On horseback in the Savannah
Finally I arrived in the magic place: few horses, few people, only tents, silence and spectacular nature!
After a half day riding, we reached “the Waterberg Byosphaere”, a huge natural reserve (as big as Lombardy) lay 250km north of Johannesburg and easily accessible by car. Our bags were already in front of our tents. The group, except me, includes a French family with a six-year-old daughter, a marvelous and funny rider, and the two guides.
We settled in the tents and then, they explained us the rules of the place: breakfast, lunch and dinner in the common place; to have a shower we had to ask for hot water 10 minutes before, and at least, how we have to behave in a place in which the nature holds away.
Definitely a pleasant, particular and intriguing place.
In the afternoon, we left for a horse ride trying to get closer as many animals as possible. The guide Leonie, born in the Kruger Park, have been living in South Africa and always in contact with nature, both for her bias and for work. She had explained us everything we met during our horse trekking.
We all enjoyed the sight but we hadn’t note the most captivating details standing out before our eyes, i.e., the footprints of a leopard that stuck immediately out like a sore thumb to Leonie.
Therefore, we stopped to observe them, trying to understand, from their dimensions, the leopard’s gender and the way it went to.
We came face to face with a group of antelopes. We stopped again, our guide gave details about their behavior and the language used to communicate among them. We stand in order to not invade their territory, then we put forward a few meters, we stopped again, they looked to us, analyzing without moving; they didn’t run away. It seemed like they were giving us permission to pass next to them. Everything was so fascinated, so much silence and respect.
The guide was very prepared and told us everything she knew trying to fully transmit us the place and its mysteries.
Back to the camp, we unsaddled the horses, nice shower to refresh them and let them drink, then eat and rest.
It began the discovery of the place, a good thirst-quenching drink, a chat and two laughs among us, the curiosity to see our tent and settle down, to try this rudimentary shower … a little relaxation until the sharing time of the dinner, wonderful … as always!
During the dinner, we had sunk into a totally peaceful environment. The guide first silenced us and then, with lighted torches in her hand, invite us to follow her and we obeyed immediately … what had she heard? We were all ready to chase the movements in the midst of the plants at midnight … until an “African porcupine” or a very big hedgehog has showed up in front of us: its body is robust and covered with quills that are nothing more than a set of united hairs by an albuminoidal substance known as keratin. These are very sharp and dangerous to the point of being used as their defense weapon.
This is the savannah …. From a glass of wine, we passed to a night among the plants and an animal, identified by a rustling, until, using torches, we met a porcupine.
All excited, happy, very happy to have participated in this night-time discovery.
The night is spectacular!! The full moon, the silence, the warmth of the climate … the “noises”: better not to notice … otherwise all the poetry passes (spiders, scorpions, snakes … that’s all right … we are in a South African reserve !)
In the morning, I was awakened up at 6:45 and a fresh coffee waited me on the patio….there was hot water for the rudimentary shower … what more could I want?
A hot shower, a good coffee .. and get ready for the day full of a lot of thing … as always.
LET’S GO … Our horses are rested and ready for another wonderful day between antelopes, wildebeests, giraffes, zebras … and everything what we could met.
Leonie stopped us. We unsaddled the horses and admired a beetle: the dung beetle, which oriented itself by the Milky Way. A beetle of questionable food tastes is the only animal discovered till now able to “get” by looking at the stars. The males of these beetles, after having identified a pile of fresh droppings, patiently form dung balls and, rolling them, push them as far as possible from the other beetles, often carrying a female. The couple buries the dung balls in order to use them as a food source for their offspring.
How many concepts are learned and discovered …
Every day is different from the other, different situations, different paths, and different animals.
With our beautiful horses, let us ride, trot and gallop enjoying these fantastic views and meetings.
Fabulous exciting meeting
We rode across field with zebras that graze the grass, run, play, and fight … and we learned that the zebra’s black and white striped coat is not only a ‘decoration’, but serves also as a mechanism of environmental defense.
We stopped to water the horses in a small pond at the end of the field. While there, a fearless zebra approached, stopped and looked to us.
Our guide confessed that it was a magical moment. We were astonished, still and in silence … our fabulous brave zebra intrigued its companions… five zebras arrived close to us and water together with us and our horses!
The breath was missing, the emotion increased my heart beats … The guide said that it was for the first time in the last ten years that happened such approach.
At the end, I can close my story in this way..
I advise you to try a similar holiday on horseback at least once in your life … I was speechless, with the heart full of emotions and the mind full of indelible memories.