(photo: our view from our tent)
After St. Lucia, we went to uMkuze Game Reserve and stayed the night in a safari tent. These tents have electricity, bathrooms and an open-air kitchen. And unlike at Kruger, which has enclosed campsites (ie. An electric fence to keep out animals), uMkuze does not. During the day, I was taken by the sight of impalas grazing on our front lawn, but at night I was a bit terror stricken…
At 1:30am, we were woken up by the sound of the trash can in the kitchen being knocked over.
Now, this happened to me in college, and my roommates and I trapped our trash picking racoon using an animal trap with a piece of chocolate cake as bait. The next day, we turned the racoon over to the SPCA, and that was that.
For some reason, I first thought of that of the racoon when I was startled awake. Then I realized we were in the wild. We had no neighbors, and no one told us what to do in case of emergency! So when we heard the noise, we got the flashlight out, and peered outside our tent. Whatever was outside, it was tan and spotted and staring in at us. It was dark…and Mike said it was a leopard. But we determined, a leopard wouldn’t bother with a trashcan when we were in the tent. And the only thing stopping it from coming in was a mesh net door, and it was pacing back and forth. It walked up onto our deck, walked past our tent into the kitchen.
Turns out it was a wild dog. We spoke with someone the next morning, who said it was a rare sighting, and we should feel lucky. I didn’t tell the guide, that our wild dog was really rare, since it liked Mexican food. The only thing the dog walked away with was an empty box of El Paso taco mix.