Not long after the survey of the Zambezi delta by helicopter, during which my wife, Greet, stayed with Ann Merryweather in Mutarara while I was away, she flew back to South Africa in the AOC company Dakota. There was a fair bit of turbulence, which threw the poor six-months-pregnant girl around enough to make her sick. It was not a trip that she enjoyed! She would stay with my parents on the farm near Warmbaths, Transvaal.I remained based in Inhaminga and worked my next area to the east from there. Bruce Barichievy came to visit, and, ever the hunter, bagged himself a zebra.
My dog, Shakwe, was my constant companion, and he was with me one day after dropping off my team of pit diggers. I was exploring further tracks when I saw some movement as some tawny animals I could not quite make out, retreated at the sound of my Land Rover.Driving into the open woodland, I became aware of the smell of blood, and something else… Shakwe’s hair stood on end. He growled and shivered fearfully. He was terrified, to my astonishment. Under a fallen tree lay the carcass of a young sable antelope. And the smell was the smell of lion, but I could not see them anywhere. How did Shakwe know there was danger, without having ever encountered lion before, and only from the smell?
Nervously expecting them to re-emerge at any moment, I dragged the carcass out into the open and managed, with difficulty, to load it onto the Landy. It is not every day you get away with pinching a lion’s breakfast.
At my plank house camp, my cook set to skinning it and meat for all was a welcome extra when I fetched the team that evening.