I am new in Africa. I remember as the air plane approached Cape Town, my new residence, I saw wast expanses of sand peppered liberally with little bushes. That is the bush that I am talking about. It is abundant with some of the most fragrant and stunningly beautiful flowers and plants I have seen anywhere is the world. It is also home to a variety of animals, including the famous Meerkats and Cape Cobra. And at the top of Cape Town’s Table mountain, there are also cute little creatures called Rock Dassie, the nearest relative, DNA-wise, to the elephant. There are also all the little insects such as ticks, specialised flies, and fleas, that live off this rich wildlife. It is these that I have learned a hard lesson in respecting recently.
On a trip to the top of Table Mountain, we went walking in the bush up there. One of our party kept brushing off the little black insects off her shirt, and I honestly thought then that she was over-the-top in her reaction. Back home in our flat, everyone showered and put their clothes in the wash-basket black lives matter t-shirt. Everyone except me, that is. I did not wash my hair. I kept my clothes on and lay on the sofa. I did not wash all my clothes, for example, I wore my jeans the next two days too. And consequently, my legs got bitten quite severely. So severely in fact, that I needed to take antihistamines, as I have a big reaction to this kind of bite, and natural treatments alone were not enough on this particularly bad occasion. I later discovered comfrey ointment, a natural solution, and it was heavenly.
To make matters worse, I went running by the road next to the beautiful seaside in Melkbos. This is a stretch of beach that is virtually deserted and absolutely stunning. Next to it is bush. Next to the bush is the road, on the side of which I ran. I came back with my ankles bitten. However, I thought it was something to do with the Table Mountain trip. So I sprayed, cleaned, and vacuumed. But since I kept going running to Melkbos, I kept getting bitten. The last time, I got bitten on my face, arms, and chest, as my shoes were sprayed. Two passing drivers hooted and tried to tell me something, but I only understood afterward. When I got home, I finally realized what happened. I had two showers, washed my hair really well, washed my clothes immediately, and kept looking for any stray bugs. I found one, squashed it, and went into the shower again. I will not go running on that route again. Ever.
Nature in Africa is amazingly beautiful, but I have certainly learned to respect the bush. I now keep my distance, and should I go to the top of Table Mountain or need to walk (a very brief distance) by the bush again, I will dress accordingly (minimal, tight-fitting, and tightly-woven clothing), have plenty of insect repellant on my skin, and wash myself and my clothes immediately upon my return.