Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Silence of the Bushveld
“Hold your noses,” Ramage warned us as we turned around, moving away from the elephant to make space for other game drive vehicles. Down wind now, the stench hit us like a weapon. Noses shielded, each mentally urging the vehicle on, away.
In winter the animals are forced to come to the waterhole at the end of the day, as there are no puddles and patches of water where rain might have fallen, as in summer, so the sightings at the dam in winter are quite spectacular.
There were other animals on the drives: herds of buffalo, more giraffes, more buck, even another elephant walking on the verge of the dirt road. At night, Ramages swept his large torch from side to side, occasionally the beam picked out the other-worldly green glassy reflection of a buck’s eyeball, a bushbaby clung to a tree.
We’d driven up from Johannesburg to Tau Game Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve, a drive of four and a half hours. Two American medical students were visiting from where they were studying in Botswana, a French couple were touring the country. The night crackled on as we tucked into the buffet, pea soup, kudu potjie, oxtail, vegetables of carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, finished off with melktert, malva pudding, panacotta.