A Kalahari Symphony….

¨Listen. Can you hear it?                                                                                                    
The music. I can hear it everywhere.
In the wind….in the air…in the light.
It´s all around us. All you have to do
is open yourself up.  All you have to do…
is listen.¨ – August Rush Film

Sometimes a symphony is written for either joy, anger or sadness. With the current events happening worldwide, all we can think about, is that it is a part of sadness and grief. Utmost devastation….. So many people are affected, infected and some even experience the indescribable grief of losing a loved one due to the Corona Virus. It is one of the most difficult times for everyone in decades!! Countries are on lock down and restricting entry. Unfortunately, for our beloved guests, Botswana is restricting all tourists entering from high-risk countries. Fortunately, up to date, there are no confirmed cases in Botswana. A lot of our clients, and in fact , most of the tourists, that were all ecstatic for their safari to Africa, had to cancel or postpone their trip. Deep down, we are all disappointed and heartbroken, however, we know that each and every government, wants the best for their people. Our sincerest condolences to everyone that has been affected by situation so far. We would like to carry you away, just for a little while to a piece of relaxation, and tell you what happened at Deception Valley Lodge, before the crisis intensified. Sit back and enjoy a moment of freedom and wonderful memories…..

The sound of nature can be the most beautiful symphony ever, if one just starts paying attention to and be grateful for the wonders that we are blessed with. If you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and submit all your senses to the sounds around you, you will be amazed! The end of the night was quiet, all creatures hid from the soft, cool rain, however the faint noise of earthy, fresh raindrops on the walkways, spreaded calmness – the introduction of the piece. With the sunrise, the rain stopped and a bright ray of sunshine, started peeking through the clouds. It lightened up the silver hue of the plants, a surge of energy, almost like a powerful violin strike. And then birds started singing, sounding like a classical masterpiece, similar to those of the flute and trumpet. A magnificent start to a full day of nature´s orchestra.

Just after the morning introduction, the day´s activities started picking up beat. The renovations and building up of the lodge added to the stormy and intense factor filled with energy and excitement. Saws, hammers and drills all added different type of instruments, which represented the hard work. Like an intense session with a string esemble, the guys all worked together in harmony and synchronization. Jan Swart, a family member and friend, was sanding down teak doors with an intense classical rhythm, and then a gentle, slower sanding of the delicate corners. Bricks flew through the air to get the Spa building finished, there were the smooth strokes of the plasterer, finishing off the pool and then a powerful drumming of a hammer and shrieking of a saw, like a trombone, cutting and putting the walls together of the main building. Someone to the right sanded down a window frame, smoothly and constant and then to the left the thundering roar of the Industrial sander provided a deep rumbling sound. Out of nowhere there was a sudden scream, everything stopped!!! Silence…. Then intense laughter emerged!! One of our newest employees, detaching a part of roof got scared by a small gecko and the Bushmen deemed it as hilarious!!

It was time to take a break from the human esemble and let the fauna play their part. For the workers it was a well deserved lunch break, after completing almost a quarter of the sonata. After the intense sound of dedication it was time to bury ourselves in peace, relaxation and tranquility. The constant sounds of the Pririt Batis, Scaly-feathered Finch, Blue Waxbills and Rufous-Naped Lark were the flutes and clarinets of Deception Valley Conservancy. A light breeze carried clouds of pollen, to add softness like a panpipe, and blew away the intense heat of midday. Blue Wildebeest came, together with Zebras, Impala and Warthogs to lavish their thirst, and with the constant running and playing they added a percussion and  trumpet to the piece. Marie Swart, the wife of Jan, made sure there were lovely cinnamon pancakes for brunch, to energize the men for the afternoon. We would like to thank these two amazing people for all the hard work and love they spreaded. The birdsong in the background was eternal music handed down from unimaginable antiquity, a manifestation of the original divine creation…

During the hot afternoon, while the sunshine blazed down on the men, the masterpiece continued. Before we realized it, a calm viola sound of a light breeze together with the artistic sunset of orange, purple and peach, announced the end of another day. A lion´s roar closeby added an intimidating drumming session. Soon after, everything calmed down. Crickets, Owls and Nightjars brought harmony like a harp to carry us away to a peaceful sleep with joyful African Dreams. Dreams like the sightings of Leopard, Bat- Eared Fox, African Wildcat and Striped Polecat, that came true, during a trip late one night, back from Maun. Proudly, by the lantern, like a symphony master/ conductor, the Praying Mantis felt satisfied with nature´s orchestral piece. Beethoven had a Pastoral Symphony, and the symphony of Deception Valley Lodge reminded us of it. The harmonious harp continued throughout the night, as the next day freedom and joy were awaiting us, and a 100 new Zebras that were to be introduced to the conservancy to start a strong, new refreshing gene pool.

In these terrifying times, we call out to you, to keep dreaming or remember the good times, because it is the only hope that humanity has. We can still dream about that exquisite and adventurous Safari that had to be postponed, or treasure the memories we made on a previous one. It will be a high and difficult sand dune to climb, but eventually we will reach the top, and there will be a picturesque view of the Kalahari, with Zebras, Gemsbok and Blue- Wildebeest grazing, while a Lion yawns under a tree, resting out for the nighttime hunt.

We cannot wait to share that special moment with you. In the meantime, let us all compose our own African symphony in our dreams!!! Good luck to everyone and keep safe!!

With love

Janie Swart

Lodge Manager