10 July 2011 by Julienne du Toit

A Safari into Silence

Why are we such willing participants in driving ourselves slightly crazy? I won’t rant on about the instant news, the twittering, the iPads, the TV, all those distractions that don’t leave us space for clear thought or contemplation.

But I will say that I firmly believe that it is our bounden duty to take ourselves somewhere silent for at least a week every year and to do absolutely nothing.

There is no finer place to do exactly this than go to the Karoo National Park, or my newfound favourite, the Tankwa Karoo National Park, which is firmly out of cell phone range. And then just to sit, to rest my eyes on the horizon and to feel the unaccustomed silence pressing on my ears.

It helps that the horizon is partially made up of the handsome Roggeveld mountains and that I sometimes feel I can touch them, so clear is the air. In spring I welcome the happy swoop of Karoo larks and Karoo chats. Undulating bushes stretched to the mountains like an intricate Persian carpet.

I might see oryx, or eland, or red hartebeest. I might see nothing more exciting than a toktokkie beetle. I might take pictures, or I might just let this blissful peace imprint on my retina. I could take a drive to see more, but it might be even better just to curl up in a pretty place and read my book.

Here I am completely safe, and once my ears have re-adjusted to the extraordinary soaring silence, I can feel fragments of my sanity returning to me. My world becomes pops back into focus. It’s like a constantly stirred-up muddy pond that is allowed to still and clear.

Category: Wildlife

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