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  • Writer's pictureRafael Bloch

A Battle as Old as Time

The full moon rises over a parched Kwapa River. It hasn’t rained properly in well over a month, only a few scattered showers here and there. Everyone and everything in the concession is feeling the heat.

The students lap up the last little trickle of Wifi before heading to bed.

The camp starts quietening down, and the creatures of the night come out to play.

First, the resident camp animals. The 3 porcupines come out and head straight for the kitchen. Any scraps will do. In the corner of my eye, the honey badger. Low to the ground and skulking, he is ready to cause some trouble. I hope you zipped up your tent.

The civet and the rogue domestic cat are the last to join in on this party. Trying to get their fix too, but they may have been too late this time.

You walk to your tent. The heat of the day finally wearing off. You drop your mosquito net and at last, the stage is set and the Scops owl calls. ‘Kruup’. Ready. Action.

African Scops Owl

An impala barks.

A snarl. A yip. A roar.

A battle as old as time begins. Hyaenas and lions, sworn enemies, fight over an unlucky impala.


With only your ears it’s hard to tell who is winning. Kruup. But it sounds like the lions are outnumbered this time, there are simply too many maniacal cackles from the hyaenas – laughing louder and louder while the roars of the lions become softer and fewer.


How long did that even last? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 30? It feels like the battle ended as quickly as it started. Scenes marked by the impartial call of a Scops owl continuing late into the night.


This never gets old.


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