Everything was arranged when we came back to the lodge after a full day of tracking lions and leopards. We were tired but happily tired, the kind of tiredness you get after swimming in an open sea. After a quick hot shower at the tent, the manager led us to our reserved corner in the bush.
Two wooden chairs and a table covered in white cloth were set up under a bush tree. Several lamps hang on the branches. Shortly after we were seated, Atanas, a jolly camp personnel, came with the wine list. We chose a bottle of Stellenbosch Pinotage, which Atanas brought to our table just when the sun started setting.
Despite the romantic ambiance, we were restless – taking photos of the wines, the set up, the sunset and fidgeting with our telephones because there’s finally a good wifi connection. Although we were quite far from our fellow travellers, we could still hear the hearty laugh of the Amsterdamers drinking wine together with the Brabanders in front of the camp fire. It annoyed us, at first. We wanted silence, we wanted the whole bush to ourselves, we wanted the whole world to disappear so we could be with only the two of us. Only after a few sips of wine and when the fiery ball of African sunset started sinking rapidly that we realized we were practically ignoring this beautiful moment because of the noise we were creating for ourselves – with our gadgets, with our judgements and our demands.
The tranquility of the African bush could be intimidating. We’ve been city dwellers for most of our lives. We are always surrounded by noise, not only physically but also by the noise that we create in our heads. We didn’t know what to do with the sudden silence. But nature has a calming effect on men and animals alike.
“Shall we put the gadgets away?” I said.
“I guess it would be a waste of this sunset if we don’t.”
We moved the chairs so that we would be sitting beside each other looking at the horizon, wrapped in each other’s embrace while admiring the sinking sun. Slowly, the world disappeared, the laughter of the other guests, the noise of the restaurant, the songs of the staff. There was only the sound of the silence in the African bush. And each other’s breathing. Suddenly it was just me and Robin, enjoying this moment of peace, not even uttering a single word.
I have never a sunset as beautiful as that in the Serengeti. Seven years ago, I swore that there couldn’t be a sunset more beautiful than that in El Nido, Palawan. But ours in the Serengeti left me speechless.
For a whole three hours, we sat there, barely believing that we were in this paradise, surrounded by lions and hyaenas.
Later during dinner, Rogarth our driver, asked me how I met Robin. I told him the story of vodka and the sunset in El Nido. He smiled and said “Now I understand why you wanted to see the sunset.” He later told a story about how love is the most important thing in a relationship.
We went to bed, again with the sound of the lions and hyaenas.