Dawn arrives – first news comes from the quieting of nocturnal insects, then an orange wash wipes the blackness from the eastern skies. I can see the tree-line silhouetted in front of me. Dawn is magical on the savannah, greeted by a first song, then a chorus of songs as the birds and daytime insects begin telling stories of the imminent arrival of a new day. Our Kruger senses are awakened.
The first smells arrive, the dew, damp, warm muddy water scattered sent of early blossoms, and even news of fresh dung, rotting flesh or damp hair can be picked from my first long intake of air.
I can feel dawn. The cold creeps around my skin and in an instant moved away by the morning breeze and the first rays of red sun rising in the east.
My eyes are adjusting, I can pick out the shapes and movement in front of me, and I can see this world lightening with every passing second. I listen to the first early footsteps scurrying through the scrub. The baboons are shouting in social hierarchy, and in the distance a lioness roars confirmation that her pride is nearby.
A lone hyena whoops a scouting call, a jackal answers but cuts the call short, and a hippo grunts his return to the water in territorial voice.
My safari has begun! A journey that will allow me to process this early information and then include the footsteps, fasces and feeding signs left behind from last night’s visitors.
What will I uncover? Where will I go? This is my adventure today!
There are two important reasons why I am still passionate about guiding in the Kruger National Park.
The first is that I know that every game drive or bush walk I conduct will be different from the last one.
The second reason is because even after 20 years of guiding – I know for sure that I’m going to see something, hear something, think about something, learn something and share something new with the people I am with.
Each time I conduct a guided nature experience in the Kruger National Park I immediately become part of an experience that is as new as it is exciting.
This morning’s walk starts out with a kaleidoscope of colour splashed across the grasses like confetti strewn along the wedding isle at the start of a lifelong dream. The associated aroma of the damp grass and herbs is sensational and we stop our walk before it’s even begun.
To paint this magic in words is difficult. These words would have to combine the very best fragrances with perfect colours and then gently wash your skin with the sounds and sensation of a slight breeze blowing the magic of life over your body.
Knowing that the grass beneath our feet is as precious as a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day and like our blanket, this grass will protect the earth from the rain, the scorching sun and the high winds before a thunderstorm.