Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

I could live in a cave

When Sydney gets too much I mumble darkly about leaving. ‘I’ll go and live in a field if I have to!’

Clyde waits for the storm to pass while I scour property ads for cheap houses in remote areas. I dream of parking a caravan on the side of a river and wonder if it’s not too late to build our own eco-home.

Now there’s a new option. After our stint in Kenya I’m convinced I could live in a cave.


It was a supremely comfortable cave

If Hollywood ever remakes The Flintstones, Sabuk could serve as a set. Our lodge was a magnificent space hewn out of rock. It wasn’t exactly a cave because it had a roof but it opened onto a ledge above the river and staying there is the closest I’ve ever come to spending the night in a cave.


It was a magical experience. A shifting breeze brought the sounds and smells of the bush, some familiar, others sharply different. There was the flinty tang of stone, the rich smell of earth, the sound of seed pods rustling, branches rubbing, dry grass whispering and beneath it all a river rushing through a ravine in the distance.

Acacia trees, thorn bushes and giant euphorbia peppered the landscape around Sabuk, which made it feel like a bit like Broken Hill. Elephants on the move signalled rain was on the way; like cattle in Australia, they seem to have a sixth sense about the imminent arrival of rain.


Rock hyrax occasionally scurried across the ledge – the Kenyan equivalent of possum or guinea pig.


Rock hyrax occasionally stopped to look in

Sweet little Dik-diks could probably have made it up there too, although they tend to stay away from exposed places.

Dik-diks are one of the smallest antelope in the world – barely sixteen inches high – they get their name from the call they make when fleeing danger. They’re in the unfortunate position of being the preferred prey of most carnivorous animals. Pity the poor Dik Dik.


These Dik-diks are safe at Chester Zoo in England

The only other creature that could climb that high would be a leopard, and in the absence of any dik-diks humans would surely be a tasty alternative. Given the lack of doors, when night fell the only thing that separated us from a passing leopard was mosquito netting.


Owner/manager Verity assured us that would be sufficient. ‘They don’t like the way the net blows in the breeze.’

Of the six people staying at Sabuk that night, three of us had exactly the same dream of being savaged by a leopard while we slept. Perhaps fear is contagious? Or maybe a leopard really did slink across the ledge and the mosquito netting saw him off.

Either way, that dream (or that reality) didn’t stop me from getting a great night’s sleep on our second and final night, which is why I’m now convinced I could live in a cave.

But maybe I’m still dreaming.



8 comments on “I could live in a cave

  1. Jeanette Gatenby
    November 24, 2016

    Hello Deb, lovely to see your blogs are back. What absolutely beautiful photos. Best wishes to you both. X Jeanette


  2. Jack Burke.
    November 24, 2016

    Deb we all feel like this sometimes. A short trip away is fine but we miss the convenience of our city home after a time. Well we do. After several months in the North African desert region I was very pleased to get back to my family in Germany, even though it was a very cold December.


  3. monsoonwendy
    November 25, 2016

    It looks idyllic Deb. I am sleeping in my netted bed here in Nepal. I was briefly in Sydney before I left and must confess the traffic sent me nearly spare. But there are times when creating a cave like oasis wherever you are is the way to go. Buy a brolly for Clyde.


  4. debhuntwasinbrokenhill
    November 25, 2016

    Create a cave wherever you go – what a great idea. Reminds me of childhood and stretching sheets over chairs. Love to all in Nepal xx


  5. Jennifer Farrell
    November 25, 2016

    Keep writing. Love your blogs Deb.


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This entry was posted on November 24, 2016 by and tagged , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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