That day, we were almost late back to camp again.
We turned onto the H7 with plenty of time to spare.
At Nsemani Dam, a crowd of cars was clustered along the road’s edge. Great guffaws were erupting from one.
When we drew alongside it, the driver turned his head briefly to us. Smothering a smile, he said that they were watching the hippos feed the fish.
Puzzled, we parked and waited for a while, watching the water.
There were hippos in there to be sure, but they looked, as hippos so often do, just like large round rocks. Then after a bit, first one and then another rose up slightly. They began to flick their tails furiously from side to side, churning the water behind them to a foaming froth.
Their appreciative audience applauded.
And we decided to drive on, leaving the hippos to continue scattering their. . . um . . .fish food.
Further on, we turned in and got out of the car at a deserted Bobbejaanskrans.
When we stood up from the bench to go back to the car, we saw that we were no longer alone.
While we had been sitting quietly, absorbed in the view, a group of waterbuck had walked, even more quietly, into the clearing. They were standing there, silently staring at us.
We set off again, with, by then, a lot less time to spare.
We had not gone very far, when we spotted a dog like shape up ahead.
“Look,” I said, “A hyena. It’s that time of day.”
It was that time of day alright. In fact, it was nearly that time of night.
But what it was not was a hyena.
It was a wild dog!
There were two!
With our feelings fluctuating between gratitude and frustration, we took a few fleeting photographs.
Then we had to hurry on.
We crossed the metal grid into Tamboti just as the clock ticked over to 6.01. Again.
As we climbed the steps to our tent, a Piet my vrou and a hadeda called out a welcome.
That night, we had beef and potato stew for dinner. Afterwards, while we sat out on the deck, savouring a last glass of shiraz, a dear little genet came by.
It sat at the top of the steps looking outwards.
From time to time, it looked at us over its shoulder and the patches beneath its eyes glowed like lanterns in the dark.