On our first morning at Tamboti, we woke to a wonderful chorus of birdsong.
The evening before, the voice of a woman, a few tents away, had all but drowned out the sounds of nature. Every loud statement she uttered began with the word “I”. We unpacked and prepared our dinner to the tune of her opinions.
The corkscrew was missing from the cupboards, so we wrestled the cork from our bottle of wine with a knife and fork. Then, just as we sat down to eat, the loud mouthed lady suddenly went silent. We wondered whether somebody had gagged her or whether she had simply worn herself out and fallen asleep. Either way, we did not care. We just raised our glasses in a silent toast.
As we let the peace wash over us, a frog cleared its throat and began to serenade us.
After a good night’s sleep we felt as bright eyed and bushy tailed as the little squirrel who was sitting on our deck when we opened the door.
We joined him with our coffee and rusks.
Then Chacma took his camera for a walk around the camp.
The Appelblaar trees were in full bloom
Overnight their blossoms had fallen to form a colourful carpet.
A C shaped caterpillar clung to the base of a many stamened flower
And a husbandly hornbill was paying a paternal call.
It had been too dim in the tent the night before (and besides we were too tired to be bothered) to unpack. Now I dragged the boxes out of the gloomy passage into the patch of lovely morning light at the foot of the bed. There, I put any food that did not need to go in the fridge into an opaque black plastic box and made sure its clips were tightly closed. Books, bottles and the box of laundry soap went onto the generous windowsills of the tent. Then, I washed some clothes and hung them on the deck to dry. I was closely observed by a group of monkeys.
One grabbed another’s tail.
The other ignored him and pretended to be counting his fingers and toes.
When Chacma returned from his walk we shared an avocado and a small paw paw for breakfast. Then we filled a flask with cold water and set off for a drive. First we went to Orpen and bought a corkscrew and a bag of jelly babies. Then we drove along the H7. At Bobbejaanskranz we sat on the bench and drank some water. While we shared the jelly babies, I remembered reading somewhere of a study that had found that mothers mostly bite the heads off jelly babies first while other people bite the feet first. It had seemed a frivolous sort of study, but nevertheless, I sneaked a look at the jelly baby that Chacma was holding. It was a double amputee below the waist. I looked at the one in my hand. It had been neatly beheaded.
Leaving behind the beautiful Bobbejaanskranz and its cool breeze, we went to look at Rabelais.
The old photographs on the walls were really interesting, as were the stories. The photograph of the Eileen Orpen Dam did not look right though. It is hard to believe that the landscape around it can have changed so much.
As we left Rabelais, we closed the door carefully behind us so that the cartoon on the door would not become a reality for the next visitor (The cartoon shows a satisfied looking lion patting his full belly and saying “Next please”). We looked around carefully so that the cartoon would not become a reality for us either and quickly covered the few feet of open ground to the car.
Three hundred metres up the road, with Rabelais still in the rear view mirror, some giraffe were standing beside the road. A big people moving vehicle had stopped next to them. We were about to pass it when the driver flapped his hand up and down and pointed further into the bush.