The Little Letaba Roof Visitor
I have to share this hilarious story with you that popped in to my mind this morning.
During my travels and life abroad, I became rather disconnected from bush life, and the Kruger National Park. I had been away for so long, and didn’t visit very often, so I suppose I was more aware and nervous of the dangers, when I did visit the bush.
First we had moved to Durban, then I moved to Aspen, then to Miami and then went on to work on cruise ships for two and a half years, so naturally I didn’t spend much time in nature, or around wildlife.
One year my family had planned their annual “guest houses in Kruger trip", and it just so happened that I would be home for vacation from ship life. I was terribly excited.
We love the North, just because it makes a nice change for us Southerners living at Crocodile Bridge, and as I’ve mentioned before there doesn’t seem to be such a high density of people and game drive vehicles.
So off we went, first spending a few nights at Olifants and then on to Letaba (which is my absolute fav). We usually stay at Melville Guest House, but this particular time, we were staying at Fish Eagle Guest House, which is situated in the Eastern corner of the camp.
Fish Eagle Guest House has a main communal area, with a kitchen and lounge, and then separate rooms on either side of the house. To reach the rooms you have to walk out the main area, on the outside of the guest house, and then in to the rooms. The layout seemed most unusual to me, but as I have explored Kruger more over the years, this seems to be a common denominator among many of the guesthouses.
**In order to give you a better idea of the layout of Fish Eagle guest house, I have added in some Sanparks photos. Photo Credit : Sanparks**
Grammy and I were always roommates (Before Toni) on holidays and Gramps and Darryl (my little, big brother who is now a guide at Imbali in Kruger) would share.
Our room was large, with a thatched roof and high ceiling, two single beds near to each other, and minimal other furniture.
The rest of the room was open with plenty of space. We probably could’ve fitted another five beds in there, had we wanted to.
On the first night we were there, we were pretty wiped out, so we had our dinner, bid everyone a good night and went to bed. Grammy fell asleep quickly, but I couldn't sleep, I could hear something in the roof.
Scratch, scratch, scratch... I lay there, thinking about what it could be, frozen in fear. What if it was a snake, was all I kept thinking?
You know when you’re afraid but you don’t want to move, so instead you lie under the covers sweating, lying dead still? Well that was me, hardly moving, hardly breathing. The scratching continued, for what felt like a century.
I didn’t want to wake Grammy because I felt embarrassed that a little scratching in the roof was frightening me.
So I continued to lie there... waiting, and waiting and waiting… and then it happened.
Something came flying out of the roof, and fell on my face. I screamed, and flew off my bed and on to Grammy’s, landing right on top of her.
Poor Grammy, woke up with a total shock, shouting “What, what is it?!!”
“Something just landed on my face,” I shouted back. I put my hand on my face, and realized that whatever it was in the roof hadn’t jumped on me, but rather went to the loo, and it had landed on my face.
I couldn’t actually believe it. In that enormous room, with all that space, it had landed on my face, out of all places.
It could’ve happened to anyone of my family members, but it had to happen to me, the one that was most nervous. Just my luck.
I cleaned my face, and we shone a torch up there, but we couldn’t see anything.
By this point, I was hysterical, and so was Grammy. We couldn’t stop laughing, and I really couldn’t sleep now.
"Why didn't you move when you heard it scratching around up there?," she said.
“I don't know, I was frozen in fear and was just waiting for it to fall on my face," I replied and we howled with laughter some more.
We moved my bed to the other side of the room, and I took a light sleeping tablet to get me through the night.
The next morning, we asked the housekeeper if she knew what sort of creature it could have been. She said it was either a bush baby or a squirrel. Apparently both lived in the roof.
But, I couldn’t confirm or deny this theory, for I never saw the little creature that decided to use the loo on my forehead and my nose.
I haven’t stayed at that guest house again, but whenever I visit Letaba and we stay at Melville Guest House, I always wonder if it could be one of those bush babies or squirrels that I so often see around there.