Heaven on earth….

I really hope heaven looks like the Kruger Park. I’ve been going to that magical place for nearly a zillion years and should by now be used to coming back to reality after a visit to God’s farm, as the little ones in my family call it. But, alas, I find it more difficult to leave every year.

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You might ask me what’s so fascinating about the bush and its inhabitants. Well, let me tell you. I am in love with the sights, the smells and the sounds of the veld. I still get as exited as a child every time I hear the Bosveldfisante calling early in the morning, just after sun rise. (By the way, the Bosveldfisant is called Swainson’s Spurfowl in English – but I’ve never heard anyone calling it by that name!) 

The fisante are usually followed by the calls of the Yellow-billed Hornbills and their grey cousins and, if we’re lucky, a Fish Eagle down by the river looking for breakfast. The sounds of heaven!

The Kruger bungalows smell of thatched roofs, tar-treated roof beams and disinfectant. Every time I enter a bungalow the old feelings of comfort, peace and contentment flood back, covering me with memories of days gone by. These are the smells of the good times with Mom and Dad, my very eccentric aunts Sheilah and Annie and, nowadays, my children.

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The current lot of young ones, ranging from four to 21, virtually grew up in the Kruger. And they love it to bits! Oh, the excitement around the camp fire, mixed in with a little bit of unease, when the jackals and hyenas start calling in the night. We all keep dead quiet while the little ones make a beeline for the first available adult.

And joy of joys when the lions decide to join the nightly chorus. We all sit tjoepstil, even the toddlers, for hours on end, taking in the glorious concerto. Obviously it does not happen every night, but when it does it’s something you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.

The bush is about so much more than lions and elephants and other big game, though. It’s also about the small, the strange and the downright ugly (my apologies to the Marabou Stork).

The Kruger is where I get my share of healing, of resting, of freeing myself from the daily aches and pains of life. If you’ve never been there, heed my advice and get there as soon as you can.

View the Kruger Park gallery.

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Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.