By Stefanie Rach
The water ripples through the labyrinth of rocks. Golden reed tufts stick out everywhere like feathery islands, swaying gently with every breeze. Birds chirp along in time to the rhythm of water and wind.
It’s my day off, my day to relax. And I use it for a lovely hike, up and down, and up again in the hills in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal. This is the way it went until I finally reach a valley where the White River forms a small bay. Boulders jut into the murmuring water. On some of them I find traces of otters. But the otters are not here, either that or they’re hiding from me. That seems to be the case with all the other inhabitants of this rather small reserve. Nothing stirs, no rustling of the trees or bushes that gives evidence of animal company. Everything is quiet, so wonderfully quiet.
So I sit down on one of the boulders. The rock is pleasantly warm from the midday sun. I take off my shoes and put my feet into the chilly water of the river. So refreshing! I have enough space on the boulder to lean back, my feet still in the cooling water, and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. What a pleasure!
I don’t know how long I have been lying here when suddenly I hear a rustle. I open my eyes and slowly, slowly turn to the side so as not to frighten away whoever caused the rustling. It is a duiker, a small antelope, roaming through the bushes a little further up the hill. I hope it enjoys this moment as much as I do.
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