In one of the amazing Punda Maria fixed tents, and after an amazing day, I slept like a baby until at some point in the night I heard a noise. It sounded as if something was plucking at an object and that object sounded crunchy and both the object as well as the unknown critter was not far from my bed.
I sat up and searched my tent with a flashlight but saw nothing. I dismissed it as my over charged imagination then promptly went back to sleep.
Only a few minutes later, the plucking sound continued. I said to myself, as I have said to myself many a night in an African bed, that nothing that day set out to hurt me and whatever that was he was just living his life as I was mine. I went back to sleep.
The next day, I moved camp down to Olifants. As I prepared dinner that evening, to be cooked over my amazing Braai overlooking the Olifants River where an entire herd of elephant was crossing, I pulled an avocado out of the paper bag I had placed it in to ripen and said, "Ah ha! Something has been eating this,” and held up a ripe avocado that had wee little chunks taken out of it all over. Most likely the same dormouse with his cute little bushy tail that had watched me reading on the porch the night before, had made his way inside the tent somehow for a bit of a late-night snack. I felt vindicated!
This isn’t the only time I have had critters inside my Kruger accommodation. Many a lizard and spider have slept with me in Africa. They too, I was convinced, were not out to hurt me and I allowed them to stay.
Bats too – also at Olifants – for two days in a row were in my hut; one alive in the shower which I wrapped in a towel and released and, one morning, I discovered a dead bat in a shoe; that’s a whole other story with the lesson of always shake your shoes before putting them on.
I have come to the conclusion that anything nonvenomous that chooses to come in for protection from the elements which agrees to sign an indemnity form stating that should it scare me, it dies, can stay…. There is a clause in the form thought that states all bets are off if the said signed critter chooses to jump out unexpected causing harm to me as I scramble possibly breaking my neck to get away.