• Danielle Sheedy

Lockdown Isn’t So Bad When Three Cheetahs Visit


When I woke up this morning everything felt normal, and then I went outside. I couldn’t hear any traffic. There was no noise at all. No cars crossing over the Crocodile Bridge, no trucks gathering sugarcane on the neigbouring farms, and no planes flying overhead. And there were no people. Our beautiful Kruger is closed.

Crocodile Bridge Gate closed. Kruger is closed.

I didn’t find it sad though, I found it quite magical, like I was in a dream of sorts, and we were the only humans that existed in the world.

It was a crisp, chilly morning (my favourite kind of weather), and we took Bella Lump for a walk. Lucky dog, I kept thinking to myself. Most other dogs won't be able to be walked for the next 21 days. I tried to explain this to her, but she was too busy living her best life to hear me.

It was bizarre to not see one car parked outside our units, nor all of our friendly staff smiling, as they greet us good morning.

We walked along the Kruger fence, and I couldn’t see any cars in the park, or any human life at all, anywhere, only an abundance of wildlife on the opposite side of the river. No other humans, except for us. Solitude, sweet solitude.

No cars crossing over Crocodile Bridge.

As we sat on the deck later on, drinking a hot cup of coffee, I was scanning the bush for life. It’s a funny thing really, you just need to sit out there for a few minutes while your eyes adjust to all that greenery, and then you begin to see movement.

Coffee and Kruger Views on overcast days

Large herds of impala were scattered across the plains, wildebeest galloped about playfully, and a journey of giraffe on the horizon.

My brother and my gram were chatting non- stop, as I sat there in silence, watching and waiting, and then I saw them, three beautiful cheetahs.

Two of the Three Cheetahs we saw today

At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but then I looked again and it really was three cheetahs.

I can’t begin to explain the excitement at this point, as I shouted to my family, “You will not believe what I am looking at. Three cheetahs. Come look, quick!”

This was literally the first time in my life that I’d seen a cheetah here, let alone three. It was hard to tell if it was a male coalition, or a female with big cubs.

As we were watching them walk towards the horizon where I knew they’d disappear from our sight, something caught my eye, about 50 meters from them.

It can’t be, I thought, but in fact it was… two sub-adult male lions, “my” boys were paying me a visit. I just posted yesterday, about how I wished they’d visit, and today they were here.

I tried to take some photos and videos, but, with the overcast weather, the lighting wasn’t too great, unfortunately. But that moment will forever be imprinted in my mind.

A cool breeze was rolling off the Crocodile River, and I could hear the rumbling of thunder in the distance. The sky was dark on the horizon, and Darryl said, that it was most likely raining pretty hard on the S25.

A fish eagle cried as he soared above the river, and then landed on the telephone wire. We took a moment to watch him trying to keep his balance, as he wiggled about on the flimsy wire, which clearly he was too heavy for. Then he gracefully landed on a rock, as he watched the river in the hopes of finding his next catch.

A hyena appeared from behind a large clump of trees, and began to run towards a herd of impala, which in turn started alarm calling, and ran toward the giraffe. Necks stretched out as far as they could go, the giraffe also started running until they realized, that the cowardly hyena was no threat to them.

The rain began to fall gently, and all I could hear was the pitter-patter of the drops as they fell on the African earth. I love that sweet smell of rain, when it hits the earth. The trees were swaying in the breeze.

The world felt so at peace, but although, there was a stillness that echoed through the valley, we were not alone, for from the bushveld, there was so much life, and to them it was just another ordinary day.


...But for me, I felt hopeful that the world would return to normal again one day, maybe a little different, but hopefully, for the better. And for now, nature was having a bit of a chance to reset herself.

Until then, I am grateful for these wild neighbours of ours, who frequently pay us visits. I could never feel alone here.

xxx



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