“Dedoinck” - From the deck of Hippo View Chalet - by Marjolein 


Dedoinck, dedoinck, dedoinck ….monkeys wake us early in the morning playing and chasing each other on our rooftop. Yes, no better way to start our day. Listening to everything around us at Ekuthuleni. The mighty hippos roaring in the river. Sometimes even mating with an incredible racket. The hadeda family often screams all day long, together with an Egyptian goose couple and the lapwings arguing about the best spot at the river shore. Then there is the zzooofff zzooofff zzooofff of the thousands of queleas migrating up and down the Olifants at dawn and back at dusk. So impressive.


You see, we are not as familiar with all the wildlife around us. As Europeans coming from a dense, small country with 17,5 million people at 41.000 square kilometre (compare Limpopo 6 million people at 126.000 square kilometre), we lack knowledge and experience of the species around us in Africa. We are still learning and love the sounds around us. The barking impala in distress. The monkeys shrieking their alarm call to warn that a raptor or leopard is around! A magical orchestra of sounds after dark erupts: all the frogs, crickets and whatever insects wish to participate with the never ending sound amid the small rapids in the river as background chorus which ties it all together. The baboons gathering at their enormous sleeping tree across the river opposite our house and screaming and yelling as loud as possible according to their hierarchy. And wait, what is that soft smacking sound? Quickly getting our torch and oops ….a hippo a few metre from our pool, grazing.

Never a dull moment. A crying hyena or roaring lion in the distance, everything is possible. Did we mention the peaceful sound of silence yet? Getting our torch again and we see the field behind our house filled with groups of impalas, wildebeest, zebra and sometimes a giraffe. Silently they appeared like ghosts at night just to disappear when the sun rises again. We enjoy waking up in the middle of the night from the familiar sounds of the hippos. Otherwise the beautiful sound of the wood owls will steal your heart and almost make you forgive the mess they leave in your carport (it is their habitat after all). We even love the sound of our neighbour banging at our door at 05.30 in the morning: get up…. wild dogs hunting in the field!

So dear fellow Ekuthuleni inhabitants, visitors and guests: be quiet and listen, cherish what you hear and know how privileged you are to live in Africa. We are grateful being part of Ekuthuleni’s sounds and nature and hope to be able to enjoy it in the years to come.

December 2020