Going on a bear hunt …









And Hat?




We’re going on a bear hunt.




No bears in Africa.  (Unless you count Ant Bears.)


Everybody knows that.


Or Tigers. (That’s a common misconception, lions and tigers don’t share jungle space).


Off on a Bush Whack.


Not a sedate amble along the dam, ‘Shall we head north or south?’


Neither, Husband says. Up the Hill, he says. For the view.


Because the flora and fauna change with the Rains, he says.


Ah. Right.


(Wish I hadn’t put my Birkenstocks on – not ideal hiking footwear).


So we walk. Swiping at thick scrub with sticks to cut a path through.  The dogs are ecstatic, quickly getting high on a gamut of alien scents. The canine equivalent of the perfumery at Harrods.


The flora a constant distraction.  (Come on, you two! urges Husband).







Look at this mum, look at this, Hat enthuses, look at my pretty leaf.  The veil of crisp new green that veils the hill side is a million merging colour swatches. Did you know Africa came in that many shades? Dissect it and you’ll see: bottle green, olive green, lime green, dark green, light green, aquarium green, soft sage-green filigree leaves.




And all of it sprigged with surprising splashes of colour: brightly lit yellow chandelier blossom hangs from acacias;


appropriately festive red berries (“Are they edible?’ I wonder Husband tries one and spits it out, ‘bitter’, he announces.  I watch him carefully for the next half hour lest he exhibit signs of poisoning);


Tiny violet flowers tucked shyly amongst rocks, nutty castanet seed pods which rattle cheerfully when I touch them.



The bush is resonant with sounds. Guinea fowl bossily organize one another for the night; mongoose talk too much; distant cow bells clang in that mellow dusty way that they do in Africa; Husband urges, again, ‘Come on you too’ and whistles for the dogs. I hear them long before I see them. They barrel, panting, through the undergrowth.  ‘Careful of snakes’, I keep reminding Hat. She is too kind to say Stop Nagging.

OK Mum. (Given my regular encounters with same, she gave me a bangle, ‘a Snake Bracelet’, she explained, ‘to keep you safe, mama’, she said).

So we climb and as we near the top I hear Hat above me, ‘Don’t turn round Mum, wait until you’re up here, the view is Splendid’.

And it was.



And we admired only briefly, clouds and sinking day sapping the light, and we slipped and slid our way back down and I cursed my Birkenstocks. Again.

And the light collapsed and the dogs began to lag.

And we got back on the faintest chink of pink sky. As if the heavens were watching our progress and kindly keeping a finger beneath the curtain of black. 

They let it drop then.





16 Responses to “Going on a bear hunt …”

  1. Mud Says:

    I love the way night crashes in Africa. No sleepy dusk to take away the sting, but a dramatic creshendo of sudden darkness. Just like Africa herself really – much better at making grand gestures than the UK.

  2. choppysunflower Says:

    What a wonderful exciting adventure. The night literally dropped right on time, after you made it back. It must have all smelled wonderful too. I am trying to imagine that, but I can’t even come close.

    xxx, Irene

  3. kitschen pink Says:

    Birkenstocks, snakes. Snakes, Birkenstocks. Hmm. Maybe that’s what Hat was thinking? t.xxx

  4. Millennium Housewife Says:

    Beautiful Memsahib, thankyou x

  5. Roberta Says:

    Oh I needed that! I actually let out a breathless “Oh my God!” when I turned around with you to see that view. Thank you for taking us along.

  6. Mom de Plume Says:

    Ah, that was awesome. Took me back to walks on my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Zimbabwe. The view is breathtaking there too. In some ways you are very lucky!

  7. R. Sherman Says:

    Thanks for the beautiful photos.


  8. doglover Says:

    My friend is off for a boat trip round Antarctica and I described the stars she would see which aren’t visible in England. I showed her what Orion looked like, with the dagger hanging from his belt.

    Then I realised Orion would be upside down (as it must be for you).

    Then I realised that anyway it would be mid-summer and she would have 24 hours daylight!

    Ah, me!

  9. Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) Says:

    A wonderfully told and illustrated post. Thanks for taking me on a wonderful bush walk.

  10. Mr Farty Says:

    The heat! The smells! The humidity! You make it feel as if we’re there with you, sigh.

    The sounds! I *knew* you must be wrong about lions and tigers 😉


  11. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    And thank you all very much for joining me.

    Mud … No sleepy dusk to take away the sting, but a dramatic creshendo of sudden darkness … beautiful words.

    Choppy … the smell? something sweet. I couldn’t place it. I think there must have been some wild thing fruiting and spilling soft to the ground, doubtless resutling in a drunkenly festive occassion for ant or birds?

  12. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Quite Kitschen. I really ought to know better by now. It’s wellies next time. Wellies and shorts. Definately a good Outpost look.

    Thank you MH. And thank your for joining me x

  13. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Good wasn’t it Roberta: the view?

    I know Mom de P: in some ways I am very lucky. I remember that on walks like this one. Unrivalled.

  14. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Mr S: I’m enjoying taking the pictures, tend to lag behind everybody else whilst i fiddle about focusing and getting the right angle and family shouting ”oh come ON mum”.

    We’re only just south of the equater doglover so our daylight hours barely change. It gets light by half six and dark by seven at night, almost year round. I must look for upside down Orion. Our stars are wonderful, courtesy of big clear skies (most of the year) and zero light pollution. Another reason for me to be cheerful, Mom de P!

  15. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thanks Rob.

    Mr Farty. Thanks for the link. They’re wrong though. no tigers, I promise!! I did love the Holy Crap! Lions Tours. simply marvellous.

  16. nuttycow Says:

    Lovely 🙂

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