11 December 2010 by Julienne du Toit

Babes in the Woods

It was a dark and stormy night. There. I’ve finally said it. Now I can move on.

Anyway, my husband Chris and I are at Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre outside Hoedspruit, not far from the Kruger National Park.

We’ve spent an afternoon trailing after Brian Jones as he delivers one powerful message after the other about man’s inhumanity to the planet.  He shows us vultures that have collided with powerlines; an injured but powerful crowned eagle; lions, poisoned hyena, orphaned serval cats. The man has a real gift with healing animals. He’s also quite good at staring down big birds.

We’re spending the night there - dotted all around the large property are delightful bush camps.

Brian gives us directions. I think Chris has taken them down. Chris thinks I took them down. The result? Two utterly lost babes in the bush.

I turn my little Toyota Conquest onto the wrong road and somehow manage to manoeuvre it onto a large rounded rock so that it rests on its belly, the wheels spinning free.

What choice do we have, but to walk back? With wild animals snorting and rustling about us in the bush? With a fast-failing torch to hand? And, oh yes: that dark and stormy night thing.

Eventually we arrive at a startled Brian’s front door, soaked to the skin, our senses alive like never before. A bit like the two lost kids coming to the Gingerbread Cottage. But inside is no evil witch - just a kindly vulture-whisperer who gives us refuge and a hot toddy….

Category: Wildlife

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