I realised I’d been spending too much time indoors answering emails when I answered a phone call not with goodbye, but rather with the ubiquitous email sign-off, ‘kindest regards’, before hanging up. Retrospectively I noticed the PR lady’s awkward silence after my strange greeting, and, blushing, I realised my mistake.
After that gaffe I was beyond pleased when I received an invitation to the rather gorgeous Entabeni Game Reserve (read my review and all the details in the February 2014 issue of Your Family magazine). I could recharge, refresh, reinvigorate myself in the bush! Oh, the bush. What can I say, we love the bush!
No, not this Bush:
Nor this bush:
But THIS bush:
The game farm is a sacred and hallowed space for many South Africans. The miles of empty, uninhabited bush, the excitement of animal spotting, and most of all, the opportunity to eat kilograms of rusks dunked in liters of condensed milk coffee fill South Africans with a unique kind of excitement and local pride.
Of course to get the maximum amount of pleasure from the bush you need a certain appreciation for animals, and some excitement and joy around looking for them in the dry grassland, for hours, from the top of a windy vehicle.
Despite popular belief – my animal-enamoured aunt, for one, is convinced that I’m animal-phobic; mainly because pony-sized slobbering dogs bounding towards me with abandon does not fill me with joy, but rather fear, hyperventilation and last prayers – I DO like animals, and game drives.
It was the voluntary 5am early morning game drive really struck this point home. Seven of us managed to climb out of bed and wearily pull on every item of clothing we owned (it was FREEZING) and blearily stumble to the windowless, windy, cold vehicle; knowing it was icy cold, knowing we might not see anything, but most of all knowing that this was an opportunity we couldn’t miss. The game car was literally packed with South Africans from young to old, of all races, with diverse backgrounds and many differences. But what brought them together is a love for the bush, and I hope, a love for South Africa.
All photos taken by and property of Samantha Steele.