I too, want to join the migration – any migration – and head somewhere, anywhere in fact and leave the animals on the reserve to just “chill”, all on their own.
So I may begin packing the Land Rover this weekend, item for item, and systematically haul out the maps, research notes and investigate where exactly a good place to hide could be over this time of year. Do we head east, where there are possible rains, or do we head west into the deserts of Namibia. Perhaps I’ll ask a friend like you for suggestions on where to go?
But I have been hearing my own pride calling from distant shores in the very early hours of each morning for the last 10 days or so. The sound seems to awaken me from slumber, as the birds begin to greet and this somehow reminds me why we work so hard each year to make it go right, why we do what we do. It’s to rejoice with our loved ones and celebrate each other as often as we can.
That’s what makes it all worthwhile isn’t it?
Ok well I’ve decided what I’m doing and I trust you have too!