It’s early morning, not a sound. We walk down to the horse camp treading carefully so as not to trip on a tree root. The somber oaks whisper as the first breath of wind catches the early spring leaves. The horses have heard us, a soft nicker and gentle hoof thuds are heard on the wet ground and there they are, slowly ambling towards the gate anticipating their breakfast. Giants in the mist, the steam from their nostrils is only just visible as the sun gently peeps over the horizon. The birds start to sing, a Robin Chat sings most beautifully from its treetop perch. The guinea fowl start to chirp…………and there is the odd grunt from a nearby baboon camp. A rooster crows to herald in a new day on Doornbosch!
We lead the horses towards the tack room, there is much jostling, nickering, and general excitement. Buckets of food are waiting, each one given according to his or her requirements. Shumi, Kahlua, Benz, Moyo, and Ben, all tied to their respective poles.
Grooming begins, the horses shine, tack is on, and with a swift spring into the saddle, we set out along the road, ours the first tracks of the new day. The guests are astounded at the beauty that surrounds them. We quietly pass a herd of grazing zebra, the stallion snorts and then realizing it’s only us, continues to move quietly through the grassy camps. The eland lope along, a few strays having moved from their nightly forage of the roses along the house boundaries. More fences to be fixed. The list of daily tasks is never-ending, but that’s life on a working farm.
We trot past the dam, disturbing a pair of yellow-billed ducks, they are common resident dabbling ducks, commonly seen “dabbling” for plant food. They frequent freshwater habitats and are gregarious and form large flocks once the breeding season is over. The farm abounds in birdlife and game, and one feels richer for having experienced a little time in the natural world, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.