As an employee of The Amalinda Collection…

Pyjama Race and Buffalos……

Last night was an event of epic proportions. An early night, all the guests and staff were in bed by 9.30. The camp was deathly quiet and only a jackal had been at the water hole during the evening. It seemed everyone and everything had decided to turn in early.

After seeing the last clients off to bed and helping close up, I had a nice long shower, lay in bed and read a while and then switched off my lamp at about 10.30.

As I was nodding off I heard a very big truck…. Its low rumble seemed a bit close! It got closer, so close the very ground was shaking. A train maybe?  The water bottle on my bedside table was shaking – an earthquake!  I jumped out bed, put on my flip flops and ventured down the stairs. The rumbling was now intense and the whole camp was filled with a fog of thick choking dust.

Then I heard a distinctive low moan and smelt that rich bovine smell and realized ……

Buffalo! Inyathi! Syncerus Caffer! Daggaboys!

They had smelt the water at our waterhole and the eager youngsters had started running – resulting in a massive, dusty stampede that shook the very ground.

These were the only animals our wonderful guests had not seen.

I ran blindly to the deck at reception – the dust was like pea soup! Was I the only one hearing and seeing this?   Seriously?

I continued running across to the other tree-houses where our clients were sleeping – obviously very deeply! I called out loudly and tapped on the door, waking them up out of their slumber with a start!

“Guys! Wake up! Buffalo! Hundreds of them”

And so we bolted, Flip Flops and jarmies, waking up the others as we went. We had one sole purpose –  Get to the Hide!  Stumbling as fast as we could down to the Hide … Tripping and coughing in the choking dust.  It was eerie and surreal, the pan light together with the dust storm made Ivory Lodge look like a sci fi movie set.

We got to the Hide out of breath and shaking with excitement.  There were some very pregnant

females up front and centre getting their mineral requirement from the mineral seam in the soil.  As our eyes adjusted, there…. as far as the eye could see, were at least 400 buffalo. Like a bellowing sea of big, black ants.

I was reminded of the Buffalo Scene in Dances with Wolves – with Kevin Costner shouting “Tatanka…Tatanka!”

We could hear them wading and splashing like eager children in the water, bellowing mournfully to each other, the calves interrupting now and then at a higher pitch.  We sat there in the Hide for over an hour … A pyjama party like no other. Amazed and humbled.  Speechless and dusty.

I think these guests are the very first people to hug me and thank me for waking them up!  Usually I am glared and sworn at!

It was epic. An incredible moment in time.

As an employee of the Amalinda Collection, my role is not “just a job.”  It is such an incredible privilege to share moments like these with our guests and gasp in wonder at the awesomeness of Mother Nature herself. The fact is that herds of this size, only spoken of in history books, still exist.  Africa rejuvenates herself – not matter what.

By Michelle Keefe; PA to Marketing Dept

P.S.  this is obviously not the photo – as it was night time but herewith at Ivory waterhole anyways 🙂

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