Laundry day – Elephant blockades and Kruger at peace.
I made a very much needed trip to the Laundromat today on day 18 of our lockdown! (To be completely honest I had to do the trip twice because I forgot my washing powder the first time around. An honest mistake due to lack of sleep, I promise!!) I have not done any washing for almost a week and jack literally ran out of clean underpants.
After yesterday’s heat, the wind picked up overnight with a lot more pleasant temperatures today. But wind like this sometimes does not make for very nice game viewing so I did not expect to see much on my way to camp. I could not have been more wrong!!
I left the house just after 7 this morning and took a slow drive to the rest camp where I am allowed to do my washing. There were elephants everywhere! I saw the first big breeding herd just before the T-junction. They were feeding close to the road without a single care in the world. My presence did not faze them at all.
After the T-junction, it was breeding herd after breeding herd on or next to the road. The elephants are definitely spending a lot more time on the roads now that there is no traffic. Their time on the road meant my drive to camp was taking a lot longer than usual. I did not mind. This lock-down is the only time I am ever going to have the whole of Kruger and its animals to myself. I better savour each and every moment!
If there weren’t any elephants on the road, I would be zigzagging my way through all the heaps of elephant dung. I don’t like driving over elephant poop. There might be dung Beatles busy in the dung that I can’t see and butterflies like the moisture in fresh elephant dung. Besides, tortoises have a tendency of looking like elephant bollies from a distance, so I try and avoid driving over the turds as much as I can.
Most of the wallows next to the road are busy drying up, but one bull had found a small one that was still nice and muddy. He was so chilled out, standing with his two front feet in the mud. Every now and then he would flick some mud on his chest with his trunk. He looked like he was half asleep!! (Keep an eye on our Facebook Page for some video’s I will post bit later. And if you haven’t already, please like Our Life in Kruger on Facebook!)
Parked next to that muddy bull, I somehow felt like that is what the mood is like for the animals in the park at the moment. They are all chilled! Not just this big guy enjoying his time at the wallow, but the breeding herds I spent time with; tummy-rumbling with contentment. The big herd of buffalo up against a rise all still lying down and chilling, zebra’s parked off on the road. It feels like the whole park is just relaxed. Except for the impala. It is the beginning of the rutting season so they are far from relaxed. They are just chasing each other around looking for love. But everyone else: completely relaxed in the knowledge there is no noisy, colourful machines driving them off the road. Goes to show what a missive impact us humans have on their natural environment.
With the two washing machines at the Laundromat (finally) busy cleaning our mountain of dirty washing I went to sit down on one of the benches at the dam. The water is slowly drying up in there as well. I could not see the hippo that has been in the dam on my previous laundry days. Maybe he has already moved to deeper waters. A medium-sized crocodile was sunning himself on the bank on the left. Mouth open the way crocodiles do when they are soaking up the heat of the sun. And while I was listening to the chorus of birds all around me, I got that same feeling of relaxation I could see in the animals on my way to camp.
Yes, this lock-down is hectic. For everyone around the world. But it is also a time where I am not pressed for time to do anything! Not to get the kids ready for school and to have their bags and lunches packed. Or to have dinner ready on time when they get back and all the other things that make ‘normal’ every-day-life so rushed. This is the time to actually live in the moment – to live life one day at a time. To enjoy making memories; Both as a family and on these special ‘laundry days’. Where, for a few hours, I have the Kruger National Park all to myself.