I wake up to the bright light of morning, listening to the sounds of the insects as the alarm on my phone resonates with the barking guffaw of the zebra (I changed it to enhance the mood). Light is flooding through the walls of the tent. As I stretch and wiggle, luxuriating in the comfort of the bed, I am struck by the contrast of this tent cum up market villa, full of modern conveniences with the rugged unspoilt bush just feet away. Africa, I am in Africa. In a haven in the wilderness. I sniff the air, it smells warm, dusty with a faint undefinable odour maybe of the red earth itself. The scritch of crickets fills the air, their sound overlaid by the rich song of the birds in the nearby trees. I can hear the muted chink of pans and crockery; the chef must be in the kitchen preparing breakfast.
The amount of insect and bird life filling the air is amazing. Such a cacophony, it is almost overwhelming as I try to distinguish individual voices. This noise is incredible even without the voices of the large animals, who have gone quiet. Last night there was such a variety of noises permeating the tent, cracks and swishing from a browsing herd of elephants, alarm calls from buck and zebra and the cackle of the hyena sending a chill down my spine. Loved every second. I presume the animals both predator and prey are trying to stay invisible in the brightness if the day.
There is too much to do to stay in bed, so I make a move. The wind gusts and the door of the tent blows open, I walk over to close it, standing for a moment; a flicker of movement catches my eye. I register an impala racing past followed by a cheetah. The kill happens around 7 metres from the door of the tent. Quick and clean. Life begetting life. Awesome moment. The cheetah turns its head towards me, (it feels an acknowledgement of my presence) then drags the impala into the bush. Wow!! What a start to the day.
My blood is singing through my veins, my heart thumping that sight has been a pure adrenaline rush. I am privileged to see the power of nature in action.
Indoor or outdoor shower? No contest I must go with the full experience, so it must be the outside bush shower. I walk out onto the deck past the plunge pool, draping a towel around my nakedness. This clever arrangement is like the old, less salubrious camping days and much more to my taste. A canvas screen set up, with a wooden tripod sporting a large plastic bladder filled with water. The floor has a wooden grating to keep the feet clean. I leave my stubble in place and just soap my body then pull the string so that water from the bladder cascades over me, rinsing off the soap and energising my mind. Humming under my breath I shake myself like a dog and stand eyes closed basking for a moment in the heat of the sun. I reach for the towel and walk back to the tent drying myself in total harmony with this world.
Today I have a scheduled game drive to acclimatise myself to the heat and rhythms of African life, so different from my typical day. I am at peace relaxed and ready for any surprises that the day will bring. Tomorrow will be more testing, a trek into the wilderness with wild camping and two guides I am bursting with excitement today is the appetiser before the main meal begins.