Margrit and Russ return to a small game reserve after 17 years to assess the status of African Wildlife.
We drove into the game reserve with our rented kombi van and three almost adult children back in Christmas of 1997. This was the first time they were in Africa since they were tiny and the anticipation to see wild animals was palpable. They didn’t have to wait long, for as we came up over the rise not far into the park we saw those distinctive heads on long necks bobbing along the horizon.
Six years ago Russ and I returned to the same reserve and saw White Rhino, Giraffe and more, yet we were told by a local lodge owner that the park sadly was in decline. We’d noticed the facilities were run down, however we were pleased with the wildlife we’d seen.
Then, 17 years after our first visit with our children, Russ and I decided to return to this small game reserve to assess the status of African Wildlife.
Wondering what we’d find, anticipating the worst…
The facilities were still in disrepair, the campsites along the lake a bit overgrown and the new young trees were all dead despite their protective fences. However, the wildlife was abundant.
A Zebra and Red Hartebeest herd grazed their way right into the camping area. A Wildebeest passing our Landy in the dead of night snorted at me as I made my way to relieve myself. The Giraffe were as graceful and magnificent as ever as they strolled across the Savannah and then out of the corner of my eye….
Right there near to a couple of Blesbok, half hidden, lay a beautiful Rhino, ears twitching, huge head propped up on the ground sporting a long superb horn. Strange the emotion that overcame me as I stared at this iconic beast through the binoculars. How sad that they are being brutally killed for the prize on their nose! How tragic that they are at ever increasing risk of extinction! How privileged I felt to be viewing this lone wild rhino living peacefully… as the entire species should be!
Then we moved on, the camel thorn trees that are so typically Africa, the lush summer grass rolling over the hills sprinkled with herds of game, two Yellow Billed Kites dancing in the breeze overhead… this was truly a bit of heaven.
[The game reserve remains unnamed in hopes of protecting the rhino]
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