Karin and I, approximately four and a half years ago, moved to Tanzania to come and work at Beho Beho. It was a big decision for us both, as it would test all the boundaries to our relatively new, and to thus far, a longer-distance relationship. It would also build us further as people and strengthen and transform some of our character and personalities. It would also bring out qualities which were hidden or possibly not used to full potential, but it most certainly did do one thing, bring us the greatest happiness, joy and friendship, with love being the unifying link.
We can honestly say that we both love Tanzania, the Selous, Beho Beho and the people we have worked with over the years, which we now call our family.
“I woke up one morning thinking about wolves and realized that wolf packs function as families. Everyone has a role, and if you act within the parameters of your role, the whole pack succeeds, and when that falls apart, so does the pack.” – Jodi Picoult
In order for a camp to run as successful as Beho Beho, you need a family that works together as in the above quote. We have been so privileged to have this here.
In these years I have seen and experienced so many wonderful things, it would take me pages to describe each one, but in the same breathe we have had the opportunity to travel the country, islands and some of Kenya, making the most of the time here.
The Selous is an incredible ecosystem full of biodiversity, from several brightly coloured dragonflies and damselflies seen darting about at the hot springs, butterflies fluttering in the Msine and Beho Beho forests, to hidden forests in valley systems with such a huge amount of flora. It is said there are approximately 2 150 different tree species throughout the Selous, and this I can easily believe, as the ever contrasting landscapes bare witness to this.
The Rufiji River is the lifeline pulsating through the Selous, allowing the water it carries to flood into the lake systems during April, thus allowing for fish and organic matter movement, whilst filling them. Which in turn provides valuable resources to the organisms living within, and relying on the Lakes and Rivers.
As I sit here I reminisce on previous sightings and interactions, from watching and walking amongst a troop of Yellow Baboons, who are relaxed enough to carry on with their normal activities several meters away, almost making us part of the troop as they move and feed. Also watching the baboons clamber up the palms to feed on the fruit, which they drop as they eat; this attracting elephant to come below the palms and feed on the fallen fruit.
Going on an afternoon drive with Karin, and coming across a large herd of buffalo on the opposite side bank of the Msine, before Karin points out a leopard simply laying across from us in the golden afternoon sunlight. The leopard then begins to slink across, before suddenly dropping down into a stalking position, all this happens as an elephant bull drinks casually at a hole it has dug open in the river bed. We sit still peering at what has grabbed the leopards attention, and an impala appears, very close, as we gasp in our breath, tension building and anticipation clawing away. This is going to be a kill, but she lets it walk past, and as it moves several meters further on, the leopard then decides to spring out of its hiding place to try and seize the prey. Its opportunity however disappeared moments ago as it watched the impala move past it, because the impala leaps ahead towards the drinking elephant, which now turns to address this disturbance and chases away the leopard.
All these memories begin to flood in now as I type this blog, and the images of the thousands of photographs captured over the years. Wild dog sightings, the numerous birds seen, fish eagles swooping down at Lake Tagalala capturing fish as we cruise past in a boat. Emotional sightings ripping at the heart strings, as we watch the interaction between a Martial Eagle trying to capture a young impala lamb, as its mom chases away the eagle every time it swoops down to finish the lamb off.
So many fantastic memories and sights, and these will definitely be repeated as stories over some drinks, with others added on.
Why I sit here thinking back is due to both Karin and I moving on from Beho Beho, and a mixed emotion does overwhelm us, as a big part of us remains here. We even got married here, because we love it so much and felt it was the right place for our wedding. But at least we are moving with the company to South Africa, the Western Cape in particular, to manage and help setup a new challenge, which was bought the beginning of this season.
So even though we are sad, we are excited and looking forward to the new adventure which now awaits us. The new property is on R62, which is a popular wine destination, and outside the closest town called Montagu. It is currently run as a Bed and Breakfast, and is known as Les Hauts de Montagu. It is set in a breathtakingly beautiful setting of the Langeberg range, with fynbos and Karoo scrub. There is a small grove of olives in front of the manor house and rooms, these are pressed into olive oil and also table olives.
So it will be a different experience and even though I will miss the night time sounds of the hyaena whooping, hippo grunting and lions roaring, being delayed by a herd of elephant crossing the road slowly in front and visits to the hippo pool, it will come with its own beauty and challenges. This we look forward to, but with us still thinking back and reminding us of the time we have spent here at Beho Beho, and with some of the best people in the world that we have had the pleasure of calling our colleagues, friends and family.
“Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.”
This is not a farewell though, just merely a; “till we see you again.”