Sometimes I really get lucky. One such occasion was when I was invited to accompany a colleague on a travel outing to the luxury Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Private Game Reserve on the far northern South African border with Botswana.
It turned out to be an authentic South African safari vacation, searching for the Big 5 and other members of the 27 major species that can be found at Madikwe at dawn and dusk, scrumptious buffet and a la carte meals and interesting international company.
On our second last morning, I was still rubbing the sleep from my eyes on our early game drive, when there was action.
Our guide and game vehicle driver, Ignatius Bogatsu, pointed to two wild dogs in the bush, hardly visible. Wild dogs are very active, and they disappeared from view within seconds. Ignatius was telling us how these two dogs broke ranks with a larger pack of wild doges, when Minutes later Ignatius was speaking rapidly into his radio and accelerated at the same time.
No more sleepy eyes for me. Instead we ensued on a high speed journey along sandy roads with yours truly wide-eyed and clinging to her seat.
After a short race through our corner of the reserve, the vehicle ground to a halt at the entrance gate to the staff quarters. The two wild dogs of earlier on were circling an impala, which lay dying in the middle of the road. The wild dogs at some time realised that the electric fence stuns impala and other small game when forced into it. At our arrival, they had just pulled her through the fence.
They did not waste a minute and attacked the vital organs. Within minutes parts of the throat, heart, lungs and were paraded for us to see.
But wait, what was that? Shocked, we realised that the impala was expecting when we saw the wild dogs pull an amniotic sac from the mother, two scrawny little legs sticking out.
The English tourist behind me felt somewhat nauseous and indicated that she did not like what she saw here. This is nature, we ensured her, changing lenses on our cameras.
The wild dogs ignored the little one, which seemed dead already. Instead, they had their fill while pulling the mother over the sand, becoming blood soaked in the process.
Later that day, we again encountered the two wild dogs, resting in the shade of a tree. Spic-and-span, and no trace of the blood-soaked hunters of earlier in the day.
That is Africa for you. Cruel and unspeakably beautiful at the very same time.