It’s the Predators' Playground. Where danger stalks you all hours of the day. Chitake Springs is the only water source for miles (45km to be exact). it’s the ideal place to get away from civilization and experience God’s creation at its finest and most raw.
It’s certainly not the Garden of Eden, but it’s special here. The element of danger in the air is palpable. All of your senses are on fire as they light up and expect the unexpected around every bush and tree.
Camping on the edge of a prehistoric river bed that now merely contains a trickle of a stream, you don’t have to go looking for creation. It comes and finds you.
The herds of buffalo cautiously enter the dry river valley in search of a life-extending gulp of mucky water. They know they are at risk with so many pride of lion lurking, but the call for survival is stronger than the fear of king of the beasts.
This place is the only place in the world (that we know of) where you can walk on your own in the bush without a guide. Why would you walk in such an unknown world and dangerous environment without a guide, you ask? There’s something primal about it. Something that calls to our hearts—like how things were originally intended to be. You’re on your own. Watching for tracks, listening, smelling, and proceeding with the utmost caution,
This place will humble you in a heartbeat. The bush is no respecter of persons.
As we rounded the corner, we hear a roar that shook us to our core. We had walked right upon a lion under a nearby thicket. It was crouched and ready to pounce at my throat if I made the wrong movement. The gents behind me went into fight or flight mode and I had to do everything in my power to keep them calm (and still).
We had no gun. All I had was a machete in my hand. My life literally flashed before my eyes. Now, if you’ve never had this happen, it’s quite a terrifying experience. You see all of your family, your friends, your wife, the best moments and how they’ll feel when you’re instantly gone.
The world was in slow motion. I was reeling internally, but I did all I could to stand my ground. We were so close to the lion that I could feel it breathing. I could see the hair standing up on its neck and it’s low rumbling growl was echoing in my gut.
We slowly backed away and as we did, we nearly slipped and fell down the ravine behind us. That would have sent the lion pouncing.
As we backed away, another lion appeared from behind us. We had to make a maneuver along the ravine to avoid being surrounded from both sides and triggering the huntsman instinct in the beasts.
With lions all around, it was all we could do to walk slowly back to our camp. But upon entering camp, the feeling of dread turned to elation and feeling like the macho men who could conquer the world.
As we were celebrating our near death encounter, the only other group of blokes in the park came up to us and asked us if we knew who that lion was. We didn’t.
Its name is Satan, they said.
We had come face to face with Satan and lived to tell about it.
[Watch this video of a male lion charging @ Chitake for more context.]
Humans can't stop listening to an amazing story.
From personal experience, even if I don’t like you, but you’re telling me an awesome story, I’m in.
Contrast that with a terrible presentation. I’m out so fast, it doesn’t matter how good the coffee is.
No one likes boring. So why do we insist on speaking, presenting, and doing life with an overdose of boring? I don’t mean becoming an adrenaline junkie and bailing on any difficult and menial work. What I mean is, inspiring your life, meetings, phone calls, and interactions with more interest, personality, humor and fun.
Life is too short to speak with convoluted language and boring slideshow presentations. Your friends, family, clients, and even the police at the random roadblocks will enjoy interactions with you more if you add compelling and memorable stories.
(photo via oce eeco)