• Marilyn Saltzman

Sept. 13 – For the birds

Bonga’s wakeup call at  5:30 a.m.  (a time of day I normally avoid being upright), was welcome because it meant one last outing with this knowledgeable and entertaining guide. It was a morning for the birds – we saw the “go away” bird (Gray Lourie), brown-hooded parrot, Egyptian goose, yellow-billed hornbill, little bee eater, fish eagle, African spoonbill, yellow-billed kite and blue starling…to name a few. I hope I can remember them all!  After a terrific brunch, It was time to bid our new friends goodbye and head to Orpen Camp, a more modest, self-catering venue.


Of the many wildlife viewing sites along the way, the most exciting was watching a lion and lioness mate beneath a tree. When we pulled off the road because of the number of cars lined up on both sides of the highway (a sure sign something big is happening), the lovers were sitting several feet apart. After a few minutes, the lioness got up and approached her mate. He immediately mounted her and got down to business. We must have missed the prelude because the whole event was over in the blink of an eye. After the mating was done, they sat side by side, the lion with his body splayed in true stud-like fashion, basking in his post-coital glory. All he needed was a cigarette.


When we got to Orpen Camp, I had two goals – to do my laundry and take a morning bushwalk.

When we asked where the “Laundromat” was located, we learned it consisted of one old washing machine, which was out of order. OK, I could hand wash some essentials. On to the next goal – the morning walk. “Sorry, no spots available tomorrow.”

Persisting, we asked the receptionist to call ahead to our next camp to ensure there would be space for us in their morning walk. She started entering my passport information and abruptly looked up at me. “How old are you?” she asked. “The age limit for the walk is 65,” she said. “Sorry, I can’t sign you up.”

Embarrassed and insulted, I snapped, “I walk several miles a day at home at high altitude.”

“Those are the rules,” she answered, handing back my passport. “You can get a doctor’s note at the next camp.”

Talk about a lesson in flexibility…and humility.
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