The reality of crocodiles.
I was afraid of the crocodiles, well who wouldn’t be? We had been warned that the crocodiles are active during the day; this is when they will prey upon you. We were not to go too close to the water’s edge as they lie very still, camouflaged, waiting for their prey. We were also told that the hippos are out at night grazing upon the grassy banks and have been known to graze between the caravans. Not that they want to eat humans but they are to be dangerous; when you get in between a hippo and their retreat back to the water you: better watch out. So I felt on my guard all day and night. I didn’t go near the water’s edge and I tried to not wonder around at night, when I might meet a hippo; I saved my bathroom visits for day time.
We also were sharing the camp with vervet monkeys of whom I have already mentioned and their opportunistic ways of looking for food. They are curious and cute. They move effortlessly through the tops of the trees, peering at you, waiting for you to turn your back on your possessions for a minute, and then they swoop in and grab your food and so we developed a practice of always keeping all the doors to the van shut. Other than my perpetual alert state it was a very beautiful place to camp and so we stayed there for a few days.
On the second day.
I awoke to the natural sounds of the surroundings, an unforgettable way to awake each day but this day we both felt grumpy. I think you will understand, even if you haven’t been on a road trip, it is a bit like lock-down now. We were in the same small space day after day while traveling, with ourselves and each other as the only real company; there was a set routine, and there was also the stress of the unknown and a certain level of continuously being in survival mode. So by now we were a little worn thin, emotionally, and being able to relax actually, unnervingly, allowed the emotions to filter up out of our unconscious.
This is when an internal signboard warning us: beware of psychological crocodiles, would be helpful. Not too long into the morning Derek told me he needed a day apart from me. We were not getting along, so imagine my surprise. Yes, I could feel hurt but, no, I knew we needed the break from each other too; and I also could do with a day on my own. Derek took a walk to the next resort. You know by now that I revert to being anxious, so of course I was anxious that he would be eaten by a crocodile on the way. Derek reassured me that he was not so stupid as to walk near the water, so I hoped he would be safe. It was wonderful to be on my own for a while; writing, journaling, thinking, and just staring into the abyss of beauty, etc.
When Derek came back he had a story of his own. He is a lot more confident than me and makes new friends very easily so when he had got to the next resort the manger and he struck up a connection. After showing Derek around the whole resort, just like boys will be boys, they did something that Derek will probably never get the chance to do again.
While they stood on the deck above the river they spotted a crocodile; an enormous one. The manager got out a catty and proceeded to try awaken this crocodile by shooting marbles at it. Apparently the locals didn’t want to encourage loitering crocodiles in the vicinity. Now a marble would not hurt it but definitely irritate it. And so the fun began. Next it was Derek’s turn and his shot hit the crocodile and it was awake in no time at all and spun around as quick as a flash. Away into the water it glided. Derek says he definitely would not like to be close to it because a person would stand no chance against the swift crocodile. I am not sure if Derek or the crocodile got the bigger fright. I think that this activity was all the refreshing Derek needed and when he came back he was a happy man. The day had energized him and he had also spotted a rare bird.
They say that the former manageress had been depressed as her husband had died and she was left to look after the resort on her own. She was grieving but she remained an independent woman and during that time she disappeared, although her belongings were still in her chalet. The story has it that she used to sit very close to the water’s edge and everyone suspects that she had been taken by the huge crocodile that Derek taunted. We don’t know if it is true or not but she vanished without a trace. They searched for her remains to no avail. The question was: “was she so down that she wanted to leave this world or was it that she didn’t care to notice?” Of course no-one knows. It is definitely a sobering story to hear when you are in nature so close to wild animals.
Here are some photos of the grounds at Cubu Cabins. It might look like we have a special interest in bathrooms and restrooms, and I guess it is true, we took note of all the unusual and unique abultions while traveling; no single place was the same and definitely not what I was used to as a westerner.
Take care, until next time.
If you want to know more about our first part of the journey through the Northern Cape before we left South Africa you can find all the link here:
Here is where you can find all the links for the tip through Namibia
An African Road Trip: Namibia 2013
If you want to read last weeks posts from this series you can check it out here.