Hippos love water, but we think they especially love showing off to their audience at Kapama Wellness Centre. The resident hippos grunt, groan, roar and wheeze throughout the day, sometimes opening their mouths wide and baring their teeth in a territorial display before striking the water, creating a big splash. Days would seem very quiet without them, so these displays always make us therapists smile during treatments.
Truly spectacular is the sight of elephants at play, especially in the water or in the mud at the edge of the dam. A herd visited a couple of weeks ago and we watched as one elephant disappeared completely under the water before resurfacing again and showering its body with water from its trunk.
Hippos and elephants aren’t the only animals passing through the centre. Occasionally, a couple of naughty nyala sneak in to nibble on our succulents. It’s difficult to chase such beautiful animals away, especially when they’re so clearly enjoying the moist fleshiness that’s hard to come by in winter months. Instead, we gather the guests and enjoy watching these gentle antelope together.
Our most unusual visitor so far wasn’t quite as welcome as the others. Not long ago, our assistant manager, Lalene van Zyl, heard something drop from the roof right behind her. When she turned and stared into the dazed eyes of a snake, she broke all land-speed records in her rush to leave the room. After catching her breath and steeling herself for whatever she might find, she crept back in and found a non-deadly (and quite beautiful) spotted bush snake and a lizard lying on the floor. The snake hasn’t been seen since, so we can only assume he was as traumatized as she was. Thank goodness it wasn’t Kinty or one of our other non-snake loving ladies at reception that day – we’d have lost their magic hands for good!