After an exhilarating day of tracking wildlife with Africa on Foot, we smacked our lips through a satisfying buffet dinner and a session of banter around the fire with fellow guests. It was now time for bed.
To the treehouse!
The Milky Way shone brightly overhead as we made our way to the rustic treehouse we were to spend the night in. It’s possible to cross paths with an elephant, lion or hyena on the one-hundred-metre-or-so distance that lies between the treehouse and the main camp, so being escorted by a game ranger is essential. This particular treehouse is rooted in greater Kruger’s Klaserie Private Nature Reserve – the land of the big five, surrounded by tough Acacias and winter sunshine.
We climbed the stairs that lead to the third, and final, level of the treehouse, where the inviting double bed was draped with mosquito net. The treehouse is a simple structure – a frame with wooden safety rails. There are no walls. How fantastic! This gave a spectacular view of the reserve without a vehicle, building or person in sight to interrupt the landscape.
Surrounded by the wonders of nature
Elbows on the railing, I peered out into the distance. What was that I was seeing? Trees don’t move like that. I’d spotted a giraffe! Two giraffes! My partner and I watched the long-necked browsers stalk their way across the plain as if in slow motion.
The chill of the evening air nipped at our ankles. We clutched the hot water bottles the staff had prepared for us and slid into bed. As I closed my eyes, the night’s symphony came alive to my ears. The sound of chirping and buzzing lent a sound track to the twinkling stars I could still see in my mind. Suddenly, a distant (yet bold) call ripped through the delicate sounds of the night. A lion’s call – declaring his territory. Wow. It was deep, meaty and rough. It was wild as the grass that covered the ground that its massive paws strolled on. It was the sound of that Harley Davidson type rumble that I fell asleep to.
When nature calls…
I woke at about 2 am… when nature called. With the loo all the way on the ground floor, I scanned the perimeter of the treehouse to check for animals before I made my descent. As I was climbing downstairs I heard a crunch of dry leaves nearby. I froze. I heard it again. I shone my torch in the direction the noise was coming from and noticed a pair of glass eyes shining back at me. Then, the creature carried on its noisy journey through the shrubbery below. I managed a glimpse of its body – hyena! Then I noticed another hyena, and another, and another. Eventually about six hyenas made their way toward the main camp and melted into the darkness out of sight.
After my evening spent in that Kruger treehouse, surrounded by nature, I’m so grateful for the intimate connection to nature I experienced. Thank you Africa on Foot… thank you.