This is a pic of my front garden – yup I am lucky enough to live under a spectacular 300 million year old mountain, overlooking the ocean, in the heart of the Cape Floral Region. Living this close to nature definitely has its pros and cons, however.
Some of the pros are that we are able to see a feeding frenzy in the ocean or a school of passing dolphins from the viewpoint of our living room; a Cape spurfowl mother and her family of chicks busily scratching in rocky soil as they hurry by; a family of mongooses running playfully along the rocks right in front of our house; or a tortoise laboriously making its way up our garden path.
After a rain shower on a spring morning we are able to hear a cacophony of frog calls as the males advertise for mates. From time to time we hear the wild call of an eagle circling in the thermals high above us, or the raucous “caw” of a pair of crows that have made their home on the mountain slope above our house. It is also possible to hear the bark of a male baboon as he summons his troop, a sound that brings goosebumps with its haunting wildness.
Some of the cons are seriously venomous snake species like the Cape cobra pictured here, the puff adder we came upon the other day sunning itself on the road in front of our property; or the juvenile rinkhals my husband nearly had a bath with – accidental I can assure you as the rinkhals is very poisonous!! Another con are invasions by a troop of baboons that frequent the area, such as happened just this Friday.
However, between the good, the bad and the ugly, living this close to nature is still an incredible privilege, especially on a planet where wildlife and wild places are rapidly disappearing. For this reason we will never develop the front half of our property or intentionally kill a wild creature – we rather relocate them up the mountain in the fervent hope that they never visit us again. Nor will we ever use rat poison or insecticides of any description, for on this people-intensive but wildlife-scarce planet, wild creatures and wild places need all the help they can get!!