The Lonely Bull was life-chang­ing

go! - - Upfront Letters -

I re­cently hiked the Lonely Bull Back­pack Trail in the Kruger Park. I’m a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to the park and I’m used to driv­ing around and cov­er­ing huge dis­tances to see an­i­mals. It’s much more dif­fi­cult to see game on foot. The an­i­mals hear and smell you long be­fore you see them. We saw their tracks, heard them stomp­ing around and even smelled them, but most dis­ap­peared quickly when we ap­proached. We did have some stun­ning sight­ings: a re­laxed el­lie go­ing about his busi­ness; a buf­falo that made a toi­let break rather in­ter­est­ing for one of the hik­ers; rhi­nos drink­ing from a wa­ter­hole; and in­quis­i­tive hip­pos that kept an eye on us when we got too close to their pool. We also spot­ted lots of smaller crea­tures: golden orb spi­ders, rain lo­custs, dung bee­tles, tree frogs… The birds ser­e­naded us wher­ever we walked. We slept in dry riverbeds and lis­tened to the rangers’ sto­ries while lions roared in the dis­tance. One morn­ing, we woke up to ele­phant spoor in our camp­site and a leop­ard’s per­fect foot­print at the nearby wa­ter­hole. The Lonely Bull was life-chang­ing for me. I’m afraid the Kruger has been spoilt; never again will I sit be­hind a fence in a camp and be con­tent, know­ing what’s out there wait­ing. INGE MARAIS, Cen­tu­rion

Read our story about the three-day Mathikithi Wilder­ness Trail in the Kruger Park on page 32. – Ed.

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