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Lekhubu, The island of the jackal

Posted on Wed August 21, 2019.

This blog forms part of a number of short stories where wilderness experiences can be found. They can serve you to remind that observing wilderness restores you, coaches you and inspires us all to create your own life, every moment of your day.

My favourite animal of the Bushveld is the Black-backed Jackal....

It is this small and often overseen animal that always surprises me every time is see it with feelings of joy, confidence and happiness. By just observing the way the jackal walks you can see it completely feels at home in its area. Even when close to the big cats it still shows its characteristic confident “spring in its step”.

It would be amazing if we could see the world through the jackals eyes and imagine what adventures it experiences being often so close to Hyena, Leopard, Lion or Cheetah. What do they learn every day and where do they go when an interesting sound or smell is picked-up on the African savanna plaines.

Black-backed Jackals live in almost every environment that the African continent offers. Great was my joy when I noticed a Black-backed Jackal approaching our camping ground on Lekhubu Island in the vast Makgadigadi Pans National Park inside Botswana. Our group had been travelling for most of the day by car through numerous vast, dried out salt pans where there was no mammal at all to be seen.

The sun had baked the surface of the pan to a hard crust of white-clay fine soil where I noticed its beautiful Christmas-tree shaped foot-print. I could not imagine that a Black-backed Jackal could survive the dry season in these salt pans. Here on Lekhubu Island there was a different vegetation and there was life. About two hundred Baobab tree’s where standing majestically between granite rocks forming a small ecosystem very different to the salt pans. It is a magical and spiritual place and a place of shelter for travellers like us, crossing these vast salt pans. The Black-backed Jackal only approached the camping ground when the sun had set and was shining its last rays on the horizon. The animal was clearly checking out our intentions and finding out if there was an opportunity for drinking water as there is no river or spring on the island. Black-backed Jackals are known for their great instinct and incredible intuition to survive and thrive. Somehow it always turns up at the right time and right place.

The Black-backed Jackal reminds me that I can allow myself to be proud of what I achieved and that I am a resourceful and creative being. It also reminds me that opening my awareness to be in touch with my intuition is important to make the right decisions.  When I went to bed I left it a big cup of water to thank the Black-backed Jackal for this insight. The next morning the cup was empty and the Black-backed jackal was gone. I imagined it travelling on the salt pan to another magical place, maybe one that no man has seen yet....