Lost and leopards!


Hopefully, you’ve watched the video attached, firstly sorry I’m no Attenborough crew and there’s more shots of my nostril than anything else. But walking in the bush with an extended arm wasn’t happening! As you know, it’s a struggle getting too the school. So at 2Pm Davie unknown to me dropped me of at the closest road with intensions to walk to the school and back and mark out a path in the bush so we can build a road. Simple right. If ive said this once ive said it a million times. Danni doesn’t do directions! Luckily he didn’t send me alone Kaieso and Tilda came along, local people who work on the tomato fields. Getting to the school was actually simple, it took just over an hour. I walked through the village, locals coming out to shake my hand and to say hello (feeling way more important then I am) After reaching the school and talking to the teachers we decided to make our way home. Two of the teachers decided to join the team and walk home with me. And off we went, we’ve all heard of the saying too many cooks in the kitchen. Well it was proven right! Three people trying to decide directions made things a little complicated… An hour later and it was obvious, we was lost. (Kaiso’s AKA Mas 2l bottle of home brewed beer could have also played a part). No obvious paths, ducking and weaving under thorn trees we carried on our hike. At one point I thought I wasn’t going to return, flashing back to episodes of Man Vs wild all I could remember is when he climbed into a camel and there’s zero chance of my tucking into an empty carcass for a night sleep. Luckily Tilda could semi speak English and translated for me, sometimes not so much in my favour when the teacher said in Xhona ‘Elephants have trampled these trees recently’ and the only word she decided to translate was ‘elephant’, not really what you want to hear on foot! But things got more extreme then an accidental translation. The sun was starting to set, Kaieso at this point was marching ahead to try and find the road before dark, causing an assembly line of messages being passed from the front to the back. Davie was somewhere close but yet so far firing gunshots into the air. Luckly I was too tired to panic and too focused on moving forward. 3hrs in and we found ourselves on a road. Never have I been so happy to see a patch of cleared dust. Thinking I was safe, the last moment I would encounter wildlife. There, we saw him, not a joke translation either. A male leopard watching us on our way. It wasn’t really panic that set in, you don’t have time for that. More like an overwhelming stillness, standing in ore as you make eye contact with such a mysterious creature. It takes a few seconds before you can breathe again, let alone take in what’s happening. Something I’ll never forget. He simply stared, checked us out and slowly wondered back off into the bush. Predator maybe, but I saw nothing but a gentle shy wonderer. (possibly because I never saw teeth). Just as we backed away, before anything else could come and say hello to me. Davie arrived with the car, safety at last! After my lesson on compass use, and feeling like I survived some Initiation challenge, we decided maybe not to send me back into the bush for a little while!

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