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  • Writer's pictureRafael Bloch

The Heart Beat of Africa

A sleep out in the bush is always a nature guiding course special. Armed with nothing but a flashlight for night watch and a burning fire, it’s you immersed in the wilderness. How we used to live all those years ago.

It’s true, you do connect to deeper sense of being out there. Thoughts become slower. Simpler. You become mindful of each step to not create disturbance. When you are on foot, you are equals in the land you share with the elephants and buffalo you encounter on the way to your sleeping setup.

And sure, there is also something to be said about the weight of responsibility when it’s your turn to stay up and keep watch while your friends sleep to the sounds of the bush. But as serious as this all sounds, which is part of the point of having a sleep out on a course like this, it’s actually just fun.

Men turn into boys again, giggling late into the night until our cheeks hurt. Steaks are thrown on the braai, the flames of the fire lighting up the trees surrounding our tents. The laser pointer is out and our guide, Evans, begins pointing out constellations, speaking of ancient mythology written in the stars.

After a couple mediocre attempts of taking photographs of the night sky, there are a few yawns making an appearance. Where our weary eyes guide us to our tents.

With that, the night shift begins.

And apart from a couple snores, sleep talking and the rustling of sleeping bags there were no hiccups with nothing to report on.

The graveyard shift, between 2:00am and 4:00am just ended and it was my turn to keep watch. The two youngest in the group put on brave faces and said to me “No bru, we will just stay up it’s fine, we’re up already”.

Yeah right.

Those faces almost immediately turned tired and by 4:05am they waddled back to their tents where I sat with my tea keeping watch.

Evans, joins me shortly after and we stare into the fire, in a trance as the flames dance and play in the reflection of our eyes. Imaginary stories play out. A bushman’s Rorschach test.

Elephants trumpet and we hear the lions roar in the not-too-far distance. The ground hornbills are repeating their deep booming calls. Impalas give off warning calls. Hyaenas cackle. The first sounds of francolins.

And while the bush orchestra begins its morning symphony, Evans looks me in the eyes and says:


“This… this is the heartbeat of Africa”.

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1 Comment

Mar 04

Ranger Raf 👏🏼 keep these blog posts coming!

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