|From the moment the candles of
the infamous Hayward's Gin Tent are extinguished, there is a hushed
silence brought on by the thick mist of the West Coast as it permeates
through the flickering lanterns of the camp. It's at this point that one
becomes suddenly aware that something unique about this evening is about
With their ancient rhythm, the troupe moves about on stage to the chant of "Shosholoza". They are withholding an energy that contained fights for escape and then finally to the roar of pure Africa, ignites the evening sky. The dancers and two immaculately dressed African opera stars combine Italian tragedy with African pulse, blowing away any operatic cobwebs one may still have lurking in some dark corner.
This is pure magic and set in the stark sand dunes of the West Coast National Park enveloped in the safety of thick cotton canvas decorated in pure colonial splendor, Africa needs no intervention to cast her spell on those partaking in fine Cape wines and delectable cuisine.
A few nights ago Mike, Deborah and I went up onto SeeBerg, the adjoining hill to enjoy an owl's viewpoint of the evening's proceedings. A tot of good South African Port insured against the cold and with over 100 flickering lights and the full stage production in full flight it was visual decadence of note!
"Mos, Mos, Mos come in Mos," I called over the radio to one of our camp managers far below and approximately 2 .5 kilometers away. "Yes…Pete…. Mos. Send." " There's a lantern… 4th one from the top that's 3 foot to much to the left - please move it." …."Aah no way. You've got to be kidding - where the hell are you?" was the bleated reply.
It's evenings like this somewhere under a blanket of stars sitting with friends that makes every safari worthwhile. From the look of surprise on guests faces to their total immersion in the safari way a few hours later. The ability to produce a product precisely the way the client dreams of - this is what it is all about.
Tomorrow the West Coast chapter ends and we strike this beast - all 60 tons of her and prepare for the final leg of Africa's biggest ever safari.
The St Lucia Wetland Park over 1500 kilometers away beckons with her warm shores and green African bushveld - her vast herds of buffalo hippo and zebra await. The last great African safari is slowly coming to an end…