“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Allan Bader.
This entry of I wish someone had told me is more of a I wish someone had REMINDED me. That’s because as I write this, I am sitting at one of my favourite spots in South Africa – Mjejane Game reserve. Specifically Buffalo Brooke lodge in the reserve. This tranquil spot sits right by Hectorspruit, a little town between Malane and Komaatipoort on the southern end of the Kruger National Park. I’ve been here since this Monday, it’s now Saturday.The entire week I have relaxed in the beautiful heat that is not surprising for this part of the country but is a marked relief from the bitter cold that was Johannesburg when we left, and expect tomorrow when we make our way home. In between relaxing I have done work, the CN&CO #LifestyleBusiness way, while overlooking the Crocodile river which the house basically sits upon.
This place really does allow the body and mind to relax and reset. And this is where the I wish someone had reminded me part comes in. We often forget the natural beauty that South Africa holds. Too often we want to travel to foreign shores to discover it’s wonders. There is nothing wrong with that, everyone should aspire to travel the world to broaden their horizons and views along with discovering foreign cultures, which may benefit you back here in SA. But when last did you stop and say to yourself that you haven’t explored South Africa enough? I do often. The tricky part is actually pulling thumb and doing something about it!
I remember in my Gap year in Australia in 2002 chatting with another South African “Gappy” and she asked me where next I want to travel. My response after a little thought went immediately to “South Africa. I haven’t seen nearly enough of it.” 15 years later and I still feel I haven’t done enough of it. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen more now than I had then. And maybe that’s because you find a lekker little spot and it becomes a favourite, or even one of your favourites. And that’s what I have done. I’ve figured out that I love the South African Bush. I am definitely not a beach-bum. But that may be due to the fact that I burn in the moon-light. I can’t simply sit on the beach. I need to be doing something, either swimming in the sea, SCUBA diving or going for a run along the promenade. Even when I do go for a swim, I get out, have a shower to wash the salt water off then head back to the hotel or apartment. The bush is different. Here I can do NOTHING. It’s amazing. Simply sitting around the lodge in the pool, reading a book, even having a nap or going for a 6 hour game drive (even if I don’t see much), is wonderful.
This week we have been lucky with our sightings. Not so much directly in front of the lodge, just the “usual” hippo, crocodile, Waterbuck and a smorgasbord of bird life. However, on our game-drives we have been fortunate enough to see Elephant, Buffalo, Giraffe, Genet, Zebra, Gnu and on our second drive we came across a Leopard chilling in the tree. While moving along the road to get a better view, we stumbled across a male leopard hiding behind a small bush right next to the road. These animals are so elusive, he crossed the road, where I was able to snap a few pics with my iPhone before it disappeared into the bush. Never to be seen again. Magnificent!
The other amazing thing was that I asked the day before what noise a leopard makes. True to form, the bush provided and the noise they make, similar to a bark, was out of this world.
Each game drive was handled by our Ranger, Muntu Singwane, who is both knowledgeable in his field and extremely funny. A former Taxidriver between the Lebombo border and Joburg he hung up that lifestyle for this one. Even spending only a day or two in the bush, you can’t blame him.
This morning, our last full day here where we are just going to be chilling at the lodge having a swim, amazingly a herd of elephant came across the river directly in front us and then proceeded to wallow in a small mud pool. I sat there thinking about life and my new position at CN&CO and how simple life can be yet at the same time there is an urgency about it. The elephants have it right, mother nature has it right. Get what needs to be done, done. Be it the buffalo trying to avoid being taken down by a pride of lion or an elephant crossing the river to find more food, stopping along the way to have a mud bath and playing with mates. The simple things in life bring the most pleasure.
So to finish off my different take on I wish someone had told me, I’d like to REMIND you that you need to get what you need to do done, but to also take some time out to rejuvenate the mind and body by going to your favourite place, internationally or locally.