1,300 million years ago a massive volcano erupted in what is now South Africa. Unable to contain the boiling earth beneath it, the brittle, stretched crust of the earth cracked and collapsed into the magma chamber below. The magma was displaced and forced up. It poured out of the cracks in the crust, flooding the landscape as lava.

Over a period of a million years, the process repeated itself until the volcano, exhausted by its own ferocity, settled down and died while the tectonic plates beneath the earth’s surface settled.

After this gigantic turbulence was over, what is left for us to marvel at is a rare circular complex, the world’s largest and best-preserved alkaline ring dike complex. At the center of this geological masterpiece lies the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

Pilanesberg

Pilanesberg Game Reserve

A few weeks ago, as we drove through this ancient monument to the creation of our planet, terrorists unleashed a vicious attack on unsuspecting citizens in the heart of Belgium. Three cowards killed thirty-two people and injured hundreds of others in three bomb blasts. Dazed commuters, spluttering and coughing, some with limbs violently severed, others bleeding from shrapnel wounds, stumbled out into the daylight.

In America, presidential candidate Donald Trump hurled insults at immigrants and Muslims. And in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma stood accused of corruption and more importantly of betraying the trust of the citizens of his country.

But in the Pilanesberg all was calm. The silence of the warm air was broken only by the chirps of birds and crickets. Baby warthogs stuck close to their mother, stopping occasionally to sip from her udder. Elsewhere crocodiles, half immersed in the water, dozed languidly. The male duiker kept a watchful eye over his harem of females and the Gnu stood close by, for it knew there was safety in numbers.

There is terror here too. As evidenced by the carcass of a female rhino. At first I thought man did this, to get to her horn, but later I learned it was from being gored by one of her own. And yet even this gruesome death pales in comparison to the cruel and deliberate nature of man’s inhumanity to his fellow human beings.

I looked around at the quiet dignity of the elephant and the elegant strutting of the giraffe, and I wondered whether humankind was truly the more superior being.

Man is rated the highest animal, at least among all animals who returned the questionnaire. 

~ Robert Brault on Human Nature.