Filtering through my dreams I was aware of the distant call of lions: a series of deep belly-pushing grunts, which instinctively caused my heart to beat faster. Pulling the fine Egyptian linen up to my chin eased all fears and I drifted back to sleep. Seemingly moments later we heard tea cups tinkle outside our ‘banda’ and a voice called out to wake us. Sitting on our veranda and sipping freshly brewed coffee, we watched as light slowly seeped over the plains far below – playing tricks with our eyes. Using the binoculars a ‘moving bush’ turned out to be a hippo, ambling slowly back towards the waterhole. A hyena whooped, then another joined in the chorus, advertising their presence to other clans around.

In the comfortable seats of the open vehicle, we slowly bumped our way out into the surrounding grasslands and through riverine woodland. Rays of sunlight filtered through the branches of palm trees and a herd of impala antelope ran gracefully across the track in front of us. Stopping to watch them, we noticed movement in the bushes beyond, an elephant feeding on the recently dropped palm fruit. A young elephant calf slipped through, chasing a bird, its little squeal of delight breaking the silence. More shadows and an entire herd wandered out of the bushes, making their way slowly past the vehicles. The matriarch paused to watch us, everyone held their breath until she dropped her head and slowly made her way past as well. The swish of their tails and flap of ears against their bodies sounded out against the stillness. Slowly they all merged into the surroundings, everything went quiet and we were left all alone again.

Just another start to a day in Africa.