There was an enjoyable pace and lifestyle to be had at Gowrie. The self-catering camp really looked after itself: every now and then I would go down the hill to make sure the guests were happy.

Sometimes there was the odd group of guests who needed a cook to prepare their meals, and I would step in to take care of that, but after a while I started training Liesbeth Mkansi Ė as I had done with her sister Nellys at Djuma Bush Lodge Ė to bake and do general prep work in the kitchen. Apart from such matters there was now time for me to focus on things other than the demands of the lodges.
My second pregnancy was a breeze compared to the first: no nausea and no malaria. Apart from being a bit tired and having to take a nap in the afternoons I was strong, happy and healthy. Making a second attempt at a veggie garden was inevitable now that I had more time on my hands. My only semi-successful attempt at growing tomatoes occurred after we moved to Gowrie. Taking full advantage of the great soil in this camp, as opposed to the horrible soil at Djuma Bush Lodge, and noting the variety of Roma tomatoes that grew successfully in neighbouring villages, I sowed a couple of packets of seed. In those days Bingo and Doug, two fairly intelligent dogs, could not abide the company of monkeys or baboons, and kept them beyond the garden confines. These combined advantageous factors resulted in an initial crop of over a thousand tomatoes in a few short months. It was great fun taking ZoŽ and Anzan into the veggie patch in the afternoons to fill a bowl with the fruits of my labour.
We had had to change perspective a bit with having two toddlers, ZoŽ and Anzan, to keep an eye on. There was a makeshift fence around the house in the form of a few strands of wire supported by trees, but nothing substantial enough to keep predators out. It was enough, however, to keep antelope out, and this made it possible to grow a lawn and put in a few shrubs. As to the safety of the kids we decided the best route to take would be to keep them under close adult supervision at all times. We were determined not to have them growing up living in fear of a myriad of potential dangers. They would spend a few hours at our house in the morning and then go down to the staff village for a nap and some play time. ZoŽ would come home for lunch at about one oíclock and hang out with Jurie and I until four. Joyce would then come and take ZoŽ back to the village for a few hours, giving us a chance to relax before dinner. ZoŽ and Anzanís favourite game was to play with the water dripping from a tap a few meters from the main buildings and damming it into a puddle. During this time ZoŽ was learning to speak Tsonga and Joyce was learning to speak English.
Then some strange things began to happen. One day we saw a dead dove lying on the ground near a window, but, presuming it had flown into the glass, did not think too much about it. For some reason we did not pick the body up. The following day we saw a lot of feathers, but the body was missing. More alarming were the leopard spoor around the same spot. The following night the cushions on our couch on the patio was ripped to shreds. We found fragments of upholstery some hundred meters away from the house in dense bush. The next night Jurieís sandals were Ďstolení from outside the back door. On each occasion there were leopard spoor in the soft sand. Jurie was very surprised that it was a leopard that seemed to be responsible for such behaviour, which was more typical of a hyena, and consulted various people who knew leopards well. Dixon had worked at Londolozi - a reserve known for its leopard density - and was well versed in their behaviour. Lex Hes, a wildlife photographer, who had researched and photographed leopards for a book, also at Londolozi, came over to look closely at the evidence. Both men were struck by the unusual behaviour patterns, but confirmed that a leopard was suspect in all of the incidents. Within the next few days we saw a leopard well-known to us, called One Eye, just outside our house in broad daylight. He was not concerned with us at all, and we noted that he was very thin and in terrible condition.
We were not unaware that it was common for leopards to take domestic dogs as prey if an opportunity arose. I, however, thought the dogs were more likely to be bitten, or taken, by a snake, as we frequently found snakes in closer proximity to us than we did leopards.
It was around four oíclock one afternoon when Joyce, as usual, arrived to fetch ZoŽ and walk her down to the staff village with Anzan and his mother Thandi. I was in my seventh month of pregnancy and was about to settle down for a nap, when Jurie asked whether I would mind coming down to the lodge to advise Patrick, our maintenance man, on hanging some curtains. Campbell was at the camp and Patrick and Aubrey was also milling about. No problem: I would rest when I got back to the house. Bingo was asleep on the couch when we left the house, so we left the front door ajar in case she wanted to join us later. Doug, ever ready to partake in any action came down to Gowrie Camp with Jurie and I, the kids having left about five minutes before we did. The noisy old generator was running, probably owing to there having been a power failure, and this masked all the usual normal sounds of our surroundings.
We had been in camp for about ten minutes when one of the Sabi Sand rangers who had been on routine bicycle patrol raced into camp and blurted out that he had seen a leopard carrying a dog into the bush. Campbell was in the lead as we ran up the hill, and he was the first to catch sight of One Eye with a limp Douglas hanging by the neck from his mouth. One Eye sensed trouble and dropped Doug. His body was still warm, he having been killed only minutes before. We just broke down, Jurie kneeling in the dust sobbing for his dog. Then it hit me Ė what about Bingo? Campbell grabbed Dougís body in his arms and followed the drag marks directly back to our house. I was close behind him, mind racing to find out whether Bingo was all right. Oh, my GodÖ on entering the house we were met by a blood bath. Bingo was lying on her back between the lounge and kitchen in a pool of dark red blood. Losing one dog was bad enough, but losing two at the same time just seemed too ghastly to take in, but there they were in front of us.
We tried piecing together what must have happened in the previous twenty minutes. Doug had arrived in camp with us, and we had not noticed him disappearing; he was usually somewhere close at hand. Despite the noise from the gennie he must have heard Bingo trying to fight off the leopard back at home. From scratch marks on the cement floors we think Bingo had been taken while on the couch. She had bite marks on the front and back of her neck and on her rear end Ė clear signs of a struggle. Doug must have been at the front door when the leopard saw him. The scratch marks on the front step indicated where Doug had been taken Ė his body having shown only one fatal bite mark to the neck. The leopard probably grabbed Doug and immediately dragged him into the bush where the ranger had seen him and the rest of us had found him.
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Our African Way