Intuition & the Fork in the Road

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Uncategorised | 0 comments

Intuition & the Fork in the Road

The big five draws many tourists to South African game parks. Wildlife accommodation across the country capitalises and attempts to deliver on this, so having skilled and experienced game guides is a big plus for the numerous lodges sprawled across our country. I have visited a number of wildlife venues in Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa over the past 20 years. The bushveld holds a deep allure for me.

Meeting Patrick, our very gifted game guide for our stay in Tembe Elephant Park, Kwa Zulu Natal, was the high point of my four day breakaway in the bushveld. As an intuitive, I have an appreciation and deep respect for those who use their intuition for decision making.

Staying at Tembe Elephant Park is a unique experience, made more so by Patrick who was our personal guide, driving us many kilometres, from sunrise to sunset in a quest to see the big five. We covered different terrain in extreme temperatures, stopping only briefly for refreshment, before clambering back into our vehicle to continue the search for the king of all beasts. We had fantastic sightings at very close quarters of elephant herds, rhino, water buffalo, numerous buck species, as well as an abundance of bird life. Yet, a pride of young male lion eluded us. A couple from Switzerland eagerly arose at 4.30 a.m. each day to join us in our quest. Patrick resolutely stuck to his professional commitment to find us the lion pride we had heard other guests speak of at Thembe. He was unwavering in his dedication to fulfil his promise to his guests.

On day three we had one sunrise left before we had to take our leave of this natural paradise. Patrick was his usual gregarious and forthcoming self, sharing his vast knowledge and expertise readily with our group, patiently explaining the myths around the Amarula tree and elephant becoming intoxicated on eating its berries. Daily he educated us on different animals and their habits and habitats, as well as explaining how to spot the difference between the white and black rhino. We stopped to watch dung beetles honing in on elephant dung that had been dropped by an elephant walking ahead of us on the sandy road, all the while keeping watch on the one large bull, who blocked our path forward. Thirty hot and thirsty minutes later he had ambled off into the bush, disappearing like a ghost within seconds giving us permission to proceed on our journey.

A few minutes into driving, I noticed Patrick’s energy shift. He dropped his tone and hushed our group. He was inching forward slowly, partly off his seat, craning his eyes on the track ahead of us, his eyes downcast, scrutinising the soil. I noticed a certain tension in his body and an alertness that had not been apparent before. After ten unbearable minutes he spoke. He had sensed all morning that we were close to the pride. They had been sighted in the vicinity yesterday, but could have moved on for some kilometres at sunrise, after drinking their fill at one of the nearby waterholes. Pointing downwards he indicated lion tracks in the sand, which he identified as newly laid “spoor”. The road forked in two directions. Within seconds, Patrick made a decision to veer to the left. He had lost the spoor, but something urged him to take this path. He was riveted to the road ahead, all the while remaining silent and engaged with his task.

We heard the lions roaring that day, close enough to make us acknowledge that we were in the presence of truly magnificent beasts who were hidden in the thick bush nearby. As the sun rose higher in the African sky and the heat shimmered off the muddy hue of the watering hole, Patrick made a decision to return to camp. We would not see the lion this day, but would be rewarded after sunrise of the next day.

Patrick was resolute and adamant,but could not be drawn on how he knew that we would get our promised sighting on the final day of our trip. My observation was that Patrick was drawing on past experience, knowledge and skill honed over fifteen years of animal tracking and guiding, combining this knowledge with heightened intuition and awareness.

Day four dawned and we were rewarded. The lion were sprawled out on the concrete road that bridged the large body of water on the eastern side of the reserve. Four days of searching, listening and responding to his internal promptings resulted in success. Patrick’s quiet acceptance of the praise and gratitude that he received from his guests was humbling.

For Patrick, he was doing what he had set out to do, draw on his considerable experience and recognise the signs and markings along the road, whilst following through on his innate intuition to deliver on his promise. Watching him prompted me to write this article. In reading it, I hope you will feel inspired to follow his example. Watching and noticing the signs along the road in your business and your life, listening to the internal promptings that guide you to take the fork in the road that will reward you for your persistence and your commitment to respond to the whisperings of your intuitive self.

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