Have you had wonderful event as a child that has indelibly imprinted something special into your mind, heart and soul? Just the first few notes of the Born Free melody even before the dulcet tones of Matt Monro even burst through, still gives me tingles up my spine, a smile on my face and a warm, happy feeling inside. As a small child a super outing for me was with my wonderfully loving mum to the cinema, I felt special just being with her as we snuggled down in the seats with chocolate and popcorn in hand, the curtains opened and that music surrounded us, the story of Elsa and my fascination for the big cats was to be part of my imagination for the rest of my life.
I always had the idea “someday” I will go and see for myself, but you know what life is like; responsibilities here, making a living there, being a wife, mother, entrepreneur, all seemed to get a better rating than my South African visit. That is how it was, until November 2015 when I made the decision, just do it! Within a day, I booked my flights to Cape Town and started planning all the itinerary to fill my days. There was so much to choose from and so much to see, top of my list Lions in the wild!
16th March, 2o16 – D Day; up with the lark, two hours drive through the most incredible scenery produced by Mother Nature, still totally untouched by man (except for the road through) Lead me to Aquilla Game Reserve, a great champers greeting, but I was too excited to worry about the extensive breakfast being served, instead all I could do was look out over the land, just thinking at least one of Elsa’s relatives could be there hidden by the rocks or scrub.
We started out on the safari with a tarp covered lorry, bumping and bouncing about over the terrain, Kensington with his huge brilliant white smile set in an ebony face, was friendly, knowledgeable and funny. All the while my brain was screaming out “where are the lions?” We made our way and saw, elephants, buffalo, giraffes, zebras, rhinos with their babies, springbox, wilderbeasts, ostriches and baboons , where are the lions, cheetahs, leopards???????
As we turned off of a windy, dusty, rocky track an extensive wire fence intruded into our viewfinders, the lorry juddered to a stop and Kensington gave us strict instructions to keep all arms, hands, elbows and feet inside the truck, we were entering into the cat area. I was almost bouncing on my seat like a young child at Christmas, scouring the mountainous area for the glimpse of a feline. Then my heart nearly exploded as the shout went up, lions on the left, it took me a few seconds to focus on the magnificence of the male with his mane of honey coloured fur lounging on a large rock. Just beneath him to his left and right in a more shaded area, were his two lionesses, laying quietly but acutely alert and ready to defend their king of the beasts.
Nothing prepared me for their magnificence, their controlled power, their elegance and their size. My dream had come true in the most amazing style possible. A truly magic moment for me, that had only taken five decades to achieve! There were leopards but they chose not to reveal their resting place, hey ho nothing could deflate me now.
No matter how long you wait, if your why is big enough, you will find a way. Keep your dreams and goals alive, then one day magic will happen.