Duma’s release!

by | May 18, 2021 | Everyday life

 17th May 

This morning I just went for a stroll with the dogs, less stressful for everyone involved. No real animal encounters today. You really have to get up and out before 7:30 to be able to get a decent walk in before it gets too hot. Basically, you have 3 hours to do activity in the morning (depending on what time you wake up) a whole lot of hot day time and then from around 5:30 in the evening its cool enough to exercise, however, as anyone who has been to Africa before will know, it gets very dark very quickly. It’s like someone switching off a light and bam it’s dark and you don’t want to be caught around here in the dark, especially with the animals, you really don’t know what predators might be lurking. Lewa is close to the equator so there will be only a small variation in the weather throughout the year and the sunset time doesn’t really change either. Lewa is cold at night and early in the morning which is actually quite nice, it makes it easy to sleep at night and also allows for cozy fires and cuddles with the cat as she is only nice to us when she wants us for warmth or food ?

Today we decided Duma can be let out, as I said she definitely has some wild cat in her, she is such an outdoors animal it would be cruel to keep her locked up in a house all day, every day. 

She was definitely on the fence about what to do with her newfound freedom: 


She spent a lot of time there, not really knowing where to go next… she then decided this was the place to go: 


Like a cat on a hot tin roof (sorry I couldn’t resist) she strolled up and over the peak and disappeared off into the distance. I was nervous about letting her just roam around, but I don’t think she really went far, she also decided by 9am it was too hot, and came back inside to lie around in ‘her room’. We have a three-bedroom house and there are just 2 of us, when we first got here Duma was put in one bedroom to get used to this being her new home, that room is now always referred to as Duma’s room, it probably always will be. If you’re planning to come and visit us be prepared for there being a cat in your room, should you dare to choose to occupy ‘Dumas room’


Duma in ‘her room’


In the afternoon I gave the dogs some freedom to roam around the lawn while I picked up my book for the first time since being here. The dogs ran around playing, sniffing, and chasing small creatures in the bushes before returning to me huffing and puffing, clearly very proud of themselves for protecting me from the mongoose and squirrels.


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While the dogs and I sat in the garden Duma decided the next place to go with her newfound freedom was the office to see Charl:

Charl and Duma hard at work.

The time between dog walks (my life at the moment feels a little bit like I’m filling time between dogs walk) was spent on photos. I would love to have typed ‘editing photos’ there but I’m not even at that stage. I’m still at the stage where I am deleting the crap photos and choosing which one of the 20 basically exactly the same photos (dam burst mode) is a teeny tiny bit better than the other 19 and is, therefore, the one I put into another ‘chosen photos’ folder…At this rate, my website will be ready in 2031. 

Charl needed to go for a run this evening so he took one dog and me the other which made life a lot easier! 


However, it didn’t take long for the dogs to get tired (after running around on the lawn earlier) so I put them back in the house and took the chance to do my first run without any animals. Running without the animals felt like I had suddenly been released from dragging a tyre behind me (world strongest man style). I felt like I was going so fast and I was able to work up a proper sweat and run without having to stop every 2 seconds. I mean my watch’s statistics definitely didn’t match up to how fast I felt like I was running but it’s all about the perception right? I miss running with my dogs off leads!

Roo apparently also missed it as she suddenly appeared on my run, luckily while I was on the home stretch. She takes after her name, Roo as in Kangaroo can jump the gate in the garden (which I already knew) so I shut her in the house while I was out so I was very surprised to see her next to me. When I got home I discovered that she has found (and made bigger) a small gap between the mosquito netting (we don’t have windows – just canvas and nets for windows in the living room) and the wall and has squeezed through to freedom. 

Gap where Roo escaped

This is very worrying as it means she can also get out at night and who knows what she might run into at night. So now when we are both out, her, and as a consequence poor Rafa also, have to be shut in the kitchen so she cannot escape. 

Luckily the work is starting on the garden tomorrow to make it bigger and the fence and gate higher so eventually I will be able to leave them in the kitchen with access to the garden also! Hopefully, it won’t take too long to build the new fence!


Distractions while I try and update the blog


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Natasha Chapman

Natasha Chapman

Safari planner & Photographer

Follow along with my life in Africa for adventure, photography, wildlife and safari planning.

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  1. Africa with Pets

    Yes it is high altitude, well higher than Arusha, thats my excuse for all the huffing and puffing!

  2. Val

    Great adventures! Are you in high altitude area? Love those dark tropical nights

  3. Unknown

    LOl. She's huge! What have you been feeding her?? x

  4. Africa with Pets

    I miss the sun going down late but there are lots of other benefits to being here so its fine! Thank you for taking the time to read, I am glad you are enjoying it

  5. Unknown

    Oh my, what a totally different life from mine here in South Germany. We have lots of rain at the moment (you could have some), the sun goes down at about ten p.m., slowly, and when I take a bicycle ride to the forest, all I see are some lizards, the occanional mouse, and chirping birds. The only connection to Africa are our local storks which hibernate in probably Zambia. Good stories and pictures!


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