As I said in the preface to my recently posted story, The Writer’s Safari, I haven’t traveled anywhere for a year, and am living quietly at home, so I have no new adventures to share. But I do have photos taken three years ago, whilst visiting my family in Kwa-Zulu Natal, that never made it on to my Despatches blog. After my visit I was too busy running round, involved in activity – we all remember those days, don’t we? But now I have the time to sort through my pics, and put together a post or two.
This post shows one of my favourite places: The Kloof and Highway SPCA. The large property is situated in a wild, hillside area close to the commercial area, but it could be a million miles away, due to the tropical vegetation and the wildlife.
The chief attraction for me is their second-hand bookshop – literally thousands of books in a thoroughly awkward space, punctuated by sudden, unexpected, spine- jolting steps, invisible in the badly lit space. An upmarket shop it ain’t. I know the roof leaks and in the thick, humid tropical climate, that doesn’t do books a lot of good, as you can imagine. Notwithstanding this, I’ve unearthed some real treasures over the years. And the money supports their wonderful non-profit organization. Where would we be without the SPCA?
But the other major attraction are the spacious grounds, covered in tough kikuyu grass, shaded by enormous old tropical trees and wandering around completely at ease, are magnificent peacocks, screaming at the top of their raucous voices . Their noisy cries are equalled by the constant chorus of barking from the dog kennels. Help! bark the dogs, Where am I? why am I locked up? where are my humans? It’s heart breaking. You just want to adopt them all, and of course, you can’t.
But notwithstanding the soundtrack, the peacocks are wonderful to watch as they parade around, pecking up ants in the lawns, or roosting noisily atop the buildings.
And added to their displays, are the hordes of monkeys running confidently around the grounds, leaping onto roofs, swinging from tree to tree, constantly on the lookout for food or other diversions.
An SPCA volunteer grumbled to me that the monkeys would invade the buildings and raid any unlocked drawers or cupboards, on the hunt for food and apparently addicted to sugar. Woe betide any distracted volunteer who left out the sugar bowl after making coffee, because a crafty monkey would soon materialize and make off with their favourite treat! Those clever black paws had even mastered the simple locking devices installed on cupboards, so the war between monkeys and humans never ceases.
And should you be relaxing with a cuppa in the tea-garden, located on the lawns underneath the shady trees, you needed to be super vigilant about your cream scone (and the sugar bowl!) because beady eyes in the surrounding trees are monitoring your every move and just waiting to swoop down and steal a morsel.
Kids loved chasing the monkeys when the monkeys swing down from the branches into the playground area; along, through, under and over the Jungle Gym and swings – far more agile than the clumsy kids pursuing them.
I wrote about the Kloof & Highway in a previous post, way back in May 2011, and here’s the link if you’d enjoy reading more about the place. https://wordpress.com/post/despatchesfromtimbuktu.wordpress.com/138 VISITING THE SPCA