From bush to bustle: Returning to the city after spending time in Kruger

2017-03-18 16:32 - Anje Rautenbach
Post a comment 0

I wrap my hands around a coffee mug in a tight grip; pearls of sweat run a marathon down my forehead and my eyes are twitching. Noise penetrates my ears, a human invades my private space and my brain short-circuits from the sudden change of environment.

I’m annoyed.

Possibly anxious, probably peeved, most likely displeased, but definitely extremely annoyed; like a fish-out-of-water uncomfortable.

I contemplate the situation and my level of annoyance.

Is it possible that the idea of wearing high heels for a day might be more comfortable than what I am experiencing now? Is it possible that eating a bar of soap would bring me more pleasure? Is it possible that my least favourite house chore, dusting, would get done with a smile on my face?

People say that change is as good as a holiday but what if the change is actually getting back from a holiday? What would those people say about change then?

Who even are those people? Who said that? Where do those people live? I want to chat with them because it just sounds to me like those people have no idea what they are talking about.

I’m annoyed.

Possibly anxious, probably peeved, most likely displeased, but definitely extremely annoyed.

Yesterday I woke up before sunrise and watched a baby elephant as it frolicked around with its itty bitty trunk; I saw a fish eagle and witnessed a European roller chomping down on something with eight legs. Then there was also the African wild dogs, the herd of buffaloes that blocked the road, the impalas that were just everywhere, the lion that locked my eyes in a moment and made time stand still.

Yesterday I woke up in Kruger National Park to the sound of hyenas and birds, today I woke up in Johannesburg to the sound of traffic and people; and not just any place in Johannesburg, oh no, Sandton City where the noises are amplified by walls, glass windows and these weird fancy stairs that are moving.



Now, I don’t have anything against Sandton – I’m sure the shops are great and the people are equally just as great, but the sudden change of environment – from bush to bustle, from Kruger to Sandton - was just too sudden.

I pluck up the courage to leave my sweaty seat in the coffee shop to venture to another spot to do what I came here to do; slowly I wiggle my hands free from the mug, grab my belongings, get tangled between my scarf, earphones, my purse’s strap and my level of annoyance and get up.

“One foot in front of the other, don’t look up,” I pep talk myself as I manoeuvre my way through the concrete shopping jungle.

Within two minutes I’ve walked myself into a state of confusion.


I have no recollection of what is where, I walk in circles and go back and forth; the only image of navigation that comes to mind is the Kruger map, “If I take the S121 I might see those wild dogs again”.


I’m 100% certain that people are staring at me; my R30 flip flops flap-flap-flap as I walk and I already had to move into a corridor to push back the rubber band that flipped out of the flop. My multi-coloured pants (which looks like pajama pants according to a friend) puts the Sand in Sandton from leftover Kruger dust and it is cleverly disguised between the red-and-brown-print while my scarf covers a coffee stain from earlier.


I stop dead in my tracks at the sight of a giraffe; it takes exactly two seconds (possibly and embarrassingly maybe four) to realise that this strange-looking white giraffe is not from some kind of recessive gene trait but it is in fact a window display.


I leap out of the door to Nelson Mandela Square for a whiff of something resembling a bit of fresh air but my scarf whacks me in the eyes and the gale force wind punches me in the face as if I’m at the coast.


I contemplate the situation and my level of annoyance and realise that I’m done. I’m done with shops, done with walking in circles, done with finding my way, done with people, done with wind and done with make-believe animals.

I march back to the coffee shop and leave flap-flap trails behind me; all I want is to sit in a corner, attempt to tune out the noise and order another coffee.

A Jenni Button in stilettos drops her eyes to the floor to my flip flops and just as I want to lift my arms up angrily and make a “what” expression with my hands I look down and there, at the bottom of my R30 flip flops, housing my 79% painted toe nails, is a sticker – or some sort of paper – that I’ve stepped on and dragged around the concrete shopping jungle for the last 30 minutes (possibly and embarrassingly maybe 120 minutes).


I find my corner in the coffee shop and wrap my hands around a coffee mug in a tight grip.

I’m annoyed.

Possibly anxious, probably peeved, most likely displeased, but definitely extremely annoyed like a fish-out-of-water uncomfortable because yesterday I woke up in Kruger National Park with tranquility, today I woke up in Johannesburg with a bad case of reverse culture shock.

Click here to see more on Kruger's magic

Anje Rautenbach is the writer behind the blog Going Somewhere Slowly, find her Facebook,Twitter  or on Instagram!

WATCH: Hyenas snatch wild dog kill - TWICE