From the travel diaries.
Madikwe Game Reserve on the border of Botswana, Wednesday, I-have-no-idea-of-the-time.
Time feels as if it stands still in Madikwe.
I am looking out over a deck past a waterhole with zebras and elephants aplenty. The sound of unfamiliar birdsong, sharper and more high pitched than the French chansons I am accustomed to, punctuates the stillness.
If heaven is in the bush, I have arrived.
The serenity, the peace and the tranquillity are deceptive; life is far from placid in the surrounding bush lands.
Put a foot wrong and there are a myriad of serious complications waiting.
It’s deceptive under the African skies; I like to describe it as docile with a dose of danger.
We started our journey in a small “commuter” airport in Johannesburg.
Have I ever said to you I don’t believe in coincidence? Generally I don’t.
Here we are in the terminal, the terminal where time stood still. A plane has landed and as the passengers disembark and make their way inside I hear a voice, a familiar voice. A voice that could only belong to my friend Serena, (you met her here) a woman with a melodic voice that is quite captivating. I stood up, looked around and there she was in all her gorgeous glory fresh from safari. She had come from the very place, Madikwe, that it would seem we were travelling too.
It was totally serendipitous. What were the chances?
A small, extremely small plane ride later we touched down in nature’s wonderland.
**Have I ever mentioned I am not a fan of small airplanes?
Deep breathing, lots of eye closing and solitaire on my mobile saves the day, and the thought of the prize at the end of the terror. Silly I know, but it’s how it is.
Arriving at the Lodge we are greeted by our hosts; with names like, Precious, Happi and Lucky what’s not to love? We are yet to meet Content.
Our first game drive and my eyes are still back in London, on the streets dodging traffic and wandering pedestrians; here in the wilds it takes time to adjust. I spot nothing and the art of camouflage is working against me. It’s wild kingdom 10 to my 0. The residents are there, they aren’t hiding or playing it cool; I simply can’t see them. Elephants, Giraffe, Rhino, all types of Antelope and not to mention the dazzles of Zebra are in plain site for those who are habituated.
Lucky that Lucky, our driver and tracker (I had to put those ‘two’ in a sentence) and David have eyes of steel and x-ray vision. David should come back as a tracker in his next life; he can’t be fooled with camouflage. With a 5am start he is sharp as a tack; I’m still struggling with the art of dressing myself. So far good with the pack and thank goodness for the field jacket and extra large scarf.
This afternoon I will try and master the camouflage, get those eyes searching and piercing through the dense African scrub and try to decipher the secrets within. I’ll let you know the updated score. xv
image madikwe, iconic africa