We have been living in Letaba as a family for nearly four years now. And with Alex about to reach a school going age, we grabbed the opportunity of a transfer to Wolhuter trail with both hands. This means that we will be moving to the trails house at Malelane gate. Still inside the Kruger National Park we love so much, but also much closer to a town with schools, decent medical facilities in Nelspruit and civilisation!
We have been waiting months for the start of the refurbishment of the house, which is in a terrible state. When we first got the news about the transfer, I enthusiastically started packing. A little too enthusiastic, because those boxes have been sitting in our passage, untouched, for three months now… But it looks like I can start packing again, because contractors have actually been working on the new house. Our moving date has been set for the second week of August!
So we are moving! I have to be honest; I have mixed emotions about it; Happy about the children being able to go to school and about living closer to a town. And sad about leaving our beautiful area here.
Things have not always been easy for me here in Letaba. It is the place where I had to find my feet as a new mother. And where I had to get used to living in the bush. All while being away from my precious family and dear friends I left behind in Holland to come live here with Steven. Those two things happened to coincide and resulted in me feeling quite lonely and isolated at times and a bit home sick.
The distance to town requires a lot more planning than when you live in the city. Not just with grocery shopping (I mean you can’t exactly drive back 100 kilometres if you have forgotten the milk), but also with medical help being that distance away. It has been challenging sometimes, especially when you have small children. But having said that does not mean I had a bad time. Far from it in fact; it has been a fantastic experience I would not have missed for the world!
Now that we have a moving date and a pile of empty boxes in the garage, waiting to be packed, I realise I am also going to miss a lot of things about Letaba. And those are the things that I have sometimes struggled with, funny enough.
Until we move, I am going to make sure I enjoy Letaba and everything about Letaba to the fullest. Because I am sure that when we are living at Malelane gate, I am going to miss the quietness and remoteness of Letaba. The same quietness and remoteness that made me feel isolated and lonely. The house at the gate is still in Kruger, but you can see the lodge on the other side of the river. I am sure that when the wind is blowing from the south, we will be able to hear the N4 highway and smell the sugar mill. The ashes from the burning sugar cane fields on the boundary will float into our garden. Another reminder that civilisation is right on our doorstep.
So I am going to embark on a little farewell tour of Letaba and its surroundings. Steven will only be back just before we move, so I am going to take the boys on a few sundowners on the river and the shooting range on my own. We will go to the high water bridge, from where you can see no lodges or other buildings, just unspoilt wilderness. I’ll bring the boys to the elephant hall in camp and let them look at the elephants there; we will have a milkshake at the restaurant and admire one of the best views in the park. I will take them on little game drives to our favourite spots and make a few more precious memories so we can always look back and say: Wow, we sure had a special time living in Letaba!