Pam Bruce-Brand shared her tent with this charismatic rock monitor and told LatestSightings.com all about the unique experience.
"We arrived at Satara Rest Camp on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, a week ahead of schedule from Letaba Rest Camp to beat "cyclone Freddy" so we could set up before the rains. Little did we know that our peaceful experience was about to be transformed by a temporary resident, a Rock Monitor."
The Rock Monitor is an opportunistic carnivore that primarily feeds on invertebrates and occasionally scavenges on larger animal carcasses. Equipped with large claws and a powerful tail, they definitely should not be messed with.
"We came across our Rock Monitor on the third day of our stay in the camp, while we were out on a game drive. On returning to our tent, we heard scratching. To our surprise, we found him lying comfortably on our bed, peeking through the gauze window."
"After the initial shock, we carefully helped him out of the tent and secured all possible openings, hoping that he wouldn't return. The following morning, however, we heard scratching sounds above our heads. There he was again, lying between the flysheet and the roof gauze. He had found his way up the side of the tent and had decided to make himself at home."
"We soon developed a close relationship with our bed monitor. During the day, he would leave his new home to forage in the area and return whenever he desired. In the mornings, he would hang his head from the ceiling, watching us as we prepared breakfast. We would chat with him as if he were a pet, and he seemed comfortable with our presence, as long as we didn't cross his boundaries."
"One afternoon, we heard thunder in the distance. As if sensing the approaching storm, he came scampering back to his space just in time to avoid getting drenched. On one occasion, we were concerned when we didn't see him in the morning or upon our return from a game drive. We secretly worried that he had fallen prey to a predator. Our relief was palpable when he returned that evening, safe and sound."
"As we packed up to leave the camp, we wondered what would happen to our bed monitor. We didn't want to accidentally pack him up and carry him off to our next destination, Lower Sabie Rest Camp. We hoped that the new campers would be as welcoming and tolerant of him as we had been."