A Dawn Discussion

A dawn discussion about a big decision – in which direction shall we head today?

We had more or less decided to explore the area a bit and we had made a rough “fly” camp, but around us lay many kilometres of unknown wilderness. There were some pointers from a small hunting party of local tribesmen we had come across a day or so earlier, and we got a few hints from signs we had picked up as we toiled our way through the bush, but other than that we really had little idea of what was going on in the area.

We could take just a short morning walk and be back at fly camp by about midday, or a slightly longer one and get back by evening, or, we could just wander out for several days. But always, one must be mindful not to become opportunistic and start gold-digging; rather surrender to the bush, let it get through to you, take you…

It speaks its own language. It may have only muttered faintly to us during the night, in mysterious rustles and incessant chirping and owl-words, or it may have been wonderfully eloquent, with tearing branches, or distance-thinned trumpeting, or roars, booming over kilometres on the currents, or hoarse grunts from nearby thickets, or sad bellows, or cackling howls, or warning whistles, or barks of terror, each with a direction and a distance and a special meaning for today…

And, the moment we step out of the camp, there may be a lot more: tracks and droppings, signs of feeding, signs of territory marking, game paths and the direction they are heading and what had been using them, vegetation types and what our intuition would tell us of the ungulates and predators we would likely find there, the kinds of birds we might hear and see (not the strong flyers, but the ground-feeding ones that can’t fly long distances to water), or circling vultures or mud wallows or water holes (they are a rich, rich source of information)

So, lets tidy up, secure things against opportunistic visitors like baboons or monkeys, and respectfully sample the richness of the African bush…

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