Saturday, January 16, 2016

There are stories everywhere in the bush…You can’t just witness it out here…you are part of it every minute of every day. Co-existence is not the exception…it is the rule here.

(continuation of my safari stories experienced in 2013)

So, it's lunch time now and as I leave my tent I hear a frenzied, cackling series of cries coming out of the trees on the other side of the path from my tent that overlooks the large pond watering hole. I can't tell if it is a bird, a monkey or some other animal. I look in the trees, but cannot see anything. As I walk closer to the lodge, by the pool, I meet another of my Rover mates.

She says that the staff is "on the lookout" for the elusive leopard we chased at the end of our morning game drive, but to no avail. Apparently the frenzied, cackling cries are the monkeys in the trees who can see this leopard nearby and are none too happy about it. The guests are being asked not to stray from the dirt path that extends from the lodge through the woods to the tents and from the lawn between the lodge structure and the pool. This same leopard seems to be fond of our establishment here...this is the leopard that appeared in the river bed in front of my balcony who then later rushed into the woods after something on our property and ended up carrying a guest's bag of laundry a bit down the pathway. Luckily, dropping it unharmed after realizing it had no desirable taste or texture for consumption. I'm sure this leopard's story will have additional chapters during my stay here.

Until then, I sit here with the beautiful views of the infinity pool overlooking the watering hole, reflecting, writing and drawing. I’m visited by one of our resident monkeys who feels not the least bit threatened by my presence mere feet from him. He may have been the one who visited my tent within the first hours of my arrival….
We were told in our orientation of the lodge to ensure we always put the lock on the zipper ends to our tent through each of the 3 zippers (top zipper, right side and left side zippers that meet together in the middle when completely zipped up) to ensure the zippers were locked closed in order to keep the monkeys out. Well, after dropping off my luggage in my tent and heading up to the main lodge for lunch, I apparently had missed 1 of the 3 zippers in the lock…
I came back to my tent afterwards to empty wrappers of the granola bars taken from the plane and my vitamin baggie having been chewed through on the floor. The monkeys enjoyed the granola bars but apparently didn’t find the vitamins too appetizing, as they had chewed up a few and then spit them back out on the floor. I could do nothing but chuckle…and ensure that each of those 3 zipper ends were locked securely in that lock from now on!

One of the resident warthogs here was also quite comfortable amidst the humans, grazing on our lawn that separates the main lodge from the infinity pool, caring not as people walk right past him to the lodge. 
Even the nyalas (a member of the impala family), while more wary of us humans, seem content to co-exist in our camp along side us. Several enjoy the foliage near my tent. 

I truly was not prepared for the integration into the animal community that would be the setting here for us humans. 

There would be many more scenes like this to come where the distance between us and our fellow inhabitants in the bush was a very thin line.  

To see more of my pictures while on safari at Tanda Tula see here: African Safari - Best Shots 1 and here: African Safari Best Shots - 2 

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